Do you have fallen arches, otherwise known as flat feet? Do you often experience pain or inflammation in your feet? There are a number of reasons why people get flat feet. Some are born with them. Others suffer an injury that causes the condition. Others experience fallen arches as a natural part of aging. For some people, the condition isn't painful, but for others it can be extremely painful. If you're experiencing any kind of discomfort, it's important that you see a podiatrist for treatment. He or she may recommend the following options:
Ice and anti-inflammatories. Much of your pain may come from swelling on the bottom of your feet. This could be especially true if you notice the pain after intense activity, like exercise. Simply reducing the swelling could decrease the sensitivity in your foot and make you more comfortable. Your podiatrist can prescribe anti-inflammatories to take either regularly or after physical activity. He or she will also likely recommend that you ice your feet once a day to keep swelling down. If your pain isn't constant, the combination of these two things could be enough to keep you pain-free.
Physical therapy. Often, fallen arches are caused by loose or damaged tendons in your foot. One way to repair and strengthen those tendons is through regular stretching exercises. Your podiatrist may ask you to see a physical therapist to guide you through the stretching process. The therapist will likely inspect your feet and then put you through a series of stretches and exercises. You'll likely need to continue these exercises at home and visit the therapist on a regular basis. Over time, you'll feel more strength in the bottom of your feet and less overall pain.
Orthotic devices. If your pain isn't relieved through icing and stretching, you may need some extra support. One way to do that is through orthotic devices for your feet. Shoe slips are common devices that provide support. You place them in your shoes and they provide the arch that your foot should naturally have. In more severe cases, a podiatrist may even recommend a brace or a cast.
Surgery. This is a highly effective treatment, but it's also usually a treatment of last resort because it's complicated and painful. There are a variety of different surgeries, depending on the nature of your problem. The doctor could move tendons from another part of your body into your foot. He or she could also reshape your bone to provide a natural arch. He or she may also need to remove bone spurs, which could be the root cause of the problem. Tests like x-rays and MRIs can help the podiatrist determine exactly what needs to be done.
Talk to a podiatrist (such as Allied Ankle & Foot Care Centers PC) about your fallen arches. He or she can evaluate your feet and recommend a solution.