What Are the Complications of Fallen Arches?

14 Mar What Are the Complications of Fallen Arches?

Complications of Fallen Arches

The phrase “fallen arches” is the popular term for what doctors call ples planus or adult-onset flat feet. If you have flat feet as an adult, you could be at risk of many foot and leg problems, including pain, swelling, and other complications.

What Causes Fallen Arches?

Normal feet have an upward curve in the middle called an arch. It is formed by tendons and ligaments that attach to the bones of the heel. The main tendon supporting the heel bone is the posterior tibial tendon. When this tendon becomes weak, it causes the underside of the foot to lose its ability to bounce and stretch.

Around 25% of adults have flat feet. Many children are born with flat feet, but they grow out of them. People who overpronate when they walk often develop fallen arches.

Who’s at Risk for Fallen Arches

How do you get flat feet? Here are some risk factors:

• Diabetes
• Pregnancy
• Wearing shoes that lack arch support
• Frequently wearing high-heeled shoes
• Ruptured tendon
• Birth abnormality
• Obesity
• Aging

Complications of Flat Feet

Since flat feet are common, some people think you should just ignore them and learn to live with them. That’s not the right response, however. Ignoring your fallen arches can make it difficult to walk, exercise, or stand for long periods.
If you have flat feet, you may experience some of these symptoms:

• Swelling around the ankle
• Difficulty walking
• Tilting of the outward heel
• Difficulty standing for long periods
• Pain that travels up your leg
• Leg cramps
• Muscle fatigue

Besides these symptoms, flat feet put you at risk for other complications, including arthritis, Achilles tendonitis, bunions, and plantar fasciitis. Fallen arches can also alter your walking and running gait, which can lead to strains in your hip and leg muscles. There’s no need to live with the pain and complications of fallen arches.

Self-Care for Fallen Arches

What can you do to help your fallen arches? While you can’t reverse the condition, you can manage it and ease your symptoms with a few simple lifestyle changes.

• Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity is one of the leading causes of fallen arches.
• Wear the right shoes. Choose sturdy, comfortable shoes with a wide toe box and arch support. Only buy shoes that fit you properly.
• Use foot soaks. Soaking your feet in warm water can reduce swelling and ease the symptoms of fallen arches. Soak your feet for 15 to 30 minutes for the best results.
• Massage your feet. Rub your feet and arches gently. If you can’t reach your arches, use a roller made for massaging feet. After the massage, stretch your toes and feet gently to keep your foot muscles supple.
• Wear custom orthotics. Orthotics will support your arches and prevent over-pronation that can lead to arch problems. They supply cushioning and improve your foot biomechanics.
• Get regular podiatric appointments. A podiatrist can diagnose and treat many foot problems, including fallen arches. Your podiatrist can also prescribe and create custom orthotics.

How a Podiatrist Can Help

A podiatrist can conduct a thorough assessment of your foot to figure out if your foot pain is caused by fallen arches or another condition. Your podiatrist can help you manage the symptoms and prescribe a range of treatment options to help your feet heal.

At Shuman Podiatry & Sports Medicine, we use advanced 3D technology to create custom orthotics that you can wear with all your shoes. We offer advanced diagnostics and the most innovative treatments to keep your feet healthy. If you have fallen arches or another foot condition, make an appointment today.

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