Having flat feet is exactly what it sounds like.
Most people have arches in their feet, but not people with flat feet — when they stand, the pads of their feet press into the ground.
You might think it’s an isolated problem, but flat feet can affect your overall health too. Here’s what you need to keep an eye on, courtesy of the team at Austin Foot & Ankle Institute in Austin and Cedar Park, Texas.
All babies have flat feet at birth. Arches typically form during childhood, but about 2 in 10 kids have flat feet as adults, usually because tendons in the feet are looser than they should be and don’t tighten to form the arch. You can’t prevent this type of flat feet — it’s due to genetics.
People can sometimes develop flat feet in adulthood; the most common cause for this is wear-and-tear over time that loosens the tendons. Other problems can contribute to flat feet, including Achilles tendon injuries, broken bones, diabetes, obesity, and rheumatoid arthritis.
For many people, having flat feet doesn’t cause problems. They don’t experience foot pain or any other issues, so they can live life as normal.
For others, though, flat feet can lead to health complications. If your flat feet cause you pain, for example, you may change how you walk, even subconsciously. That can lead to leg misalignment and a host of ankle, knee, leg, and back issues.
Also, because your feet support your entire body, a lack of adequate arch support can cause your lower legs to rotate inward. That can lead to persistent leg, hip, and back problems.
Your muscles might try to compensate for the lack of stability due to your flat feet, which increases the chance of chronic muscle strain. Instability from your flat feet can also lead to poor posture and joint problems in your lower body.
There’s no cure for flat feet, but you can alleviate some of the pain and other issues with stretching exercises, physical therapy, and custom orthotics that support your feet. If you’re experiencing more severe problems, flat feet reconstruction may be an option.
If your flat feet cause you pain or other health issues, the expert team at Austin Foot & Ankle Institute specializes in solving foot problems. Call one of our three convenient locations or request your appointment online today.