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Flatfoot (Fallen Arches)

Flat feet are the term used to describe when the arches on the inside of your feet no longer have (or perhaps never had) the raised arch that most feet have, allowing the entire bottom of the foot to touch the floor. Sometimes, flat feet are a result of arches having never developed during childhood. Other times, flat feet are the result of injury or age.

Flat feet can contribute to other problems with the legs and ankles, as the condition alters the way a person stands and walks. Most people with flat feet experience few or no symptoms or pain. For others, however, flat feet may cause problems with walking or standing and result in pain in the heel or arch area, or swelling and pain in the ankles.

What are Flat Feet?

Infants and children all have flat feet. When a person is born, the arches of the feet have not fully developed, yet. In a baby or very young child, the entire bottom of the foot is in contact with the floor. No arches have developed, yet, to lift the arch off the floor. Somewhere between two and four years of age, most children will develop an arch that will lift the center, inside part of the foot, what is known as the arch, off the floor, even when standing.

Flat feet is the term used to describe when an adult or older child doesn’t have an arch that prevents the entire bottom of the foot from touching the floor when standing. Flat feet may be the result of an arch having never developed or it may be caused by an injury or as the result of age.

A study conducted by the National Foot Health assessment revealed that eight percent of adults in the US have flat feet and/or fallen arches. Flat feet can cause problems with walking, standing for long periods, running, or performing other exercises and activities. Flat feet only require treatment when they cause discomfort, pain, or interfere with a person’s ability to participate in everyday activities.

What causes Flat Feet?

Flat feet can be a result of genetics, injury, or age. Some people simply never develop an arch as a child. All babies are born with flat feet and the arch develops before a child is five years old, most of the time. Some people, however, never develop an arch or the arch fails to develop to the extent that it should, resulting in flat feet. Other people develop arches as a child, but experience injuries that cause the arches to fall over time.

Injuries that can result in fallen arches include

  • Stretched or torn tendons
  • Broken bones
  • Damage to the PTT (the posterior tibial tendon) – more common in long-time runners

Other risk factors for flat feet:

  • Age - As people age, the fat pad on the bottom of their feet tends to wear away and the muscles and tendons in the feet may experience “wear and tear” injuries that combine together to cause flat feet.
  • Obesity - Being overweight can increase a person’s risk for developing flat feet, as the increased weight increases the likelihood of “wear and tear” injuries.
  • Diabetes – Diabetes is a disease that affects the blood flow and nerve activity in the body. Over time, diabetes can damage the nervous system, resulting in a weakened ability for the body to convey messages from the feet to the brain. As a result, injuries to the feet are often unknown to the patient until significant problems have developed.
  • Pregnancy – Pregnancy can increase the likelihood of developing flat feet for several reasons. The first is additional weight and wear and tear on the tendons. In addition to increased wear and tear, pregnancy releases a hormone in women that allows their body to become more flexible, to prepare for the birth of the child. This hormone aptly called “relaxin” loosens the joints, ligaments, and muscles in pregnant women to prepare the body for delivery. This relaxing hormone, however, can add to the body’s tendency to sustain injuries such as fallen arches or flat feet.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis – This painful disease can affect the joints of the feet and cause inflammation in the surrounding tissues, ligaments, and tendons. This inflammation, sustained over time, can result in injury to the ligaments and tendons that form the arch of the foot.
  • Running – Long-time runners are more likely to injure the feet and ankles, especially straining the posterior tibial tendon, resulting in flat feet.
  • Larger feet – Having large feet increases a person’s risk of developing flat feet or fallen arches.

Flat Foot Problems

Many people with flat feet never experience any associated problems like pain or discomfort. For people who simply never developed arches, this condition may never present any problems, as their feet are otherwise healthy and flexible. When flat feet are the result of injury or age, however, changes in a person’s gait or walking mechanics may result in complications or pain.

The most common problem for individuals with flat feet is foot pain. Pain in the foot may occur anywhere, depending on the way the arch is falling and which tendons are being stretched or injured. The entire foot may hurt, or just in places like the ankle. Altered walking and running mechanics can result in pain in the knees, calves, hips, thighs, or back. Flat feet can also result in over-pronation, which can lead to ankle pain or Achilles tendonitis.

Flat Foot Pain

The most common complaint for individuals with fallen arches is pain in the foot or ankle. Where a person experiences pain from flat feet depends on the reason for the flat feet and what tendons or muscles are being abnormally stretched or damaged as a result. Flat feet can result in a change in body mechanics, altering the way a person walks or runs. This change in movement can result in pain or injury in other places in the body, such as the knees, calves, hips, thighs, or back. Flat feet can also result in over-pronation, which can lead to ankle pain or Achilles tendonitis.

If you suffer from flat foot pain, schedule a consultation with Dr. Kleis. Dr. Jeffery Kleis is a podiatrist in Costa Mesa with more than 25 years of experience treating feet and ankles problems. Dr. Kleis will conduct a thorough examination to determine the cause of your foot pain and develop a treatment plan that will have you back on your feet in no time!

For an evaluation of your flat foot pain, schedule a consultation with Dr. Kleis today by calling (714) 760-4944 or book an appointment online

Fallen Arches

Fallen arches is another term for flat feet. Fallen arches can be a result of genetics, injury, or age. Some people simply never develop an arch as a child. All babies are born with flat feet and the arch develops before a child is five years old, most of the time. Some people, however, never develop an arch or the arch fails to develop to the extent that it should, resulting in flat feet. Other people develop arches as a child, but experience injuries that cause the arches to fall over time.

Injuries that can result in fallen arches include stretched or torn tendons, broken bones, damage to the PTT (the posterior tibial tendon) an injury that is more common in long-time runners.

Risk factors for fallen arches:

  • Age - As people age, the fat pad on the bottom of their feet tends to wear away and the muscles and tendons in the feet may experience “wear and tear” injuries that combine together to cause fallen arches.
  • Obesity - Being overweight can increase a person’s risk for developing fallen arches, as the increased weight increases the likelihood of “wear and tear” injuries.
  • Diabetes – Diabetes is a disease that affects the blood flow and nerve activity in the body. Over time, diabetes can damage the nervous system, resulting in a weakened ability for the body to convey messages from the feet to the brain. As a result, injuries to the feet are often unknown to the patient until significant problems have developed.
  • Pregnancy – Pregnancy can increase the likelihood of developing fallen arches for several reasons. In addition to increased wear and tear from pregnancy weight, pregnancy releases a hormone in women that allows their body to become more flexible, to prepare for the birth of the child. This hormone, aptly called “relaxin,” loosens the joints, ligaments, and muscles in pregnant women to prepare the body for delivery. This relaxing hormone, however, can add to the body’s tendency to sustain injuries such as fallen arches or flat feet.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis – This painful disease can affect the joints of the feet and cause inflammation in the surrounding tissues, ligaments, and tendons. This inflammation, sustained over time, can result in injury to the ligaments and tendons that form the arch of the foot.
  • Running – Long-time runners are more likely to injure the feet and ankles, especially straining the posterior tibial tendon, resulting in fallen arches.
  • Larger feet – Having large feet increases a person’s risk of developing fallen arches.

Symptoms of Fallen Arches

The most common symptom of fallen arches is pain in the foot or ankle. Where a person experiences pain from fallen arches depends on the reason for the flat feet and what tendons or muscles are being abnormally stretched or damaged as a result. Fallen arches can cause a change in body mechanics, altering the way a person walks or runs. This change in movement can result in pain or injury in other places in the body, such as the knees, calves, hips, thighs, or back. Flat feet can also result in over-pronation, which can lead to ankle pain or Achilles tendonitis.

If you suffer from flat foot pain, schedule a consultation with Dr. Kleis. Dr. Jeffery Kleis is a podiatrist in Costa Mesa with more than 25 years of experience treating feet and ankles problems. Dr. Kleis will conduct a thorough examination to determine the cause of your foot pain and develop a treatment plan that will have you back on your feet in no time!

For an evaluation of your fallen arches, schedule a consultation with Dr. Kleis today by calling (714) 760-4944 or book an appointment online

Flat Feet Treatment

Dr. Jeffery Kleis is a podiatrist in Costa Mesa with more than 25 years of experience treating feet and ankles problems. Dr. Kleis will conduct a thorough examination of your flat feet, including a complete physical examination and medical background, to determine the cause of your foot pain. Dr. Kleis has access to the latest technology, including laser therapy treatments and custom orthotics. Dr. Kleis will develop a treatment plan that will have you back on your feet in no time!

For an evaluation of your fallen arches, schedule a consultation with Dr. Kleis today by calling (714) 760-4944 or book an appointment online

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