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Flat Feet

What are Fallen Arches?

The terms fallen arches and flat feet are used interchangeably to refer to a condition in which there is no arch of the foot. An arch is formed by tendons in the foot that stretch from the heel of the foot to the base of the toes, or metatarsals. There are also supporting tendons that originate in the lower leg. Together, these tendons work to form an arch, noticeable as a slight rise in the inner midsole of the foot. This rise or arch can be classified as a normal arch, a high arch, or a fallen arch. When tendons do not work together to pull properly, this results in a fallen arch or flat foot. Aside from the occasional pain associated with flat feet, problems with fallen arches can extend upwards to the ankles, knees, hips, and even the back, altering the biomechanics of the body.

What Causes Fallen Arches?

  • Aging, injury, overuse, or illness can result in fallen arches or a fallen arch on one side
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Nerve conditions
  • Foot abnormalities present since birth
  • Broken or dislocated bones in the foot
  • Stretched or torn tendons
  • Medical conditions such as arthritis
  • Sudden weight gain

Symptoms and Treatment of Fallen Arches

Most cases of fallen arches are not painful and need no form of treatment. However, common symptoms of fallen arches can include pain in your feet (particularly in the area of your heel or arch), pain in your feet that persists after long bouts of physical activity or standing up, achy feet, or arch pain when standing on the tips of your toes.

Most cases of fallen arches are not preventable. Treatments for fallen arches include, rest, ice, compression, medication to relieve pain, orthotics, or in some cases surgery.

Our physicians at American Foot and Leg Specialists are careful to evaluate every case on an individual basis and work hard to create a tailored plan to address any issue you have with flat feet and fallen arches.