For some, it’s obvious that you have flat feet just by looking at your soles. For others, however, pain points, injuries, and balance issues let you know that you may need orthotics for flat feet.
Depending on whether your foot actually looks flat or only flattens when it strikes the ground, it can be hard to tell if you have fallen arches. If your wet foot leaves an almost entire imprint on a dry surface, you likely have fallen arches. Along with this “wet test,” several other indicators will let you know when you need to consider wearing orthotics for flat feet to give you support and relief any pain.
1. Swelling and Pain While Standing
If just standing or walking at a normal pace begins to bring on pain and swelling, orthotics may be called for to mitigate your pain. The condition sometimes makes itself known by causing expanding feet and swelling around your ankles, particularly on the inside of your ankles. Your feet, especially the heels and arches, may ache after just a short period of standing or walking around your workplace or home. Fallen arches can also lead to heel spurs.
If left untreated, flat feet can throw the rest of your body out of alignment, causing joint pain, fallen arches, bunions, or ulcers. You may also experience pain in your lower back, hips, and calves as your body absorbs the stress of these shifting ligaments and tendons. Pre-fabricated or custom-fitted orthotic footwear can address these pain points and give your arches more support.
2. Pain and Injury After Running
Some with flat feet do not experience pain from everyday activities, but running long distances or participating in sports can pose a problem. Fallen arches force more of your foot to absorb the shock of running or jumping, causing you pain only after a workout or a run. Those “shock waves” can reverberate through your entire body in ways that people with normal arches do not experience, leaving you with achy feet and sore muscles.
If you are an athlete and experience flat feet pain, you are more at risk of overuse injuries such as shin splints, plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, nerve entrapment, and tarsal tunnel syndrome. These often occur in people who are unaware that their foot shape may be the cause of the aches and pains they are experiencing, and therefore they do not wear orthotics for flat feet to mitigate the problem.
3. Frequent Falling
While a number of factors can lead to falls, especially in older people, fallen arches are an often-overlooked culprit. This is especially true for those not born with flat feet. Over time, many older adults experience a gradual “collapse” of their arches as the supporting tendons start to weaken. According to a study conducted by the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, flat feet may contribute to balance issues and falls even in non-athletic activities, particularly with the elderly patients that were observed.
Stabilizing the soles of your feet through orthotics helps your arches to align, which gives your legs more stability. Soft orthotics are commonly prescribed for people with balance issues linked to flat feet. If you are participating in an athletic activity, however, an orthotist may recommend semi-rigid orthotic devices to restrict unwanted movement and enhance stability.
If you or a family member is experiencing any of these symptoms, set an appointment at Horton’s to talk about orthotics for flat feet or call 501-683-8889 for more information. We have licensed orthotists available at our locations in Bryant, Fort Smith, Little Rock, North Little Rock, and Searcy.