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Why Choose Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital for Flat Foot Treatment?

Flat foot is an uncomfortable condition that, if left untreated, can become aggravated and worsen over time. At Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital, our specialists are experienced in diagnosing and treating flat foot. Call us today to get back on your feet!

A flat foot, or “fallen arch”, is a condition in which a person has very low arches or no arches at all so that the entirety of the foot lays flat or nearly flat when standing. 

Flat foot may cause body weight to be distributed unevenly on the feet. Sometimes this presents no problem. However, this condition may lead to other issues. People with flat feet can experience pain that travels from the foot to the hips, or they may experience more serious bone problems. People with flat feet also have a tendency to overpronate, which can lead to injuries.

The most common test for determining whether or not you have flat feet is to get your feet wet and check your footprints to see if there is a full footprint or there is a gap where the raised arch is. If there is no gap and you can see the full length of your arch, you have flat feet.

In some cases, not treating your flat foot may worsen the condition, and may, in fact, worsen other conditions such as bunions, hammertoes, or shin splints.

There are no drugs to relieve this condition. However, there are several paths you may take to relieve the discomfort caused by flat feet:

  • Wear comfortable shoes with good support.
  • Fitted insoles are the most common first line of defense against fallen arches.
  • Depending on the type of problem that caused your flat foot, ankle braces can help.
  • Rest and applying ice can relieve pain.
  • Avoid high-impact activities such as running on concrete, playing tennis, soccer or basketball, and anything that feels uncomfortable.
  • Painkillers may help if you suffer from inflammation, a ruptured tendon, or arthritis.
  • If you are overweight, consider losing weight to relieve the weight-bearing on your feet.
  • Surgery is the last resort, but in some cases it may be necessary, depending on the cause of your fallen arches. You might have to undergo a procedure for fusing certain bones together, removing bits of bone, or reshaping bits of bone.

There are three main types of flat foot, generally categorized as such because of causation:

Congenital »
Developmental »
Acquired »

Symptoms of Flat Foot

If you have flat feet and they do not bother you, there is no need to take action. However, there are certain symptoms that indicate a medical check-up may be in order:

  • Your feet hurt
  • Your feet get swollen
  • You feel pain when standing on your toes
  • Your legs hurt
  • Your back hurts
  • Your feet are numb or feel weak

Diagnosis of Flat Foot

  • Examining family history
  • Testing your foot and leg strength
  • Testing pattern of standing on your feet and toes
  • Imaging (X-rays, CT scan, or MRI)

Risk Factors for Flat Foot

  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis
  • Certain types of injury
  • Age

Causes of Flat Foot

In most cases, flat feet are simply inherited. However, sometimes there are various conditions that cause the arches to not fully form or to “fall” over time, such as:

  • A birth anomaly
  • Spina bifida
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
  • Inflammation
  • Broken bones
  • Nerve problems

There is no medication that can “cure” flat feet. You can use medicine to relieve pain, however the best course of action you can take consists of three main steps:

  • Walk barefoot as often as you can
  • Wear comfortable shoes at all times
  • Do exercises that strengthen the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in your feet.

In some cases, when flat feet are congenital, there is nothing you can do to prevent them. However, you can try to prevent the development of flat feet over time by certain actions:

Maintain a healthy weight

In some cases, the weight placed on the foot arch can cause the ligaments to weaken. Maintaining a healthy weight can prevent the added stress that weight puts on the foot.

Wear comfortable shoes

Shoes should not be rigid or excessively cushioned. Avoid high heels that strain the arch and ligaments.

Walk barefoot

Walking barefoot is the best way of allowing your foot its natural comfort, strengthen the arch, and correct imbalances in your gait.

Do you suspect you might suffer from flat feet? Learn more about this condition and how to treat it by getting in touch with our specialists at Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital.

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