Flat feet do more than cause foot pain, as the lack of arch support leads to painful problems in your ankles, knees, and hips. The podiatrists at Los Angeles Institute of Foot and Ankle Surgery have extensive experience determining the cause of flat feet and providing individualized care that eases your pain and restores the arch. If you have foot pain, don’t wait to seek an evaluation. Call the office in Burbank, Santa Clarita, or Northridge, California, or connect online to request an appointment today!

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What causes flat feet?

Flat feet develop when the arch partly or completely collapses. There are three types of flat feet:

Pediatric flat feet

All children naturally have flat feet for their first six years. Strong arches appear after their bones fully mature, but some children never develop arches. That may happen if they inherit an abnormal bone structure or a tendency for flat feet.

Flexible flat feet

Flexible flat feet begin during late childhood or adolescence, then get progressively worse during adulthood. If you have flexible flat feet, you can see arches while sitting, but they flatten when you stand.

Adult-acquired flat feet

Adult-acquired flat feet develop when an injury or health condition affects your arches. A fracture or arthritis may cause the problem. Your risk also increases if you injure the tendons or ligaments associated with the arch.

The most common cause of adult-acquired flat feet is posterior tibial tendon dysfunction (PTTD). The posterior tibial tendon supports the arch. If it becomes injured or inflamed, it can’t function properly, and the arch collapses.

What symptoms occur due to flat feet?

Children don’t usually have symptoms until they get older, and then they may have pain or a hard time wearing shoes. Flexible and adult-acquired flat feet typically cause foot pain as soon as the condition develops.

Flat feet alter the way you move, increasing the stress on other structures and causing problems such as:

  • Heel and ankle pain
  • Shin splints (pain along the shin bone)
  • Knee, hip, and lower back pain
  • Foot and leg fatigue
  • Inward rolling of your ankle
  • Pain that’s worse during high-impact activities

Whether you only have foot pain or develop any of the problems listed above, flat feet interfere with your ability to walk and stay active.

How are flat feet treated?

The Los Angeles Institute of Foot and Ankle Surgery podiatrists create a treatment plan based on the type of flat feet and the severity of your collapsed arches. Your care plan may include any of the following:

  • Temporary immobilization
  • Orthotics
  • Braces
  • Physical therapy
  • Medications
  • Shoe modification
  • Weight loss (if needed)

If you still have pain despite conservative treatment or your flat feet worsen, your provider may recommend foot reconstruction surgery to repair the tendons and ligaments and reshape the arch.

Don’t wait to get relief from painful flat feet. Call Los Angeles Institute of Foot and Ankle Surgery or request an appointment online today.