What Causes Flat Feet?

Everyone has foot pain from time to time, especially if you’ve spent a day standing or participating in certain sports. But if you have chronically achy feet, you might have flat feet, a condition also known as flatfoot that affects about 25% of Americans.

At Gelbmann Podiatry, we understand how debilitating chronic foot pain can be. David Gelbmann, DPM, and Ramsha Ali Tanwir, DPM, make it easy to get the care you need to relieve uncomfortable symptoms and enjoy pain-free movement again. 

Here’s why flatfoot happens and how to tell if it’s the cause of your foot pain.

Flat feet in a nutshell

Imagine a line from your big toe to your heel. Just about in the center of that line is where your arch is located. Normally, your arch curves upward. But in people with flatfoot, the arch is flat.

There are two types of flat feet: flexible and rigid. In flexible flatfoot, the arch appears curved when you’re not putting any weight on your foot but flattens when you stand or put pressure on your foot. In rigid flatfoot, the arch is always flat.

The arch has strong ligaments that help support the foot. When you’re born, your feet don’t have arches. Typically, arches develop during the toddler years, but some people never develop arches.

Children and adults who’ve never had arches usually don’t feel any symptoms from their flat feet. But people who develop rigid flatfoot later in life tend to experience a lot of discomfort during routine activities. Many people have aches and pains in their feet even when resting.

Adult flatfoot can develop for different reasons, including:

Some people have a genetic condition, hereditary foot shape, or way of walking (gait) that can cause flat feet or increase the chances of developing the condition.

Treating flat feet

Typically, we treat flat feet when they cause painful symptoms. Our first step is to evaluate your feet to determine the extent of the problem and identify possible causes.

Your evaluation includes an exam of your foot, as well as an evaluation of your symptoms when standing and walking. Depending on your symptoms, we may order imaging tests to rule out other foot problems so your treatment can be targeted to your needs.

Once we diagnose flatfoot, your treatment might include:

In very severe cases where these options don’t provide relief, we may recommend surgery to reconstruct your arch. 

Don’t ignore foot pain

Left untreated, flat feet can cause more than foot pain. Over time, the condition can lead to arthritis and pain in your legs and back. The good news is that with a little attention from a skilled podiatrist, you can relieve your pain and start enjoying your activities again.

You depend on your feet, so give them the care they deserve to stay healthy. If you’re experiencing any type of foot discomfort, call us or use our online tool to request an appointment. We have offices in the Near Southside and West Town neighborhoods of Chicago.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Here's Why You Should Never Ignore an Ingrown Toenail

Ingrown toenails might seem relatively minor, but without proper care, they can wind up causing serious medical problems. Here’s why it’s never a good idea to ignore an ingrown toenail and what you can do to make it better.

How to Avoid Heel Pain With Custom Orthotics

If you suffer from heel pain, simple shoe inserts may be the answer. Orthotics are custom-made shoe inserts that can help you avoid and overcome heel pain. Read on to learn what may make your heel hurt and how we can help.

Bunion Correction

I have been performing bunion surgeries almost every week of my life since 2012. No two bunions are the same; bunion surgeries vary widely and are one of the more difficulty surgeries to perform correctly while ALSO maintaining 100% patient satisfaction.

Covid-19 Update