Much research has indicated that many babies are born with flat feet. It’s quite normal for infants and toddlers not to have their arches developed at birth. For most people, the arch develops overtime. In rarer cases, flat feet can develop in adults, but podiatrists call it flexible flat feet. Feet arches can fall due to age, wear and tear along the body, resulting from an injury. People born with flat feet often report that their condition is painless. We’re here to inform you about some of the risks that come with developing flat feet and how they can potentially affect your alignment and knees throughout your life.
The Reasons You Have Flat Feet
There are many reasons that someone can develop flat feet, and it’s most often due to genetics. Genetics plays a massive part in foot development, and those at risk of developing flat feet often have these associated conditions in their family history or current history:
- Diabetes: Both diabetes and feet have heavy health connections. Due to the interconnections between the high blood sugar levels and potential nerve damage that often occurs, the feet can be the most susceptible part of the body due to how often those with diabetes lack sensation throughout their feet. Nerve damage can cause the feet to deform, creating flat feet, which can lead it more vulnerable to other health problems.
- Obesity: Obesity can play a severe role in how the foot forms and functions as children get older. Children growing up with obesity often experience flat feet as a life-long condition due to the amount of weight and pressure placed along with the feet and joints.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis: Arthritis often attacks the cartilage and joints throughout the body, and it can attack the joints in the foot, causing flat feet.
- Foot Injuries: Tears to the foot ligament and other foot injuries can develop flat foot if not adequately treated and healed. Injuries to the middle of the foot, also known as Lisfranc injuries, can cause the foot to lose its arch and become late, leading to pain walking and more vulnerability to the ligaments and bones.
- Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction: This condition often affects the posterior tibial tendon, which supports the foot’s arch as you walk. When injured or worn down, it can potentially cause the arch to collapse, leading to flat feet.
Flat feet usually don’t cause pain, but it can cause significant discomfort and lead the foot to become more vulnerable to sprains and fractures if the problem does occur. Depending on the underlying condition, it can even lead to further complications such as arthritis and diabetic feet. Parents can correct their child’s feet using orthotic devices, such as arch supports, to help their feet form over time during childhood. For adults, it’s about addressing the underlying health conditions to treat it. For more information about your foot health and how to help treat your flat feet pain, then contact Appalachian Foot & Ankle Associates in either Asheville, NC, or Marion, NC, operated by Dr. Thomas Rehm, Jennifer Szypczak, Matthew Sheedy, and Gregory Costanzo to help heal your feet.