Do you suffer with inexplicable pain in your back, hips, or knees? Does a good run leave you with shin splints? Believe it or not, the culprit could be an entirely different body part: your feet. Flat feet are a rather devious condition that can cause a myriad of seemingly unrelated symptoms, distracting you from the real source of the problem.
So what exactly are flat feet? No, we’re not talking about flat, orange duck feet. Flat feet are when your feet are hyperpronated; in other words, your arches appear to be flattened and lower to the ground. What this means for your body is that as you walk, your feet are rolling inward, which creates excess motion and improper support.
With each step, you put a force of almost 5 times your body weight on each foot! So if your foot isn’t properly absorbing that pressure, you better believe the rest of your body is taking the hit. Your legs have to pick up the slack from your feet as well as work harder with the extra rolling movement each step requires.
So your muscles are working harder to lift your foot—hello shin splints. Your Achilles tendon that runs up the back of your leg also takes on a bigger work-load, which may cause tendonitis. And worse yet, if left untreated, flat feet can even lead to arthritis!
Many people don’t even know they have flat feet. They may have the misleading symptoms listed above, or sometimes even no symptoms at all! So how can you know if you’re a victim of it? Try this little experiment: Get your bare foot wet and make a print on your sidewalk. Does the imprint show your entire foot, rather than the normal curved-in footprint? If so, then you probably have flat feet.
Also, you can quiz yourself with the following questions that are indicative of flat feet:
- Do your feet get tired easily?
- Do you have pain in the arch of your foot or lower leg?
- Do your feet or legs feel week after you walk or run?
- Do the insides of the soles of your feet swell?
- Is it hard for you to stand up on your toes?
- Are you experiencing back, hip, or knee pain that can’t be otherwise explained?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may very well be flat footed. Fortunately, this is not an incurable ailment! There are various treatments that can help you.
Custom orthotics might be your ticket, or in more severe cases, corrective orthopedic surgery could be just what you need. Remember that even if your flat footedness doesn’t ail you too much at this point, it will very likely progressively worsen with time.
Our highly trained specialists here at Anderson Podiatry Center can offer you the precise treatment you need. Our goal is to not simply relieve your symptoms, but to address the true cause of your flat foot condition and provide long-term relief. So get your running shoes out! They’ve missed you!