Flat Foot Care
When flat feet are causing pain and discomfort, our experienced orthopedic specialists at MedStar Orthopaedic Institute can offer a wide variety of both conservative and surgical treatments for flat feet and fallen arches. Our primary goal is to provide you with the least invasive treatment option that will help you return to your normal lifestyle quickly and safely. Our board-certified orthopedists provide comprehensive foot and ankle care and are dedicated to meeting each of our patients’ personal treatment needs.
What are flat feet?
Flat feet, sometimes called fallen arches, are common and usually pain-free, often occurring during a child’s early development. Alternatively, flat feet can also occur later in life, after an injury or long-term wear and tear of the feet. Flat feet are generally characterized by the arches of the feet touching the ground when standing or walking. Flat feet can potentially cause problems in the ankles and knees due to the altered alignment of your legs. When the condition causes pain or mobility problems, patients should seek treatment from an orthopedic physician.
What causes flat feet?
Usually, foot arches naturally develop during childhood, but in some cases, arches fail to develop due to a genetic abnormality. While flat feet are a normal variation for foot type, they can potentially cause problems. In other cases, people with fully-developed arches may experience “fallen arches” later in life, which is usually the result of one of the following:
What are the symptoms of flat feet?
For some people, flat feet do not cause any noticeable symptoms, aside from the missing foot arch. For others, flat feet can cause:
- Pain in the heel or arch area of the foot
- Swelling on the inner side of the foot
- Pain when standing
- Difficulty standing on tiptoe
How are flat feet diagnosed?
Our orthopedic surgeons at MedStar Orthopaedic Institute can accurately and quickly diagnose flat feet during a simple exam. Our goal during diagnosis is to determine the cause of your flat feet so we can treat it effectively. Your initial exam will likely involve the following:
- Medical history evaluation – Our physicians will speak with you about past relevant medical issues and ask you questions about when your symptoms began.
- Physical exam – Your doctor will examine the shape of your feet and your muscle strength.
- Imaging tests – In some cases, your orthopedist may want to examine the alignment of your bones using an X-ray.
What are the best flat feet treatment options?
Flat feet and fallen arches treatment options will depend on the symptoms you have, as well as the underlying cause of your condition. Typically, patients who do not experience symptoms do not need to undergo treatment of any kind. However, if you are experiencing pain, we may recommend:
- Orthotics for flat feet or arch supports
- Taking medication, including over-the-counter pain relievers and/or cortisone shots
- Wearing a walking cast or brace
- Physical therapy
If you still experience severe pain after making these changes, we may recommend flat foot surgery. Our expert team of orthopedic surgeons will work with you to determine the most effective treatment approach for your needs.
If you believe you may be suffering from flat feet, call 202-295-0511 to schedule a consultation with one of our orthopedic specialists at MedStar Orthopaedic Institute. Our doctors have years of experience diagnosing and treating foot and ankle conditions and are pleased to offer comprehensive ankle and foot care in the Washington, D.C. area.