In a human foot, there are 26 different bones that are held together by 33 joints and over 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments. The arches, which are formed by the tendons that attach at the heel and foot bones, pull together to form a moderate, normal arch. When the tendons do not pull together properly, there is little or no arch, which is referred to as a flat foot.
The purpose of an arch is to help distribute your body weight evenly across your feet and legs, which determines how a person walks. When a person has little or no arch, the arch of their foot is depressed, and the sole of the foot is almost completely in contact with the ground.
In infants and toddlers, prior to walking, the arch has not developed yet and flat feet are considered normal. Arches will appear when children begin standing on their toes and will continue to develop throughout childhood. By adulthood most people have developed normal arches.
Many people with flat feet do not experience pain or other problems. When pain in the foot, ankle, or lower leg does occur, especially in children, your feet should be evaluated by a podiatrist. If left untreated, it may lead to severe disability and chronic pain.
Anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, icing, supportive taping, orthotics, and bracing are the most common treatments for flat feet. In some cases, surgery may be performed to repair a torn or damaged tendon and restore normal function.
If you or someone you know is experiencing problems associated with flat feet, please feel free to contact our office at (248)348-5300 or request an appointment online. Our podiatrists are experts in all areas of foot and ankle care and will be happy to assist you with any problems you may be experiencing.