Adult-Acquired Flatfoot: Is There Anything You Can Do To Ease The Pain?

Posted on: 15 November 2016

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Although most people develop flatfoot as children, some individuals acquire the condition as adults. Adult-acquired flatfoot can be both painful and disheartening, especially when you don't know how to treat it or the problem that causes flatfoot successfully on your own. Here's a detailed look into adult-acquired flatfoot and what you can do to ease your pain successfully.

What's Adult-Acquired Flatfoot?

Adult-acquired flatfoot describes a condition that affects the arches and center tissues of the foot. Your arches should appear somewhat curved or "arched" along the inner sides of your feet. The curve varies in height, but people with no arches or very high arches tend to experience problems with their feet. When the arches fall, you become flatfooted.

Children who have poor development in their feet typically experience fallen arches. Conditions, such as rickets and birth defects, are common reasons for flatfeet in kids. However, adults can acquire, or get, the condition if they have an underlying medical problem that affects the muscles, tendons, and ligaments of their feet. Arthritis, diabetes, sports injuries, and bone deformities are common causes of adult-related flatfeet.

Your flatfeet can experience anywhere along the bottoms and soles of the feet. But you can develop severe discomfort along the insides of your feet. The pain becomes worse when you step down on something hard or when you stand on your feet for extended periods of time. The ligaments and tendons of your feet might inflame from stress, which increases your discomfort. Wearing footwear that lack support in the insoles and heels might increase your pain, especially if you engage in running or another intense exercise.

You may also experience tenderness in your toes and legs. The tissues that travel through your arches extend to your toes and calves. Eventually, you begin to feel pain throughout your lower extremities. 

Treating your condition at home may not be enough to ease your pain. In this case, you need to treat the root of your adult-acquired flatfoot pain to achieve successful results.

Can You Treat Adult-Acquired Flatfoot Successfully?

One of the most important things you can do to treat your foot pain is see a bone doctor, or orthopedist. An orthopedist will generally examine your medical history to find out why you have flatfeet in the first place. It's essential that you reveal any past and current medical problems, such as arthritis and diabetes, to a bone doctor right away. The revelation may improve the success of your orthopedic treatment. 

If you do have an underlying health condition, you may expect a bone specialist to work with your primary care doctor during your treatment. Getting your health under control is critical. An orthopedist may develop an initial treatment plan that includes reducing your pain with prescription-grade medications. Physical therapy may be an option if you have problems walking on your flatfeet.

After they have your underlying health condition controlled properly, an orthopedist may suggest that you undergo surgery to treat the tissues in your feet. Your surgical options may include creating arches in your feet by cutting and shortening the ligaments and tendons in them. Other surgical options may involve repairing tissues that developed scars due to your deformity. Scars develop when tissue attempts to repair itself. In some cases, scar tissue can grow out of control and form painful adhesions in your feet.

To keep your arches from falling after treatment, be sure to wear shoes that support your entire feet. The footwear should feature supportive insoles, cushions and heels that protect your feet from stress when you move or stand on hard surfaces. If in doubt what to wear, consult with an orthopedist immediately. Also, manage your underlying health problem properly by taking your medications on time and reporting any changes in your condition or feet to a doctor.

If you have concerns about your flatfeet, speak to a bone doctor as soon as possible.