September 22, 2022 9:10 am
If you have been diagnosed with flat feet, you may wonder what you can do to relieve the discomfort you feel after a long day on your feet. It may help to add a few simple exercises and new habits and footwear. Your orthopaedic provider may also have suggestions about adaptive tools that can make being on your feet a little more comfortable.
What Are Flat Feet?
The arches in a baby’s naturally flat feet begin to form during the first two to three years of life, when tendons in the feet get stronger. The flatness of a baby’s feet is usually gone by age 6, when a child’s arches and foot muscles have fully developed. However, between 10% and 20% of children never develop those arches.
In adults, flat feet and fallen arches may develop due to many factors, including weakened tendons in the feet, rheumatoid arthritis, broken bones in the middle of the foot or injuries to foot ligaments. While some of these causes are temporary, others may linger.
You may not experience any symptoms of flat feet, but you might feel foot fatigue and discomfort, particularly after a long day on their feet. Pain may also extend into other parts of your body, including the hips, lower back and knees.
Those who have flat feet may also be at a higher risk of plantar fasciitis, a condition that causes inflammation and pain in the heel area of the foot. If you develop flat feet and experience pain as a result, your medical provider may recommend different strategies to help you find relief. These can include wearing supportive shoes or adding orthotic inserts such as arch supports. Physical therapy and exercises can also fix flat feet, as can surgical repair of a foot tendon or joint in rare cases.
Three Simple Stretches
If you’re experiencing discomfort related to flat feet, try these specialized exercises:
- Calf raises. In a standing position, either on the floor or on a stair, lift your heels as high as you can while keeping your toes flat on the floor. Hold for five seconds, then lower your heels to the floor.
- Golf ball rolls. In a seated position, place a golf ball under one of your feet. Roll the ball around to massage the arch. After two to three minutes, switch feet.
- Towel curls. Sit in a chair with a small towel placed under your feet. Keeping your heels flat on the floor, curl your toes to scrunch up the center portion of the towel so you are feeling a stretch. Hold for a few seconds, then release.
Wondering whether your foot pain is due to flat feet? The Orthopaedic Center at Magnolia Regional Health Center offers care for a full spectrum of foot conditions.
This post was written by Magnolia Regional Health Center