Help for Ailing Flat Feet (During the Pandemic)
Flat feet are a lot more common than you might realize.
Fortunately, many people with flat feet are asymptomatic and live very satisfying lifestyles regardless of their lack of arches. However, some people do experience chronic pain as a result of their condition.
At a time like this, it’s really important for you to remain as fit and active as possible, for both your physical and mental health. So if your flat feet are causing you pain, we want to help you make sure you find relief.
Flat Feet Symptoms
As we said, sometimes flat feet don’t cause any symptoms. And if you are not in pain, you do not need any kind of treatment.
For those who are symptomatic, the pain tends to be concentrated in the arches and the heels. You may also notice pain and swelling along the inside of the foot, and especially the inside of the ankle. This is because flat feet is often correlated with overpronation, which causes the ankle to roll too far inward when you bear weight.
Eventually, flat feet can contribute to more severe foot problems, including bunions, hammertoes, and a greater risk of sports injuries.
If you have the symptoms and aren’t sure whether you have flatter than normal arches, you can try the “wet test.”
Get your feet damp and stand on a paper grocery bag or piece of construction paper so you can see your footprint. If you have a normal arch, you should only see about half the width of your arch in the footprint. If you have completely flat feet, you should see the entire arch in your footprint.
Relieving Flat Foot Pain at Home
If you have mild to moderate symptoms from your flat feet, you may try some of the following techniques to see if they reduce your pain.
Choose Your Shoes Wisely
Shoes with good arch support are very important for people with flat arches. So if you have flat feet, you should either look for footwear with excellent built-in arch support, or footwear with enough depth to accommodate a pair or arch supports or custom orthotics.
(Our previous blog post covers why orthotics are so effective, as long as you seek our guidance in finding the right pair for your feet. Check it out!)
Some other shoe attributes to look for include:
- A firm (but not tight) fit around the heel.
- Lots of cushioning and thick soles to absorb impact forces.
- Plenty of wiggle room for toes (large toebox).
- A relatively firm shank that offers a little flexibility in the middle of the shoe—but not so much that you can easily twist it.
People with painful flat feet should avoid flip flops, ballet flats, and other types of shoes with little-to-no arch support. You can find sandals and even slippers with good arch support these days; your flip flops should only be worn if you’re out by the pool or using public locker room or shower facilities.
Try Wearing Your Shoes More Often
Even as some aspects of the stay-at-home orders have loosened, many of our patients are still spending a lot of time at home. Most of us don’t wear shoes indoors, but if you have painful flat feet and hard floors in your home, all that walking and standing around without the extra support your shoes provide can lead to increased pain.
So try wearing a good, comfy pair of supportive shoes or sandals for at least a few hours each day and see if that helps alleviate some of your discomfort.
Many people with flat feet also have issues with a shortened Achilles tendon or tight calf muscles. Stretching your feet and legs regularly throughout the day can help you keep those areas loose and flexible, and may reduce your pain.
Here are a few stretches you can try. Remember, you should “feel” the stretch, but stop immediately if it becomes painful.
- Place the balls of your feet on the edge of a bottom stair with your heels hanging over the edge. (Use a wall or railing for support.) Dip your heels slowly below the edge of the stair until you feel a good stretch. Hold for 5-10 seconds, then slowly rise back to level. Next, slowly stand up on your tiptoes and hold the stretch. Shoot for 8-10 sets, although it’s okay if you can’t do that many at first.
- Stand while placing your hands on a wall. Step back with one leg, keeping the knee straight, heels flat on the floor, and hips square. Lean forward and dip your hips a bit to feel the stretch in the calf and Achilles tendon of your back foot. Hold for 20 seconds, then switch sides.
Call Us If Arch Pain Persists
While home treatments can help, often you’ll need the assistance of an expert like Dr. Brandy to get the best results.
This is especially true for painful flat feet, since it’s highly likely that you will need some kind of insertable arch support in your shoes—either over-the-counter inserts or custom orthotics.
Our office is open and ready to help patients with all kinds of painful problems, including flat feet. We are taking every possible precaution to keep our office safe and healthy for all our patients and staff, including sanitizing all areas regularly, limiting the number of people in the office, wearing protective equipment, social distancing, and much more.
We are here to assist you in any way we can, safely and effectively. Just give our office a call at (972) 293-9650, or contact our office online to request an appointment.
|Monday||8:00am - 4:30pm|
|Tuesday||8:00am - 4:30pm|
|Wednesday||8:00am - 4:30pm|
|Thursday||8:00am - 5:30pm|
|Friday||8:00am - Noon|
p. (972) 293-9650
f. (972) 291-2533
1801 N. Hampton Road
DeSoto, TX 75115