5 Common Causes of Flat Feet

If you’ve ever looked at a drawing of a footprint, you can see the toes, an oval for the ball of the foot, a circle for the heel, and a banana-shaped arch connecting them. In reality, everyone’s feet are shaped slightly differently. If you have flat feet, your footprints look more like pancakes with toes. 

The midsection of your foot should create a small arch between your heel and the ball of your foot. Flat feet or fallen arches occur when that arch is very shallow or absent. Although flat feet aren’t necessarily painful, in some cases, they can cause foot pain and affect your gait, leading to imbalances and pain in your ankles, knees, hips, and back.

Here at PMC Foot and Ankle Clinic in Spring, Texas, our experienced podiatrist Eric Blanson, DPM, offers treatments to relieve flat feet symptoms and reduce your risk of pain and other problems.

Understanding the causes of flat feet helps us determine the best treatment for you and can also help you take steps to avoid injuries and other risk factors for flat feet. 

Some of the most common causes of flat feet include:

Congenital abnormalities

Babies are born with flat feet, and as they grow and their muscles and tendons develop, their feet change and arches form. However, some babies never grow out of their flat feet. This is a normal foot type variation. 

Tendon injuries

You know that old song “Dem Bones” — (the head bone’s connected to the neck bone…)? Well, it isn’t just your bones that are connected. Your Achilles tendon in your ankle is connected to your posterior tibial tendon that connects your ankle to the inside bottom of your foot and the plantar fascia ligament network. Inflammation, tears, and other injuries to these tendons can cause your arches to fall. 

Broken bones

If you break or dislocate any of the bones in your foot, it can cause problems in the posterior tibial tendon, and your arches can fall. The bones and connective tissue in your feet create an intricate network that facilitates movement and supports your entire body. Injury to any part of your foot or ankle could lead to flat feet and other problems. 

Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that attacks your cartilage, ligaments, and the synovial lining in your joints, including any of the 30 joints in each of your feet. In addition to causing pain, swelling, and stiffness, rheumatoid arthritis can also change the shape of your feet and lead to flat feet. 

Nerve damage

Nerve damage in your feet is a common side effect of unmanaged diabetes. You lose sensation in your feet, and your arch collapses, a condition known as Charcot's foot. As the ligaments in your feet loosen and your arches fall, your bones can slide out of place, fracturing or even disintegrating. 

If you have flat feet and experience any pain in your feet, ankles, knees, hips, or back, call our office, or book an appointment online for expert diagnosis and treatment. In many cases, custom orthotics and physical therapy can relieve your symptoms and restore normal function and mobility in your feet.

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