Flat feet: How physical therapy can help the pain

flat feet

Flat feet are caused by many things — genetics, age, weight, etc. — and can create painful body issues. Over time, without treatment, flat feet can lead to additional issues, such as strains, sprains, ankle pain, knee pain, hip pain and back pain.

A physical therapist can treat flat feet-related issues and suggest simple lifestyle changes like exercises to lengthen and strengthen muscles. Additionally, a physical therapist may recommend corrective footwear and insoles that help lift the arch. 

If you’re suffering from constant foot pain you believe is related to flat feet, take a moment to understand what happens to the body when there is no arch in the feet and how treatment can help.

What does the arch do? 

The arches add elasticity and flexibility that cause the middle of the foot to spread and close. Arches help absorb shock and are key to the foot’s strength and body balance. They also help distribute weight evenly around the entire foot. When the foot is flat, the rest of the body has to make up for no arch and adds additional burden on the feet, knees and back, creating inflammation and pain.

Should flat-footed people see a doctor? 

Some flat-footed individuals experience no pain, so there is no need to see a doctor or physical therapist. But if there is a pain in the foot, ankle or other body areas, flat feet could be the reason. You may want to see a doctor if the arches have dropped recently, if there is pain in the lower limbs, if supportive or orthopedic shoes fail to help pain, or if the feet are continually heavy or stiff. 

Of course, you can always visit a physical therapist for an examination and treatment without going through a doctor first. This may be beneficial because you can receive treatment sooner and save the cost of an additional appointment. 

What will a physical therapist do to help?

A physical therapist can review your individual issues to determine the bigger picture. They can explain how the feet are the foundation of the entire body and keeping them strong will help alleviate pain throughout the body including ankle, knee and back pain. Things that are normally suggested include footwear with substantial arch support, insoles to relieve foot pressure, daily stretching exercises for both the feet and the legs, ice therapy to reduce inflammation, physiotherapy to correct the walking patterns or even ankle braces.

What will happen if flat foot pain is ignored?

Flat foot pain that is ignored could become worse over time. Walking and other activities could become harder to participate in, the body’s balance could be affected and the pain could appear in other parts of the body, including muscle, joint and tendons. Bunions, calluses, plantar fasciitis, hammertoes, blisters and other painful problems may increase. Athletes could experience shin splints and fractures, and overall quality of life may suffer.

Visit Holland Physical Therapy for flat foot pain treatment

Are you suffering from pain caused by flat arches in your feet? Whether the pain is just in your feet or has spread further into your ankles, knees, hips or back, our team at Holland Physical Therapy can help. We can examine your condition and guide you through a personalized treatment to help you manage your condition. Contact our team today for more information about flat foot pain treatment or to schedule an initial appointment.