One part of our most important body parts is our feet. Our feet are responsible for so much: for getting us through the day; for walking, running, and exercising; and for supporting the body, from our legs and hips all the way up to our chests and heads. For how much our feet do for us, it’s a wonder that they typically don’t get much thought or consideration until we experience an injury or start feeling pain in them, especially in the arch area.
The arch of your foot is basically essential for normal foot function, so if you have an injury or have flat feet, you may be experiencing pain and injuries radiating throughout your entire body. Thankfully, whether you have flat feet or a recent injury, there are a few things you can do to support your feet and your arches. Below, we’ll go over what our arches allow our feet to do if flat feet can be corrected and details on finding the best orthotics for flat feet.
Anatomy of the Foot
Your feet are actually a pretty complex body part. They’re made up of 26 bones, 100 tendons, 30 ligaments, and 29 muscles associated with each one.
Did you know that your foot has three arches, too? You have two longitudinal (medial and lateral) arches and one anterior transverse arch. Your arches are formed by the tarsal and metatarsal bones, and your ligaments and tendons support the arch.
The arches of our feet are shaped like rainbows and act like springs: They absorb shock, create flexibility in the foot, provide balance, create posture, and allow for movement. There’s a lot going on in our feet, but when you think about how much our feet do for us every day, it makes sense. If you’re experiencing foot pain, or if you have flat feet, it might be negatively impacting your entire body without your even realizing it.
What Are Flat Feet?
Flat feet refers to the condition of the feet that have little to no arch. If you have flat feet, the pads of your feet press into the ground when you’re standing. Babies are actually born with flat feet, and the arch is developed and strengthened in early childhood, usually by age 6. There are four different types of flat feet:
1. Flexible: This is the most common. The arch is slightly visible when standing but disappears when any weight is placed on the foot.
2. Rigid: Rigid flat feet have no arch when standing or sitting and is usually painful, especially when flexing the foot.
3. Fallen arch: This is also referred to as adult-acquired flat foot and happens when the arch of the foot drops or collapses; the condition is quite painful.
4. Vertical talus: This is a birth defect that prevents the arch from forming in the foot because the talus bone in the ankle is positioned incorrectly. The bottom of the foot looks like an upside-down rainbow.
What Are the Symptoms of Flat Feet?
The symptoms of flat feet are:
- Cramping in your legs
- Muscle aches and pains in the legs and feet
- Pain in your arch, ankle, heel, or outside of your foot
- Foot pain worsened with walking
- Toe drift, in which your toes and top of the foot point outward
Can Flat Feet be Corrected?
In very rare cases, surgery is needed to correct flat feet, but the best way to treat flat feet in the majority of cases is with physical therapy and custom orthotics for flat feet.
Do Orthotics Work for Flat Feet?
We’re frequently asked, “Do orthotics work for flat feet?” and “What are the best orthotics for flat feet?”
Orthotics are one the best things that you can get for flat feet and foot pain. Orthotics, insoles, and arch supports create an arch in your foot for you, which alleviates pain in your feet, ankles, knees, and hips and improves your balance, posture, and stability.
While there are some over-the-counter insoles and arch support devices that you can buy to give you arch support and help with flat feet, the best orthotics for flat feet are custom orthotics for flat feet. You can get custom orthotics for flat feet made for you by a board-certified specialist in orthotics.
If you’re suffering from flat feet and are interested in getting custom orthotics for flat feet, contact us today for a free evaluation and get one step closer to living pain-free.