Posts for tag: Flat Feet
While there are many people with flat feet, often times they won’t even know it; however, there are others with flat feet that regularly experience pain, soreness, and other problems. While flat feet is rarely considered a serious issue, if you are dealing with problems as a result of your flat feet it’s important that you turn to a podiatrist who can offer up ways to prevent problems.
How to tell if you have flat feet
If the arches of your feet touch the floor when you stand then you have flat feet. The arches of our feet don’t actually develop until around the age of six; however, sometimes flat feet develop due to injury or repeated stress on the feet.
Symptoms of flat feet
The most common symptom of flat feet is foot pain that originates in the heels and arches. You may find that the pain gets worse when standing or moving for long periods of time. Those who are physically active may experience pain more regularly. Sometime swelling on the inside of the foot or ankle may also occur.
Potential complications of flat feet
Since flat feet can be responsible for misalignments, this can lead to ankle and knee problems. If you are noticing foot, ankle, knee, hip, or lower back pain then you will want to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist to find out what’s going on.
Treating flat feet
If you aren’t experiencing pain or other issues then you won’t require any treatment for your flat feet. While we can’t fix flat feet our podiatrist can provide you with simple solutions to reduce pain and discomfort associated with faulty biomechanics within the feet. Common ways to prevent flat foot-related pain include:
- Using arch supports in your shoes, which can take pressure off the arches and provide cushioning and support when standing or moving.
- Performing certain stretching exercises prescribed by a podiatrist. There are specific exercises designed to stretch the Achilles tendon to alleviate and prevent foot pain.
- Wearing the appropriate footwear that provides further arch support. Shoes that are old and worn, as well as certain styles such as sandals or flip-flops won’t provide your feet with the proper support they need.
- Undergoing physical therapy if you are dealing with foot pain due to overuse injuries, which is common among athletes. Physical therapy can help strengthen certain ligaments, tendons and muscles of the feet and ankles to prevent excessive wear and tear, as well as pain and soreness in the arches and heels.
If you are dealing with pain due to flat feet and can’t seem to get your discomfort under control then you will want to talk with a podiatrist who can recommend certain exercises, proper footwear, and custom orthotics to improve the health of your feet. Talk to a podiatrist today.
The arch structure of our feet determines how we walk, which means our arches need to be both sturdy and flexible in order to adjust to different walking surfaces. For most people, their feet have a curve or an arch at the bottom that provides flexibility and shock absorption. But for the five percent of adults in the U.S. with flat feet, also known as fallen arches, the arches of their feet are either partially or completely collapsed.
One common type of flatfoot is adult-acquired flatfoot. It is caused by overstretching the tendon that supports the arch. Flexible flatfoot is also common and occurs when the foot is flat when standing, but returns to a normal arch in non-weight-bearing positions.
Factors that increase your risk of flat feet include:
- Excess weight
- Injury to your foot or ankle
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
When to See Your Podiatrist
Most adults with a fallen arch experience little to no pain. For these patients, treatment is rarely necessary. Painful flatfoot, however, may be the sign of a congenital abnormality or an injury to the muscles and tendons of the foot. Pain can be severe, making it difficult to walk, wear shoes and perform simple everyday tasks. More than achy feet, flatfoot can also lead to other, more serious problems and pain for your ankles, knees, back and hips.
Common symptoms associated with flat feet Include:
- Swelling along the inside of the ankle
- Feet that tire easily or ache after standing for an extended period of time
- A lack of mobility in your foot and difficulty standing on your toes
- Sore, swollen feet; especially in the heel or arch of your foot
Steps Away from Flat Foot Pain Relief
If you are experiencing pain caused by flat feet, visit our practice for an evaluation. We can identify the cause of your pain and recommend the best treatments for your type of arch.
Talk with your podiatrist about the following treatment options:
- Shoe inserts/ Orthotics
- Shoe modifications
- Rest and ice
- Stretching exercises
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications
Whether you were born with flat feet or you acquired fallen arches over time, if your flat feet are causing you pain or interfering with your day to day activities, visit our practice. We can work with you to determine the best treatment options to eliminate the pain, improve your mobility and get you back to the activities you love.
Sometimes I don’t know the answers to my patients’ questions. Sometimes I don’t know exactly how to “fix” them. There are few things that frustrate me more. So when my patients ask me about nocturnal leg cramps I inwardly cringe, because I don’t always have a straightforward answer for why they get the cramps or how to treat them. The truth is that the medical community at large has a poor understanding of this common ailment.
The International Classification of Sleep Disorders recognizes “sleep-related leg cramps” as a true sleep disorder. These night cramps are sudden, painful, involuntary contractions of muscles in your calf, feet, or thighs. The muscle that is cramping will feel hard and sometimes you can even see it tightening. Some of my patients report that these severe cramps awaken them from sleep (talk about a rude awakening!) or prevent them from even falling asleep at night. This can even lead to chronic sleep deprivation. The incidence of night cramps has been shown to increase with age. There is research that shows that half of people over the age of 80 reported having sleep-related cramps at least once in the past 2 months. These types of leg cramps are also increased during pregnancy.
While it is not known exactly what causes night cramps there are a lot of theories out there. These theories usually point to metabolic disorders (such as magnesium, calcium, potassium deficiency, or dehydration), structural disorders (tight muscles, flat feet), positional (making a movement in your sleep that shortens the muscle), or over-exertional (fatigued muscles are more likely to cramp).
It is also important to rule out diabetes and peripheral vascular disease when searching for a reason for your cramping. While both of these conditions can cause discomfort in the feet and legs at night, neither one of them causes muscles to spasm or become tight and hard. The same goes for restless legs syndrome, which is associated with an uncomfortable urge to move the legs, not necessarily pain.
Treatment of night cramps is pretty easy. It usually just involves slow and steady stretching or massaging of the cramping muscle. A heating pad or hot compress can also aid in muscle relaxation. Some people recommend taking a vitamin supplement or drinking water to stop the cramp, but the truth is that the cramp will be gone before either of these has time to take effect.
The best treatment for night cramps is prevention, which can be the tricky part since we really don’t know what causes them. As a general rule, if there are lots and lots of treatments for one condition it usually means that no one treatment works really well for most people. And there are a MULTITUDE of suggested treatments for preventing night cramps! I have heard everything from drinking a glass of pickle juice to taking Quinine (which is not even available in the US because of the severe adverse effects).
Some of the more common suggestions are:
- Staying hydrated. The sense of thirst diminishes with age, so a lot of older adults fail to adequately hydrate themselves. A diuretic (“water pill”) can also potentiate dehydration. Dehydration can lead to electrolyte imbalances that may cause cramping. And sorry -alcohol and caffeinated beverages don’t count as adequate hydration! In fact, they can make the problem worse.
- Maintaining adequate calcium and magnesium. Both of these play a big role in muscle contraction. What about potassium??? All of my patients seem to think that a banana a day will keep the cramps away. While potassium deficiency can cause cramping, this is not common; it is more likely to cause muscle weakness. Vitamin E is also a common treatment for cramps although studies about why and how it works are lacking. You should always consult with your primary care physician before starting supplemental calcium, magnesium, or potassium.
- Speaking of consulting with your physician, it is always a good idea to talk to your physician about whether a medication you are taking could be contributing to your cramping. There are quite a few medications that do. Medication-induced cramping does not usually occur exclusively at night though.
- Stretching before bed and before and after exercise. This may be the most effective treatment for nocturnal leg and foot cramps. A few minutes of light stretching before bed using a night splint, the wall, an exercise band, or towel can be helpful for relaxing the muscles. Do not stretch too aggressively though as this could trigger cramps.
- Proper supportive shoe gear and orthotics go a long way in preventing over fatigue of muscles in the feet and therefore can prevent cramps in the arch of the foot and toes, a common complaint of my patients.
If you are losing precious sleep because of cramping in your legs or feet it’s time to do something about it. No one has all of the answers regarding night cramps, but at Advanced Foot and Ankle Care we are here for you to attempt to answer any of your questions regarding cramping in your legs or feet (at night and otherwise). We will work with you to assess the reason for the cramping and make suggestions for preventing the cramping whether it is giving you a night splint, showing you stretching exercises, giving advice on the proper shoes, or fitting you with orthotics. You’ll be back to catching Zzzz’s before you know it!