The human foot is one of nature’s most complicated structures and, within this complex piece of machinery, no component is more sophisticated than the arch. A delicate assembly of tendons and bones working together, the arch is what allows the foot to effectively distribute the body’s weight and to absorb the shock of the strike of each step, enabling us to stand erect and walk upright.
Sometimes, the arch loses its height. Tendons loosen and bones sink, leading to what doctors call pes cavus, but you might know better as flatfoot or fallen arches.
Adults typically present with one of two types of pes planus: flexible or rigid. In the flexible variety of fallen arches, the arch disappears when the foot is placed on the ground but reappears when the foot is lifted. In the rigid variety, nothing makes the arch emerge.
Many things can contribute to the development of fallen arches in adults. Risk factors include congenital anatomical difference, torn or damaged tendons, bone trauma such as fracture or dislocation, nerve damage, chronic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes, obesity, and pregnancy.
Fallen arches can make it uncomfortable to wear shoes, stand, walk, or engage in physical activity. The feet may tire easily or feel achy or painful. They may become swollen. You may notice unexpected pain in other joints, such as the knees, hips, or back.
If your foot doctor diagnoses pes planus, his or her approach will depend on the severity of the condition. Options for treatment include:
● a regular cycle of icing
● over the counter or prescription pain relief and anti-inflammatory medications
● injected steroids
● physical therapy
● custom orthotics to provide cushioning and support
Surgery can be necessary, but only in rare or extreme cases.
If you are concerned about fallen arches or anything else related to the health and well-being of your feet, ankles, or lower legs, click here or call Podiatry Group of Annapolis, P.A. at 410-224-4448 to schedule an appointment with James M. McKee, DPM, FACFAS in our comfortable and convenient office in Annapolis, MD. Dr. McKee will bring his decades of specialized education and experience to your visit, providing you with a thorough examination, accurate diagnosis, appropriate treatment plan and ongoing care as needed.