Fallen Arches

Also known as flat feet, fallen arches occurs when the tendons that normally create the arch of the foot don’t pull properly, leaving little to no arch. This can occur as a result of an abnormality at birth (although many children who exhibit flat feet while they are young may develop arches as they age), stretched or torn tendons, dislocated or fracture bones, nerve conditions, or rheumatoid arthritis. Flat feet can cause no symptoms or several, including foot pain, swelling, back and leg pain, and feet that tire easily. If symptoms aren’t severe, rest, ice, and stretching may be enough to treat flat feet. It also may be helpful to wear activity-appropriate footwear and avoid activities that put undue stress on the feet, like basketball or hockey. If symptoms persist or worsen, physical therapy, orthotic devices, or surgery may be necessary. Surgery may involve ankle and foot bone fusion, using tendons from other body parts to create an arch, and cutting and changing the shape of the foot bone. Physical therapy also may be helpful following surgery to promote healing and strengthen the muscles and tendons in the feet.