Surprisingly, flat feet, a lack of proper arches, typically don’t cause foot pain. But this common condition can create back, hip, or knee pain. Dr. Cary Chapman of Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Consultants, with locations on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and Staten Island, explains why and what you can do about it.
Comprised of bones, ligaments, and tendons, the arches in your feet are designed to help distribute your weight and to act as a shock-absorber as you walk.
There are several potential reasons for flat feet. Some people’s arches never fully develop. The condition can run in families. In other instances, arches fall due to a weakening of the tendons over time. Carrying excess body weight or a foot injury are often culprits of fallen arches. People with diabetes, high blood pressure or rheumatoid arthritis may also be at an increased risk.
An estimated 8 percent of U.S. adults ages 21 and older never developed arches, while another 4 percent of U.S. adults have fallen arches.
When it comes to carrying your body weight, your feet take the brunt of the force. With every step you take, your feet endure about five times your body weight. By comparison, your knees sustain one-and-a-half to three times your weight, depending on the type of terrain you’re walking on.
Sans arches, your feet may not be able to absorb the shock. The result is that the weight and shock are redistributed to your other body parts, usually your knees, hips, or back.
Flat feet can cause other aches, pains, and injuries as well. Normally, when you take a step your feet roll inward slightly; this is referred to as pronation. However, if you have flat feet, your step may be hyperpronated. This places extra stress on your leg muscles and tendons, which can lead to shin splints or tendonitis.
Customized orthotics often can improve foot support, and reduce your back, hip, or knee pain. Dr. Chapin has alleviated pain for countless patients with the use of custom orthotics. He can also make recommendations for the types of shoes that offer solid support, as well as, give you gentle stretches and strengthening exercises. Certain lifestyle changes can also make a big difference, such as losing weight to lighten the load placed on your feet.
For proper care of your feet, ankles, and other orthopaedic needs, contact Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Consultants of New York.
At this time, our practice is closed due to the sensitivity surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak. Our staff at Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Consultants of New York are eager to assist you with any questions you may have. Once we return to the office, we will be reaching out to respond to all patient inquiries.