What is a normal arch height? Normal is really a range. A specialist can tell you if your arch height or lack of may put you at risk for current or future problems. You may see some people with extremely high arches - seen as a walking pattern with the toes pointed inward and walking more on the outside border of the foot. Others may have a very low arch which creates a rolling inward of the ankle and collapse of the arch with the toes pointed more away from the body. It is the extremes that often can affect not just your feet but your entire body. Since your foot is the foundation of your body, your foot alignment and structure may contribute to symptoms in your knees, hips or back. A flat foot may be inherited or develop from an injury to one of the major tendons supporting your arch. In inherited cases, patients will have had a flat foot structure their entire life. In these cases a family history of flat feet is common. This foot type creates instability and can lead to structural and mechanical changes in foot over time. Common problems such as bunions and hammer toes, tendonitis, and plantar fasciitis are more likely to develop later in life. The more extreme cases of mal-alignment can also impact the mechanics of your knees, hips and back. This uneven stress and pressure can lead to secondary compensations and pain.
If you have flat feet and are experiencing foot pain or pain in your knees, hips or back, a common treatment are custom orthotics ( prescription shoe inserts made from an image of your foot) which can re-align and improve the mechanics of your foot, ankle. Surgery is usually not necessary for this condition. Contact us today to discuss which treatment options would be most beneficial for you.
Flat foot may also be acquired - developing from sudden tendon injury or develop from a more gradual tendon tear over a longer period of time. In both cases the tendon on the inside of your arch called the Tibialis Posterior Tendon looses its ability to brace or stabilize your arch. This is commonly referred to as a "fallen arch". This condition is urgent and requires immediate consultation by a foot and ankle specialist for accurate diagnosis and treatment. If you have swelling, warmth or redness on the inside of your ankle and or arch and have seen a flattening of your arch and have weakness of your ankle, contact us immediately.