How Do Flat Feet Affect Your Overall Health?

Having flat feet is a common condition that can affect your overall health by leading to other problems like pain in the hips and knees when walking or running. If you have flat feet, let board-certified podiatrist Stephen G. Eichelsdorfer, DPM help you at Town Center Foot & Ankle in Kingwood or Atascocita, Texas.

What are flat feet?

Flat feet are feet that have fallen arches, low arches, or no arches at all. Basically, the bones and connective tissue in your midfoot don’t exist. This means your feet are flat against the ground. 

If you have flat feet you may have been born that way, or they can develop over time as you age or if you are obese. You can tell if you have flat feet by wetting your feet and stepping on cement. If you can see a footprint of your entire foot, you have flat feet.

Sometimes, people have flat feet and don’t know it because they don’t have any other health problems. Other people may suffer from severe pain in their hips or knees but aren’t sure why. It may be tied to their flat feet and they don’t even realize it until they go to a podiatrist (foot doctor).

Why are arches important?

Foot arches are important because they help distribute body weight evenly and help us walk. If you have flat feet, your foot may roll inward when you walk. You may notice your shoes wearing down on one side of your heel and not the other. This is a sign you need some help with your feet before you start experiencing pain elsewhere or get a running injury.

Any misalignment of our bodies can lead to an injury or make other injuries worse. For example, flat feet can make arthritis, bunions, shin splints, or plantar fasciitis worse. 

A bunion is a bony bump near the base of your big toe. Shin splints are a common term for pain in the lower front leg. Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the fibrous tissue on the bottom of your feet. All of these can be painful and debilitating on their own.

When to seek treatment

If you have foot pain, or pain in your legs, hips, knees, or lower back, it’s a good idea to see Dr. Eichelsdorfer. He’ll discuss your health history and current issues and conduct a comprehensive foot exam to determine if your feet are the cause. He’ll also watch you walk and may order an x-ray or other imaging tests of your feet to make sure they don’t have any broken bones or other abnormalities.

If you have flat feet and are experiencing pain elsewhere in your mid-to-lower body, Dr. Eichelsdorfer may recommend stretches, massage, physical therapy, orthotic supports for your shoes that act as an arch support, or special shoes. There are also exercises you can do at home. For example, you can roll a tennis ball or golf ball under your feet to improve flexibility and help minimize pain.

To get a foot exam, and to learn how to prevent injuries if you have flat feet, make an appointment with Dr. Eichelsdorfer at Town Center Foot & Ankle in Kingwood or Atascocita, Texas. Request an appointment online or call us at 281-361-7400. 

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