Take a look at your foot — does it have an upward curve in the middle, with a gap between the inner side and the ground when you stand? If so, then you’re most likely in the clear of flat feet. As its name suggests, those with flat feet have flattened arches, allowing the entire sole to touch the floor when standing. If you’re unsure about what flat feet are or how it can be treated in Singapore, fret not — read on as we delve into everything you need to know about flat feet.
What Are Flat Feet?
Also known as fallen arches, pes planus, or flatfoot, the condition results in one or both feet having little to no arch, causing them to rest flat on the ground. Flat feet is a fairly common condition among Asian populations, occurring in an estimated one in five individuals.
It is perfectly normal for newborn infants and toddlers to have flat feet, as the foot’s arch has yet to naturally develop at that age. For most people, their arches would develop during childhood, but some may never develop arches due to genetic reasons.
Other potential causes or factors that increase the risks of flat feet occurring include:
- Foot or ankle injuries
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Diseases such as cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy
- Broken or dislocated bones
Symptoms of Flat Feet
The foot’s arches play an essential role in distributing body weight and absorbing shock when walking and running. Hence, with flattened arches, it is common to experience pain and other problems in your foot, although many with flat feet may have no symptoms at all. Here are some prevalent symptoms to watch out for:
- Painful and achy feet, especially around the arches and heels
- Foot pain that worsens with activity
- Swelling along the inside ankle
- Difficulty with foot movements, such as standing on your toes
If you are experiencing the symptoms above, you might want to seek the advice of a foot and ankle specialist in Singapore that can help diagnose and treat your flat feet.
Flat Feet Treatments
1. Anti-inflammatory medication
Your doctor may prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen to relieve pain, inflammation, and swelling. Taking over-the-counter painkillers can also help in alleviating minor pain and discomfort.
2. Physical therapy
Physical therapies and exercises can strengthen and stretch the tight tendons and muscles in your foot. An experienced physical therapist or foot and ankle specialist will be able to recommend suitable therapies for your specific needs. Doing simple daily stretching exercises like pointing and curling your toes, or rolling a tennis ball under your foot can also help ease pain in the arch.
3. Supportive devices & footwear
Well-fitted, supportive shoes can make a big difference in relieving foot pain caused by flat feet. You can consider getting fitted insoles, custom arch supports and orthotic devices to absorb impact and reduce pressure on the arch when walking. Your doctor may also recommend wearing ankle braces. However, keep in mind that these devices only alleviate pain and symptoms and do not actually treat flat feet or offer long-term benefits.
4. Flat foot surgery
Flat foot surgery is generally used as the last resort in more serious cases when the treatments mentioned above aren’t working out for the patient. Flat foot reconstruction surgery in Singapore, also known as tibialis posterior tendon reconstruction, involves repairing painful, damaged tendons. Depending on your specific condition, your foot and ankle surgeon may also recommend procedures to re-align the rearfoot (a calcaneal osteotomy), create an arch in your foot, or lengthen the Achilles tendon.
The good news is that with proper treatment and care, having flat feet is unlikely to affect your quality of life, and shouldn’t stop you from performing any activities and sports. If you’d like to learn more about flat foot treatments and surgery in Singapore, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at OrthofootMD today.