Most people have an arch in their foot which acts as a shock absorber when you step down. This arch also helps to keep your hips, knees and ankles in proper alignment. When the arch fails, the alignment shifts and you can have chronic back pain due to the change. If you have back pain and flat feet, a visit to a podiatrist may resolve both issues. Here is how flat feet contribute to the pain and what a foot doctor can do to help.
The Reasons for an Arch Failure
The muscles and tendons in the foot hold the arch in place. The arch causes your foot to roll out and turn in slightly. This is enough to keep the ankle, knee and hip joints naturally aligned. When the arch fails, the foot rolls in and turns out, putting stress on all of those joints. The stress can manifest itself as back pain.
Some of the typical causes of fallen arches include:
- genetically weak tendons and muscles in the feet
- foot and ankle muscles injured by an accident
- weight gain which puts stress on the arch
- over-working the foot muscles during exercise or other physical excursion
- diseases, such as arthritis and osteoporosis, which damage muscles and bones
Treatment of Fallen Arches
A podiatrist will evaluate the cause of your failed arch and recommend an appropriate treatment. They will initially try a variety of non-invasive approaches. If these fail to give you enough relief, there are surgical options available.
- Orthotics - A custom shoe insert supports your foot by creating an artificial arch.
- Physical therapy - Strengthening the muscles in the foot and ankle can help your foot hold the arch in place.
- Foot and ankle braces - These devices try to keep the foot at the proper rotation to relieve stress on the ankle, knee and hip joints.
Surgical options include:
- Repositioning tendons - The surgeon moves tendons in your foot so they have better leverage to hold your arch in place.
- Bone fusion - Bones in your foot can be fused together to create an artificial arch. While you'll have the benefit of the correct foot position, this approach doesn't give you the shock absorber effect of a natural arch.
Preventing Falling Arches
In some cases, you can prevent your arches from failing with the following actions:
- do sufficient warm up activities to stretch out your foot muscles before exercising or playing sports
- warm up your feet in cool weather before doing physical activities
- reduce your weight and the stress that excess weight places on your arches
Contact a business, such as Plaza Podiatry, for more information.