The arches in your feet are incredibly strong. They develop and strengthen in your early years as you begin to walk so that you have better balance. They also help you navigate rough or bumpy, uneven terrains with ease. Unfortunately, some people lose their arches as they age. Fallen arches can be problematic for many reasons, and the condition has many causes. But first, what are the arches of the feet?
Understanding Your Arches for Better Foot Health
When you look at your feet, you’ll likely notice a single arch on the inside of your foot running from the base of your toes to the beginning of your heel. But what you can’t see is that there are three arches under the surface: medial longitudinal, lateral longitudinal and anterior transverse arches. These arches are formed and shaped by the foot bones and connected and supported by tendons and ligaments in the feet.
The medial longitudinal arch runs from your big toe to your heel. Because it’s the biggest, this is the arch you notice when looking at your foot. The lateral longitudinal arch runs from your pinky toe to your heel, connecting with the medial arch at the base of your foot. Finally, the transverse arch runs horizontally beneath the toes, connecting both ends of the longitudinal arches to create a triangle. Together, these three arches help you maintain balance, walk and run, endure activities and navigate rough grounds.
There are several causes of flat feet or fallen arches. Conditions that affect foot health can easily cause arches to fall. Conditions that can cause fallen arches include the following.
- Achille’s tendon injuries: When the Achille’s tendon is damaged, it cannot support the arch.
- Broken bones: Because the bones shape your arches, a break or dislocation can cause your arch to fall.
- Diabetes: In extremely uncontrolled diabetes, the condition can cause necrosis of the foot’s skin and bones. As the bones wear away, the arches do, too.
- High blood pressure: Persistent high blood pressure damages blood vessels in the feet, leading to decreased blood supply to the muscles and ligaments that support the arches.
- Obesity: Your arches support your body weight. In cases of extreme obesity, they may fall under the excess weight.
- Rheumatoid arthritis: This condition weakens ligaments in various joints, including the feet. As the ligaments weaken, the arches slowly collapse.
These conditions put you at increased risk of falling arches. You must visit an expert podiatrist to discuss the best treatments for your unique case if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Feet that tire easily
- Swelling on the bottom of the feet or ankles
- Ankle, leg and lower back pain
- Restricted foot movement
- Feeling unbalanced or unsteady
How to Treat Your Fallen Arches for A Better Life
Flat feet or fallen arches can make living a comfortable, active life difficult. It’s essential to get treatment so that you can move and enjoy life. Treatments for flat feet vary depending on the cause. However, the following treatments can help reduce pain and inflammation.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), rest and ice: A standard treatment eases inflammation and pain.
- Disease management: If you have any of the conditions above that cause fallen arches, properly managing and treating the condition can help with your arches, too!
- Physical therapy: Stretching and strengthening tight tendons and muscles can help improve flexibility and mobility.
- Supportive devices: Custom foot orthotics, foot or leg braces and custom-made shoes can compensate for fallen arches and enable better movement with less pain.
If you’re experiencing foot pain or fallen arches, it’s time to see the experts. Contact Dr. Fedorchak’s office today to schedule your consultation. Our team has helped hundreds of patients regain their mobility and manage their symptoms to live a more enjoyable life.