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What Causes Flat Feet? What are the Best Treatments?

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Do you often experience pain or discomfort in your feet? If so, you may be dealing with the common condition known as flat feet. 

Flat feet, also referred to as fallen arches, occurs when the arches on the inside of your feet are lower than normal. This can cause your feet to make full contact with the ground when walking or standing, leading to various symptoms such as foot and ankle pain, swelling, and an uneven gait. 

There are several causes of flat feet, ranging from genetics and certain medical conditions to injury or repetitive stress on the feet. Understanding the underlying cause is crucial in determining the best treatment options. Thankfully, there are effective treatments available for flat feet, including orthotic devices, physical therapy, supportive footwear, and in some cases, surgery. 

In this article, we will explore the causes of flat feet in detail and discuss the best treatments that can help alleviate the pain and discomfort associated with this condition. We will also discuss how custom orthotic insoles from Bilt Labs will help with flat feet. 

By understanding the root cause and seeking appropriate treatment, you can improve your foot health and overall well-being. So, let's dive in and answer the question, “What causes flat feet and what are the best treatments?” and more!

What Causes Flat Feet?

Flat feet can be caused by a variety of factors. One of the most common causes is genetics. If you have a family history of flat feet, there is a higher chance that you may develop the condition. 

Other medical conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, and obesity can also contribute to the development of flat feet. In addition, injuries, such as a torn or stretched tendon, can cause the arches to collapse, leading to flat feet.

Repetitive stress on the feet, such as excessive running or standing for long periods, can also contribute to the development of flat feet. This repetitive stress can weaken the tendons and ligaments that support the arches, causing them to flatten over time. 

Because of the amount that they may walk and run, workers in particular positions, such as in healthcare, education, construction, and public servants are at high risk of developing flat feet and other foot ailments due to the nature of their jobs. However, it's important to note that flat feet can develop at any age, from childhood to adulthood.

A photo of manicured, well taken care of feet, in an attempt to prevent flat feet.

Symptoms and Complications of Flat Feet

Flat feet can cause a range of symptoms and complications. Some of the common symptoms include pain and discomfort in the feet, especially in the arch area, heels, and ankles. You may also experience swelling in the feet and ankles, as well as an uneven gait or difficulty walking for long periods.

In some cases, flat feet can lead to overpronation, where the feet roll inward excessively while walking or running. This can put additional stress on the ankles, knees, and hips, leading to pain and potential long-term joint problems.

If left untreated, flat feet can lead to further complications. The misalignment of the feet can cause imbalances in the body's overall alignment, leading to pain in the knees, hips, and lower back. Over time, this can contribute to the development of conditions such as plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, and shin splints. It's important to address flat feet early on to prevent these complications.

Diagnosing Flat Feet

If you suspect you have flat feet, it's important to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis. During a physical examination, your doctor will assess the structure of your feet, looking for signs of collapsed arches and any abnormalities in the foot alignment. They may also ask you to perform certain movements or walk to observe your gait.

In some cases, your doctor may order imaging tests such as X-rays or an MRI to get a clearer picture of the structure of your feet and rule out any underlying conditions that may be contributing to your flat feet. Once a diagnosis is confirmed, your healthcare professional can recommend appropriate treatment options based on the severity of your flat feet and your overall health.

What Helps Flat Feet?

In most cases, non-surgical treatments are the first line of defense for flat feet. These treatments aim to alleviate pain, improve foot function, and prevent further complications

One of the primary things that help flat feet is the use of orthotic devices, such as arch supports or custom orthotic insoles.

Orthotic devices provide additional support to the arches and help distribute the pressure evenly across the feet. They can help reduce pain and discomfort, improve foot alignment, and correct any imbalances in the gait. 

Over-the-counter arch supports can be a good starting point, but for more severe cases, custom orthotic insoles are recommended.

Physical therapy exercises are another effective non-surgical treatment for flat feet. These exercises aim to strengthen the muscles and tendons in the feet and improve overall foot function. 

Common exercises include toe curls, calf raises, and arch strengthening exercises. A physical therapist can guide you through these exercises and develop a personalized plan based on your specific needs.

Supportive footwear is also crucial in managing flat feet. Look for shoes with good arch support, cushioning, and stability features. 

Avoid high heels and shoes with minimal arch support, as they can exacerbate the symptoms of flat feet. Additionally, consider shoe modifications such as using shoe inserts or wedges to provide extra support to the arches.

What helps flat feet? A woman practicing calf raises and other arch strengthening exercises.

How Do Bilt Labs Custom Orthotic Insoles Help?

When it comes to addressing flat feet, Bilt Labs custom orthotic insoles are a game-changer. These insoles are specifically designed to provide optimal support and cushioning to the arches, helping to alleviate pain and discomfort associated with flat feet. 

The insoles are custom-made based on molds of your feet, ensuring a perfect fit and maximum effectiveness.

Bilt Labs custom orthotic insoles are made from high-quality materials that are durable and long-lasting. They are designed to fit into most shoe types, making them versatile and suitable for everyday wear. 

The insoles are also slim and lightweight, so you can enjoy the benefits of proper arch support without sacrificing comfort.

By using Bilt Labs custom orthotic insoles, you can improve your foot alignment, reduce pain and swelling, and prevent further complications associated with flat feet. Investing in these high-quality insoles is a step towards better foot health and overall well-being.

A picture of a Bilt Labs foot mold box for flat feet custom orthotic insoles.

Preventing and Managing Flat Feet

While flat feet cannot always be prevented, there are steps you can take to manage the condition and reduce symptoms. Maintaining a healthy weight can help alleviate some of the stress on the feet. 

Regular exercise, such as walking or swimming, can also help strengthen the muscles and tendons in the feet and improve overall foot function.

Wearing supportive footwear is crucial for preventing and managing flat feet. Choose shoes with good arch support, cushioning, and stability features. Avoid going barefoot or wearing unsupportive shoes for extended periods. 

If you engage in activities that put a lot of stress on the feet, such as running or playing sports, make sure to wear proper athletic shoes designed for your specific needs.

Regular stretching and strengthening exercises for the feet and legs can also help manage flat feet. Consult with a physical therapist or a qualified healthcare professional to develop a personalized exercise plan that targets the specific needs of your feet.

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Taking Care of Your Feet

Flat feet can cause pain, discomfort, and various complications if left untreated. By understanding the causes and seeking appropriate treatment, you can alleviate the symptoms and improve your foot health. 

Non-surgical treatments such as orthotic devices, physical therapy exercises, and supportive footwear can provide significant relief for flat feet. Additionally, Bilt Labs custom orthotic insoles offer a personalized and effective solution for addressing flat feet.

Remember, early intervention is key to preventing long-term complications. If you suspect you have flat feet or experience persistent foot pain, consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan. Take care of your feet, and they will take care of you. Take our free quiz today to find out which orthotic type is best for your feet.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult with a qualified healthcare professional before making any decisions about your health. If you have any questions about your health or are experiencing any medical problems, please contact your doctor or other healthcare provider immediately. Do not delay seeking medical attention based on the information provided in this article.