Can flat feet cause pain?

Flat feet can cause pain. Here's how and why it happens, as well as the potential consequences and treatment options:

Flat feet can change the way you walk (your gait), and the way your feet take your weight and push your body forward. 

The right way of walking should not put strain on your feet but an altered gait can put extra strain on your calf muscles, ankle ligaments, and knee joints and result in repetitive pain and injury.

A flat foot tend to roll inward (overpronate) excessively when you stand, walk or run. Inward rolling of the foot causes a chain reaction such as inward bending of the knee and inward twisting of the hip and pelvis.

This can lead to injury and more pain when you engage in moderate to high-impact activity such as running or playing sports.

As the foot rolls inwards, the plantar fascia which is a band of tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot, can overstretch and inflame this tissue, leading to a condition known as plantar fasciitis, which causes long-term heel pain.

In some cases, the muscles in your feet and legs may become fatigued more easily due to the wrong way of walking thus leading to discomfort and pain.

Ignoring flat feet can lead to recurring pain in the feet, ankles, knees, hips, and lower back. Misalignment and overpronation can increase the risk of injuries, such as shin splints, stress fractures, and tendonitis, especially to runners.

Over time, the abnormal stress on your joints can lead to the development of arthritis, particularly in the knees and hips. The structural issues of flat feet can worsen, leading to more severe foot deformities like bunions or hammertoes.

Custom or over-the-counter orthotic insoles can temporarily provide arch support and help improve foot alignment but this method will only work with shoes.

Wearing shoes that offer good arch support and cushioning can alleviate some of the pain associated with flat feet but this method is again limited by shoe wearing.

Exercises that strengthen the muscles of the feet and lower legs can consistently improve the foot and ankle mechanics and reduce pain.

A physical therapist or a corrective exercise specialist can develop a personalized exercise program for you and this method is not limited by shoe wearing. This is crucial to those whom shoe shoe-wearing time is much shorter than barefoot time.

Maintaining a healthy weight always works well to improve overall quality of life and it reduces the stress on your feet and lower extremity joints.

This does not guarantee that all lightweight people have no complications from flat feet because even young children who are not overweight can have complications due to flat feet. 

In severe cases, surgical intervention may be necessary to correct structural problems in the feet but we do not want to wait till this moment. Many people simply couldn't afford the months of recovery and wheelchair lifestyle.

Rest and ice are not a practical solution because people who gets feet pain usually get the pain from walking too much such as food hawkers, waitresses, or teachers. This group of people has limited time for rest and the limited rest time is not sufficient for pain recovery.

If you experience persistent pain or discomfort due to flat feet, it's important to consult a healthcare provider, such as a podiatrist or a biomechanic specialist for a proper assessment and a personalized treatment plan. 

Ignoring the condition will not cost you life but it can lead to long-term complications and decreased quality of life.

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