Collapsed arches, also known as flat feet or fallen arches, are a condition in which the arch of the foot touches the floor. This condition can be caused by injury or trauma, underdevelopment, age, or overuse. It can also be a secondary problem that arises due to another condition, such as diabetes, arthritis, or obesity.
The main reason for arch collapse is the gradual weakening or injury of what is known as the posterior tibial tendon. This is the supporting tendon that holds up the arch of the foot and runs behind the ankle, attaching to the tibialis posterior, a muscle in the lower leg. When the posterior tibial tendon becomes inflamed or stretched out, causing fallen arches, it is called Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction (PTTD).
Arched Feet VS Flat Feet
Arched feet support proper alignment of the ankles, legs, and hips. They also help you maintain balance and proper knee function. Flat feet can lead to back pain, misalignment, leg pain, severe pain in the bottom of your feet, limited foot mobility, heal pain, pain when exercising, swollen feet, aching feet, and other symptoms.
Common Symptoms of Fallen Arches
Many people who have flat feet experience no symptoms or discomfort. However, many others do, and some of these symptoms may include the following:
- Swelling in the ankles
- Pain that is intensified during exercise or physical activity
- Pain when walking on uneven ground
- Difficulty walking for long periods
- Toe pain
- Heel pain
- Pain in the arch of the foot after running
- Plantar fasciitis
- Arthritis in the foot and/or ankle
- Foot and ankle fatigue
- Difficulty standing for long periods
- Trouble standing on your toes (tip-toe)
- Shoes feel uneven/unbalanced
If you’re wondering what does a collapsed arch feel like, the answer will vary from person to person. Some people experience no discomfort whatsoever, and others experience pain every day due to flat feet.
How to Fix Fallen Arches
If you’re experiencing foot pain or other uncomfortable symptoms of flat feet, these can be remedied through various physical therapy treatments and other methods. While some cases require surgery to correct the issue, more conservative fallen arch treatments do exist.
Exercises for Fallen Arches
To remedy the symptoms of fallen arches, exercise is one of the first treatment methods most doctors suggest.
Exercises that may help relieve fallen arch pain include:
- Toe curls
- Calf raises
- Heel stretches
- Toe raises
- Arch lifts
- Tennis or golf ball rolls
- Stair arch raises
It’s important to discuss your symptoms and condition with your doctor before trying out any of these exercises. If you’re experiencing foot arch pain or other symptoms associated with flat feet, contact the team at Mitchell Foot & Ankle, P.C. today.
If you believe you have “flatfoot” and are experiencing discomfort, immobility, or pain associated with this condition, contact us at Mitchell Foot & Ankle, P.C. Our podiatrists on Chicago’s South Side are here to help you feel more comfortable, fix foot related issues, and relieve your pain.