Foot Health FAQs
Below are some of the most frequently asked questions our patients ask about foot health. Don’t see your question listed? contact us to speak with a podiatrist today.
Pain is one of the most common problems associated with flat feet. For some people, the pain only occurs after prolonged periods of standing or other physical activity. Other people may experience aches in the arch and heel or swelling along the medial arch. When this is the case, custom orthotics from Premier Feet may be sufficient to reposition the foot and reduce discomfort. In more severe cases, though, individuals with flat feet may lose the ability to stand on their toes as the Achilles tendon and calf muscles lose flexibility. People who wear shoes with even slightly elevated heels may be especially at risk for this problem. If tendon flexibility cannot be restored through stretches and exercises, surgery to lengthen the tendon may be necessary. However, this is typically considered a last resort.
Wearing flip flops does not directly cause flat feet, but flip flops can have other harmful effects. Flip flops alter gait, which can raise the risk of injury. The gait associated with flip flops increases the vertical force on the heel when it strikes the ground. Research suggests that people who wear flip flops have a higher risk of experiencing other health problems, including plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, and sprained ankles. Tendon injuries, in turn, can contribute to flat feet. Flip flops can also cause problems for people who already have flat feet, because they are unstable and provide inadequate support. Flat-footed flip flop wearers may experience pain that extends from the foot up to the ankle and leg. So, although wearing flip flops may not cause flat feet, people who are concerned about foot health should still wear these shoes sparingly.
Arch strength and flexibility exercises can help counter flat feet. To build arch strength, you can sit down and use one foot at a time to pick up or pull on a soft object positioned on the floor in front of you, such as a towel. To stretch your arch muscles, you can perform calf raises on the edge of a step or small platform. You should start with your feet in a flat position with your heels unsupported, rise onto your tiptoes, and then lower back down so your heel is slightly below the level of your toes. You can also stretch your upper calves by sitting on the ground and pulling your foot toward you to flex it. When performing any of these exercises, be careful to stay control and listen to your body to avoid causing further foot injuries.