We all know someone whom readily volunteers—“I have flat feet.” Whether you’ve heard the old stories of prospective soldiers denied entrance to the armed forces, or been the recipient of pitiful looks when you mention your own flat foot type, there’s a lot wrapped up in these two little words. Yet, most people with flat feet suffer no painful side effects. What does having feet that are flat really mean?

It’s a Type

Everyone has a type—a foot type that is, and it’s important to be aware of it in order to select the right footwear. High, neutral, and flat arches are the labels used to describe the contour of the sole of the foot and the way that it interacts with surfaces. For people who are flat-footed, the entire inside arch comes into contact with the floor when standing.

How can you know for sure? At home, take a shallow pan of water and a brown grocery bag. Dip your foot into the water and stand on the paper. The outline of your foot will indicate your arch type. If you can see the entire bottom of the foot, you have flat feet.

Many people with this arch type do not experience pain, so don’t assume that you will. However, if you do notice achiness or discomfort, don’t ignore it. This can occur not just in the feet, but also in the ankles, knees, and hips due to over-pronation. This over rotation of the ankles during walking places excess pressure and stress on these areas. Remember, many other conditions of the body are linked to the feet, so monitor their health carefully.

Why was I Born with Flat Feet?

This type of arch is normal for many people. Children typically begin life with flat feet, and some never develop an arch. It is thought that loose ligaments lead to this and heredity is a factor as well. If you have had flat feet since childhood, it’s likely that others in your family do as well.

Wait! I Didn’t Have Flat Feet in the Past—What Happened?

Adult onset flat foot occurs with age, injury, weight gain, and can also be associated with rheumatoid arthritis. If flat foot develops in this way, it is considered a condition and may need treatment to alleviate pain and discomfort. Flat feet that are flexible are easier to address than those considered rigid. Dr. Levine will help you understand the best ways to address your flat feet if pain has developed.

Treatment—What are my Options?

Ending your foot pain now is our mission. Take the first step and call one of three Las Vegas locations to schedule an appointment. Our expert staff will help you to understand your foot type and recommend the best shoe gear for optimal foot health. Custom orthotics may be appropriate to relieve over-pronation. Anti-inflammatory medications are sometimes prescribed along with a home exercise plan to strengthen the arches of the feet. A treatment plan as unique as your feet will be designed to help you feel your best. Get back on your feet today and live life to its fullest!