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Are my flat feet causing my foot pain?

The simple answer is that it is likely that your flat feet are at least contributing to your foot pain, if not the actual cause of the foot pain you are having.

Ideally, your foot is to have three arches. There is the one on the inside of your foot that everyone knows about. There should also be a slight arch on the outside of your foot between the heel and the “knuckle” of the fifth toe. Lastly, there should be an arch in the front of your foot formed by a slight elevation across the under side of the balls of the feet.

When you have flat feet, typically there is a loss of all three of the arches mentioned.

Flat feet place undue stress to the structures along the bottom of the feet in a number of ways. First, flat feet places stress on the plantar fascia (bottom of your feet) that connects from the heel to the balls of your feet. With flat feet, the plantar fascia is lengthened or overstretched beyond its normal boundaries. This causes pain at the center and inside of the heel, as well as the bottom of the foot from the heel to the balls of the feet.

Second, when you have flat feet, the main muscle that supports your arch and runs down the inside of your lower leg is over stretched. Unfortunately, when this muscle and tendon are overstretched, they cannot perform the job that is asked of them—which is to support the arch of the foot when in standing, walking or running.

Finally, flat feet causes problems at the front part of your foot as well. The loss of the arch in the front of the foot means that the nerves that run between the toes can become compressed. When you have flat feet with a loss of the arch across the front of your foot/feet, the nerves that run between the toes are compressed. This compression of nerves can show up as a “wadded sock” feeling under the balls of the feet.

In other words, when you walk or stand, the ball of your foot feels like you are standing on something abnormal like a wadded sock or a pebble. However, when you take your shoe and sock off, you discover you actually do not have a wadded sock or a pebble under the balls of your feet. The irritation of the nerves that run between the toes causes swelling, numbness, tingling and burning in the toes.

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How good would it be to walk without a limp, to stand without needing to sit due to foot pain, to keep up with your kids and grandkids and to return to your exercise routine or recreational activities?

Call Cardin and Miller Physical Therapy today at 717-245-0400 to schedule your free screen, which is a one-on-one session with one of our physical therapists. During the free screen, we will spend time listening to how your pain began and the specifics of what you are experiencing. From there, we can tell you what the next best step is to address your flat feet, so that you can get back to living your life, without missing out on all the things you need, want and love to do.

If you would rather I send you additional free information on flat feet or foot pain and how you can get your mobility and function back, please email me at smiller@cardinmillerpt.com, and I will send you some additional free information.

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* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Steve Miller is the owner of Cardin and Miller Physical Therapy and can be reached by email at smiller@cardinmillerpt.com. His column will appear bi-monthly in the Thrive section of the Sentinel and on Cumberlink.com.

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