Fallen arches occurs when one or both feet loses their normal arch. A healthy arch is a gap between the inner side of the foot and ground. If the feet have a low or missing arch, it's referred to as fallen arches or flat feet. There may be soreness in the arch area, and in some cases, hip, knee and calf pain. In severe cases, patients lose mobility in their feet, ankles, and are unable to rise on their toes without pain. The most common causes of fallen arches are improperly fitting shoes, a ruptured foot tendon, weakening of the tendons near the ankles and obesity.
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Wearing good quality footwear is one of the most effective ways to treat and prevent fallen arches. Make sure to get your feet measured each time you buy new shoes. With a fallen arch, your feet may become wider and longer, and your shoe size will change. Only purchase shoes that fully supports each foot and fits extremely well. Find models with extra reinforcement to ensure that your heels don't slide around while wearing them. The shoe should bend exactly where your foot does, which is across the ball of the foot. Women should avoid high heels.
Prolotherapy is an effective treatment for fallen arches. The process involves injecting a dextrose solution into the foot ligaments to deliberately cause inflammation. This stimulates the body's healing mechanisms to create new ligament and tendon tissue which rebuilds the arch and eliminates discomfort.
Orthotics are insoles worn inside the shoes that provide high arch support, realign the feet and ankles, and help restore normal foot function. There are many different varieties of orthotics available at pharmacies and on the Internet.
Strengthen your feet with simple exercises. Do toe spreads. Fan your toes out as widely as possible, and hold for ten sections. Point with your toes, and then alternate with flexing them. Repeat both exercises ten times daily with each foot.
Surgery can rebuild a new arch, but should only be considered as a last resort. Foot surgery is expensive, and you'll be forced off your feet for several weeks.
Tips and warnings
- Anti-inflammatory creams and medications offer temporary relief from foot pain.
- Consult with your podiatrist before beginning any exercise regime.
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