A flat foot, also referred to as flatfoot or flatfeet, occurs when the arch of the foot does not arch. The arch may not develop in childhood, and some conditions can cause the arch to fall as well. Many individuals with flat feet experience no associated problems or complications. Other individuals experience pain or problems with the feet, ankles or lower legs. Shoe inserts, leg braces, surgery, therapy and medications are treatment options for some of the problems from flat feet.
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The pain associated with flat feet occurs on the inside of the ankle, in the lower leg or on the foot. The pain hurts most when standing, walking or running and eases during rest. The pain can sometimes be severe enough to limit participation in sports or other activities.
Flat feet can cause shin splints to occur. Shin splints are a condition is which inflammation occurs in the shinbone because of overuse during running without proper form of the foot. Symptoms of shin splints include pain in the lower leg when bending the foot and pain to the shin.
A bunion is a condition affecting the joint at the base of the big toe. Improperly fitting shoes, caused by flat feet, may place pressure on the joint. This pressure causes the joint to become larger and push the big toe toward the other toes. This causes pain in the joint.
Flatfeet may occur after a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis in the foot or ankle. The arthritis causes flatfoot for almost half of people suffering from the condition, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). This form of arthritis causes inflammation and pain in the lining of joints as well as joint damage and bone erosion.
Tendinitis may occur as a complication of flat feet. Tendinitis from flatfoot commonly affects the Achilles tendon because of the increased stress placed on the back of the heel and ankle. Symptoms of tendinitis include pain, swelling and warmth along the area of the tendon.
The weak muscles from flat feet may cause a hammertoe to occur. A hammertoe curls upward at the joint before bending down again, giving the toe a claw-like appearance. Hammertoe can be painful. .
Flat feet may cause calluses to form on the feet. Friction from rubbing against the inside of the shoe causes thickened, hardened layers of skin to develop.