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What are Flat Feet - Fallen Arches? Print E-mail
Written by Amanda Wattson, MD   
Thursday, 15 October 2009
Flat feet is a condition where more of the foot surface is in contact with the floor than normal.
What is going on in the body?

A truly flat foot with no arch is rare. Most people with flat feet have flexible arches. When the foot is not bearing weight, it has an arch. As soon as weight is placed on the foot, the arch collapses.
What are the causes and risks of the condition?

People with flat feet can develop chronic fatigue. This can lead to problems with activities of daily living and work. People may avoid exercise if it makes their feet hurt. Lack of exercise can increase the risks of heart disease.

Flat feet often cause a person's lower joints to be positioned oddly. That chronic repetitive stress can lead to osteoarthritis, which is chronic joint pain, or stress fractures of the bones of the foot.

What are the treatments for the condition?

Flat feet can be treated with supportive shoes and inlays for the shoes that support the arch. A good shoe store can help with getting the right shoes. Inlays are available over-the-counter at drugstores. A healthcare provider can prescribe orthotics, which are inlays customized to fit the person's foot exactly. If this condition becomes severe, surgery may be needed to correct the problem.
What are the side effects of the treatments?

There are complications with any surgery or anesthesia. These include bleeding, infection, and allergic reactions to the anesthesia medications.
What happens after treatment for the condition?

Inlays and shoes should be checked often to make sure they are still in good working order. There should be no change in shape. Inlays must continue to support the foot.

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