Common Arch Problems
Posted by Jenn F. on Friday, May 24th, 2013
We see all types of feet here at the The Center for Podiatric Care & Sports Medicine. About 60% of the people that come in have medium arches that are tired and aching from being always on-the-go. Often, we tell them that extra cushioning and changing shoes regularly to maintain shock absorption and support will do. Many people like the idea of getting a custom orthotic molded specifically to their feet to help the body keep proper alignment and prevent injury. Here we’ll talk about a few of the most common arch problems we see.
Flat Feet & Fallen Arches
Do you have flat feet? Get your feet wet and step on a piece of paper. Do you see a full imprint of your entire foot? If so, then you have fallen arches. According to Web MD, fallen arches occur “when tendons do not pull together properly.” Common symptoms include fatigue, aching and swelling. Some people are born with flat feet, while others may develop this condition as a part of having diabetes, arthritis, obesity or a sports injury such as torn tendons. Most patients are treated with NSAID pain relievers, shoe inserts and stretching, but surgery is also possible for cases of extreme pain.
High Arches & Supination
Using the same wet foot test, you’ll know that you have high arches if you notice a large portion of the foot imprint missing in the middle. Stiffness and pain are common symptoms. According to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, “Army studies have found that recruits with the highest arches have the greatest tendency to lower limb injuries, while flat-footed recruits have the least.” Some people are born with this condition, while others may develop it due to cerebral palsy, polio, spinal cord injury or muscular dystrophy. Underpronators should wear shoes with softer midsoles. Braces are available and surgery is an option in serious cases.
Normally, the outside of the heel makes contact with the grand and the foot rolls inward at 15%. People whose feet roll inward more than 15% are called “overpronators.” According to Runner’s World, “This means the foot and ankle have problems stabilizing the body, and shock isn’t absorbed as efficiently.” Often people with this problem suffer pain in the arches, the shins, the knees and hips. Shoes tend to wear down quicker along the inside of the foot. Treatment includes custom orthotics for added arch support, footwear with firm heels and over-the-counter pain relief. In rare cases, surgery may be considered.
Plantar fibromas are noticeable bumps on the arch of the foot. These benign tumors grow deep within the plantar fascia, rather than on the skin’s surface as a plantar wart might. They may grow bigger or stay the same size — and they may or may not be painful. Usually a biopsy or MRI will be done during the diagnosis stage. From there, steroid injections and orthotic devices may be recommended. Often, patients wish to have the growth removed in surgery. However, they must be aware that recurrence is common and surgery could result in other foot problems like hammertoe or a flattening of the arch.
If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine. Dr. Josef J. Geldwert, Dr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.