Do you have pain in the arch area of your feet? Among others causes of foot pain, flatfoot is a common reason for experiencing pain in that region of the foot. Flatfoot is a result of arch deformity that may occur during childhood development or can also be acquired in adulthood. While some people do not experience pain from flatfoot, others can have bone pain, ankle swelling, physical changes, and pressure from certain types of shoes.
What causes flatfoot pain in children?
Flat feet are normal in infant and toddlers because their arches are not yet fully formed. Some children may not ever develop arches – which is not a big issue as long as there is no pain.
However, when there is pain, it is mostly due to 2 major causes: developmental deformity or improper footwear. When the bones and tendons do not develop or align properly, it can lead to pain when walking a certain way. More pressure on the ankles can lead to swelling and overpronation when walking. For children with flat feet, shoes without proper arch support can increase likelihood of foot pain or ankle issues.
What about flatfoot pain in adults?
For flatfoot issues that develop in adulthood, the commonly one-sided deformity results in a collapsed arch with the foot pointing outward. Some of the most typical adult acquired flatfoot causes are: Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction (PTTD), Rheumatoid Arthritis, Sports or other Injury, or Diabetic Collapse (Charcot Foot).
- PTTD occurs, when over time, natural wear and tear causes the posterior tibial tendon in the feet to weaken. It can also be due to muscles tears from high impact sports injuries or having flatfoot from childhood. This can cause pain in the middle of the foot, even from simple activities like walking.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis can be painful because it can cause issues with the cartilage in the joints, as well as in the ligaments. When these parts of the foot weaken, it can cause the foot to change shape to result in a fallen arch. Inflammatory arthritis, in this case, can cause pain and swelling around the supportive parts of the foot.
- Injury from a torn ligament can cause the bones to shift or move, changing the shape of the foot and possibly causing a collapsed arch.
- Diabetic Collapse or Charcot Foot occurs when a collapsing arch goes unnoticed. Diabetics may lose feeling in their feet (and actually may not even feel the pain), so issues can worsen without their knowledge. This can actually lead to a severely deformed foot, which is even harder to treat.