Add enough time or pressure—or both—and most things designed to support will slowly go flat. Air slowly leaks out of your car and bicycle tires until you have to fill them again. The midsoles in your shoes aren’t going to offer the same squishiness and support after a few months of wear. The springs in your couch have probably sagged a bit in the spots where you especially love to sit.
Unfortunately, the same process can happen to the arches of the feet, too. Wear and tear over the years can take their toll on your aches’ support structures, particularly the posterior tibial tendon. Connective tissues weaken and loosen, while the arch collapses downward and feet get wider.
A certain degree of flattening over time is normal, and if it isn’t causing you pain or keeping you from your regular activities it doesn’t necessarily need to be treated. However, if you do notice flattening you should get your feet checked regardless, especially if you start to notice more symptoms of discomfort. Since the condition tends to worsen over time, it’s good to get control of the situation early.
The best treatment remedy for feet that are flattening out is usually custom orthotics. These specially made devices slide right into your shoes and pick up the slack your arches have been leaving, giving you the support, cushioning, and stability you need. Custom orthotics are a great remedy for pain and can often significantly slow down (or even stop) the rate of flattening. At the same time, physical therapy and exercises can help re-strengthen weakened tissues.
If non-surgical treatments aren’t helping—or the condition has progressed so far that they are unlikely to provide much benefit—you may require reconstructive surgery to rebuild the arch. It’s a last resort, but it can often be the best option to get you back to the life you want to live.Don’t let sagging arches slow you down! Contact Dr. Sanjay Patel at Family Foot Care & Surgery to discuss your options. You can reach us in Milford or Hamden at (203) 876-7736.