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The 3 Arch Types
There are three different types of arches found in the human foot. A medium arch is the most common arch type. Medium arches make the foot moderately flexible, but this can still lead to foot problems later in life. A high arch is an arch that makes the foot sits higher up from the ground. The arch is very well defined and can be noticeable when the person is standing. People with high arches are also prone to foot problems. These patients may develop arch strain, calluses, and plantar fasciitis. A higher arch means less surface area to absorb the shock and impact of running and walking. Flat feet are feet that have low or no arches. Flat feet can be either highly flexible or extremely rigid but there is no arch present to offer additional foot support. The entire surface area of the foot touches the ground when the person stands.
Why are flat feet an issue?
Flat feet are the polar opposite of high arches, and with most things, balance is critical. Medium arches are ideal because this foot type provides the most stability and support. Usually, a person is born without foot arches until childhood, the time when the body starts to develop. For some people, foot arches are undeveloped or never develop at all. In other instances, a person develops flat feet after years of wear and tear. This can be due to ill-fitting shoes, especially over time as the tendons in the legs that support the arch begin to loosen. People may also develop flat feet due to other medical conditions like diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Flat feet come with a few different problems including heel and arch pain. Furthermore, flat feet can lead to ankle and knee problems due to the lack of proper foot support.
Is there a surgical procedure available for flat feet?
Doctors will only consider a surgical procedure if the foot problem is causing major medical issues for the patient. There are a few types of surgical procedures to consider. Doctors can operate on the soft tissues within the foot or ankle area, cut or remove the bone, or reshape and fuse bones.
What is an osteotomy?
An osteotomy is a broad term used to describe the act of cutting, removing, and reshaping bones in the body. A foot osteotomy involves removing bone from the foot and reshaping the remaining bones to alleviate stress and injury. The doctors determine the area to operate on by conducting several x-rays. Regions that show apparent deformities will most likely require surgery.
Making a final decision
Patients experiencing any foot, knee, or ankle pain should seek the advice of a podiatrist. A podiatrist will be able to conduct tests and offer advice regarding preventing and managing foot pain.