What Is a Fallen Arch and How Is It Treated?

Flat feet, or pes planus, can be a painful condition found in children whose arches don't develop or in adults who have suffered from an injury. Fallen arches occur when the entire sole of the foot touches the floor when standing. Though some people may have the appearance of flat feet with no symptoms, others experience extreme discomfort in the heel and arch area. 

What is a Fallen Arch?

One of the most-worked tendons in the leg is the posterior tibial tendon. This crucial band of tissues attaches the calf muscle to the bones on the inside of the foot. When injured or worn, this arch-supporting tendon can slowly cause the arch to lower, causing the bottom of the foot to become flat. Though flat feet can be attributed to arthritis, neuromuscular diseases, and traumatic injuries, a compromised posterior tibial tendon is the most common cause.


Fallen Arch Symptoms

Fallen arches can affect more than just a person's feet. Back and leg pain can both stem from flat feet. Some patients report limited foot movement, like the inability to stand on their toes. People with fallen arches experience swollen feet, tired feet, and more aches and pains in their arches and heels.

Fallen Arch Exercises

There are ways to stretch and condition feet to prevent more pain and discomfort from fallen arches. Toe raises, calf raises, arch lifts, and tennis or golf ball rolls are all ways to strengthen your arches and supporting ligaments. For demonstrations of these exercises and step-by-step instructions, check out this article from Healthline, "Exercises for Flat Feet."

Better Posture for Fallen Arches

Beyond working arch-targeted exercises into your workout routine, you can actively engage your feet by focusing on your posture. Poor posture affects your upper and lower back, neck, shoulders, and usually the most neglected––your feet. Work on improving your posture and being more aware of slouching spines and hunched shoulders.

Flat Foot Treatment and Surgery

Sometimes the aches and pains of fallen arches cannot be helped by exercises and stretching, alone. When folks no longer want to live with the mobility issues of flat feet, they turn to surgery. The flat foot reconstruction procedure uses titanium inserts to reconstruct the arch. This technique provides more predictable outcomes than alternative flat foot treatments and leads to a more comfortable and natural-feeling arch for the patient. This procedure has proven successful in patients with all stages of flatfoot deformities, resulting in improved mobility for years to come.

Dr. Adam Perler, D.P.M.

Dr. Perler has performed hundreds of life-altering ankle replacements, ankle fusions, ankle deformity corrections, triple arthrodesis, subtalar fusions, and flatfoot reconstructions over the last seventeen years. Board-certified in both Foot and Reconstructive Rearfoot and Ankle Surgery by the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery, Dr. Perler is our trusted podiatric surgeon.

If you are suffering from fallen arches or flat foot syndrome and would like to get back to a healthier you, schedule a consultation.