If you observe the structure of an adult foot from below, you will notice an arch in the middle of the foot. This is formed by the tight bands of muscles called tendons; they attach at the foot bone and the heel from the arch. Several tendons in the foot and lower leg work in tandem to form an arch in your foot. The proper pull of the tendons forms a normal arch. When the tendons do not pull together normally, they create a flat foot with little or no arch. It is often called fallen arches as well.

Fallen arches can be painful. It can be chronic and intense for some people. Obesity, arthritis, and family history can lead to fallen arches. But can we prevent fallen arches? It can be difficult to reverse the fallen arches in a foot that has been affected. But mitigation and prevention are possible through exercise.

Causes of Fallen Arches

Posterior tibial tendon dysfunction is one of the major causes of fallen arches. The tibialis posterior muscle runs along the length of the lower leg. This tendon is placed behind the inside bone of the ankle and attaches to the bottom side of the foot across the instep. So, the tibialis posterior is responsible for holding up the foot’s arch and refraining it from rolling over. The inflammation of this tendon is termed Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction (PTTD) or Acquired Adult Flat Foot. PTTD and other conditions like injury, weight gain, inadequate foot support, and arthritis can all lead to fallen arches.

Symptoms of Fallen Arches

It is important to be aware of the symptoms of fallen arches for early intervention:

·         Pain in the inside of the ankle or foot

·         Pain that exacerbates with activity

·         Pain on the outside of the ankle bone

Recommended Stretches and Exercises to Reduce the Pain of Fallen Arches

At times the pain of fallen arches can be debilitating. Simple exercises can alleviate the pain. One of the expert-recommended exercises involves wrapping a towel around the foot sole, then extending your leg and holding it in this position for thirty seconds. You can also flex your bare feet on a hard surface.

The other one is the tennis or golf ball exercise. Roll a tennis or golf ball under your feet while sitting straight up on a chair and focus on engaging the arch. This stretch is also easy on the arch.

Prevention and Management

Fall arches can be managed through custom orthotics to support and compensate for overpronation. Orthotics can also lessen the strain on the tibialis posterior and reduce the pain.

Physical therapy and home exercises can all aid in minimizing your discomfort. If you are concerned about fallen arches and looking for medical support, Bay Podiatry Associates is here to help. Our board-certified podiatrist, Dr. Argirios Mantzoukas, can suggest custom orthotics and assist you in preventing, managing, and mitigating fallen arches. We provide excellent service for patients in the Bath Beach, Kings County section of South Brooklyn. Contact our office at 718-266-1986. Our office is at 8635 21st Avenue, Suite 1C, Brooklyn, NY, 11214.

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