Fallen arches are also known as flat feet (pes planus), which is a condition in which the foot does not have the normal arch found in the inner portion of the foot. Normally, tight bands of tendons are attached at the heel and foot bone. They pull together along with tendons of the leg to form the so called arch. When there is improper tension or a lack of pulling of tendons, flat feet is the result. Fallen arches occurs when the arch was once present, and results in flat feet. Pes planus may be present from birth, in which case the arches will not have fallen.

The self test for fallen arches or flat feet is quite simple and easy to do. First wet the feet. Then stand on a flat surface where footprints can be viewed. Step away and look at the prints. If the imprints have no narrowing in the middle, then fallen arches is likely. Many children have flexible flat feet. This is where the arches look flat when standing or have very slight arches raising it up in the middle. However, in most cases, these children develop arches as they grow older. On the other hand, fallen arches among adults have variety of causes. They include: a congenital abnormality, torn or overstretched tendons of the foot, broken or dislocated foot bones, rheumatoid arthritis and nerve problems affecting the feet. Diabetes, pregnancy, aging and obesity also play a role in the development of fallen arches.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Fallen Arches?

Most people with fallen arches have no complaints regarding their foot condition, thus treatment is not strictly necessary. But there are some cases wherein painful symptoms are experienced. The feet may easily tire, painful and swollen feet may occur - especially on the inner portion of the feet. Foot movement, especially when standing, can be difficult. Pain may also be experienced due to poor posture, even in the legs, lower back, neck and shoulders. If any of these symptoms are experienced, seeking a medical consultation is the best course of action.

What to Expect During Consultation?

The physician upon consultation checks for two things: whether fallen arches are present and the probable cause for the condition. During the examination, the physician will check your health history to check to see if there is any reason why the development of fallen arches is likely. This includes past illnesses or injuries to the feet. The physician would also look into any unusual patterns of the soles of the shoes being used by the client. He will also observe the feet and legs for any abnormalities while standing up and sitting down. Also, the muscles and tendons like the Achilles tendon will be tested for their strength. The physician may also request for X-ray of the foot for confirmation of the diagnosis.

Self Care Tips to Manage Fallen Arches

Self care tips are helpful in managing fallen arches. These include the following tips:

  • Wear well-fitting shoes and shoes that are appropriate to the activity to be performed
  • When pain is felt, try the RICE therapy. RICE for rest, ice compression and elevation of the painful foot. Taking Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs like Ibuprofen is also helpful as an adjunct treatment for pain
  • Stretching or foot exercises may be necessary to prepare feet from intensive activities of the day
  • Avoid or limit activities that put extensive pressure on the feet
  • Limit risk factors such as obesity, high blood sugar level and high blood pressure
  • Know when to seek a medical check-up. When the pain is severe and already interferes with activities, it is best clue that all is not well and further treatment methods are required
  • Wear arch supports in your shoes, or insoles with high arches to help support your fallen arches
Author's Bio: 

Knowing about fallen arches is the first step to preventing them from happening. It is also important to check regularly for the signs of collapsing arches to ensure your foot health is maintained.