If you are like most people, you will eventually begin to notice that the shape and structure of your foot tends to change over the course of time. This is usually a simple consequence of aging, as gravity and years of abuse tend to cause our feet to get flatter as we get older. The soft tissue structures that support the arch(muscles, ligaments and tendons) of the foot tend to get progressively weaker as we get older, causing the arch of the foot to fall. This can easily be seen as the ankle bones roll down and in, the foot rolls outward and the arch of the foot sags. Even people who started life with a higher arched type of foot, will frequently develop fallen arches as they get older. Pregnancy and weight issues can also bring about fallen arches. Those who work on their feet all day are also more susceptible to this problem. This is the type of foot that leaves a full outline when walking by the side of the pool.
Patients with this condition will usually present with complaints of tired or achy feet that become progressively more painful the longer they are on their feet. There will frequently be abnormal wear to the heel of the patient's shoes. The pain from fallen arches can also initially present as pain to the knee, hip or back, as leg alignment is affected by the condition.
It is important to remember that pain in your feet is never "normal". Many patients suffer needlessly, thinking that pain in their feet is to be expected as we get older. There are many things that can be done to alleviate foot and leg pain resulting from fallen arches. When pain and swelling are severe your doctor may recommend injections, oral anti-inflammatory pills along with rest to reduce pain and swelling. Stretching exercises and physical therapy may be beneficial. A change in shoegear type along with a custom made orthotic can make a huge positive impact. The best way to make an orthotic is to have a cast mold of your foot performed by a professional. The device is specifically tailored to your foot structure and the type of pain that you are experiencing. This can provide long last relief for the pain associated with fallen arches.