Dr. William Knudson often sees patients with fallen arches in his Leesburg, Virginia podiatric practice. In some cases, the damage is a result of poor footwear or long-term damage to the foot. But as Dr. William Knudson tells these patients, in some cases the cause of flat feet is genetic. Whatever the cause, Dr. William Knudson advises that patients take measures to correct improper arch support. Failure to do so, Dr. William Knudson says, can result in ongoing health problems. Today, Dr. William Knudson speaks with Interviewing Experts about flat feet—the causes and the best methods of treatment.
Interviewing Experts: All my life, I’ve heard people called “flat-footed.” What exactly does that mean?
Dr. William Knudson: In a normal human foot, the middle of the foot is arched, which helps evenly distribute the weight throughout the foot. A flat-footed individual lacks this arch.
Interviewing Experts: What causes flat-footedness?
Dr. William Knudson: Babies are often born flat-footed but arches form as they grow older. In some children, though, the arch never quite forms, leaving the person flat-footed for life. Then there are those who once had arches, but they’ve since fallen.
Interviewing Experts: What causes someone’s arches to fall?
Dr. William Knudson: The arch of the foot is actually a network of bones, muscles, and joints that help balance the weight of the body. Over time those muscle and joints can weaken and eventually collapse, causing the person to suffer from “fallen arches.” It can be caused by excessive standing on hard surfaces over many years, weight problems, or by wearing improper shoes.
Interviewing Experts: How can I determine if I’m flat-footed?
Dr. William Knudson: The best way to tell is to step on concrete with a wet foot. The footprint should be thin in the center. If there is no thinning out, you may be flat-footed.
Interviewing Experts: Is flat-footedness painful?
Dr. William Knudson: Not by itself, but the resulting strain can cause pain and even inflammation.
Interviewing Experts: Does this only impact the foot?
Dr. William Knudson: Some patients also report ankle, leg, and lower back pain as a result of flat-footedness or fallen arches.
Interviewing Experts: What kind of treatment is available for flat-footedness?
Dr. William Knudson: I often will recommend over-the-counter arch supports, which can be inserted into the patient’s shoe for relief. Elevating the feet and using ice to reduce inflammation can also help.
For patients in the Leesburg, Virginia area, Dr. William Knudson can help provide relief from flat feet at his practice. With thousands of patients relying on his advice, Dr. William Knudson believes in not only helping patients treat foot problems but also advising patients on proper foot care to promote lifelong foot health.