Ankle & Foot Clinic of Everett

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4 Flat Foot Problems That May Occur in Athletes


A more common foot condition is known as flat foot or pes planus. The condition occurs when a person has no arch when standing straight up and the whole foot makes contact with the ground. In many cases, flat feet do not result in any major problems, but athletes may run into more issues as they use their feet for rigorous activities like running or skiing.

Learn about four problems associated with sports and flat feet. A podiatrist offers multiple treatment options when problems do occur.

1. Back and Hip Pain

If you play sports, back and hip pain can come naturally from strain and physical effort, but pain may worsen from flat feet. As you stand for long periods of time, a lot of extra pressure goes to the back and hip areas. Sore spots may develop, especially if you don’t wear proper footwear to accommodate for the flat feet.

Some boots, cleats, and sneakers may have an arch or sole that does not match your foot shape and give you the proper support you need. If you have chronic pain or injuries in the lower back and hip, you may need custom foot inserts(orthotics) in your athletic footwear. A custom orthotic will contour your foot and provide extra comfort to alleviate the pain caused from sports.

2. Physical Foot Changes

Over long periods of time, flat foot problems can result in major changes in the foot. Bunions and hammertoes are foot conditions that are seen commonly in people with flat feet.

Bunions are a bump that forms on the big toe and can misshape the side of your foot. As pressure applies to the bunion, you may feel more pain. Some athletes may form a hammertoe. A hammertoe occurs when toes push inward and arch up to form a shape similar to a hammer.

A podiatrist offers multiple options to help treat the foot changes. In extreme cases, you may need foot surgery to help remove the conditions and prevent long-term pain in your feet.

3. Foot Inflammation

After a long game, you may notice your feet are swollen or in pain. Inflammation is common after a long workout but could be worse with flat feet. One way to help treat inflammation is with a contrast foot bath, alternating between cold and warm water. This is typically done for 20 minutes, one minute cold and one minute warm. Always start and end with cold.  

The cold and warm water can help reduce swelling, improve blood flow, and eliminate pain without the need for medicines. A doctor can give you foot bath recommendations based off your own feet and conditions.

4. Ankle Issues

Ankle injuries are common among athletes who play sports like football and basketball. For people with flat feet, you may roll your ankle more as you make quick foot movements as your feet may be more flexible.

If you constantly deal with ankle problems, a doctor may fit you for an ankle brace. The brace will help support your ankle and prevent direct damage to the bones or ligaments. With braces, you can avoid ankle sprains and fully enjoy sports without worrying about an injury.

If you have flat feet, contact us at The Ankle and Foot Clinic of Everett for treatment options. We have a wide variety of treatments to help heal your feet and provide relief for physical activities.

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