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Have flat feet. Getting pain, numbness and swelling after standing for a long. How to cure this?

Feb 2014
User rating for this question
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Answered by

Orthopaedic Surgeon, Joint Replacement
Practicing since : 2004
Answered : 5930 Questions
I have had flat feet all my life. Both feet roll inwards on the ankle and it is painful. I cannot stand more than 20 minutes without pain, but I do anyway because I have to stay on my feet for long periods of time, sometimes 2 hours (choral performances). I should sit down, but I don't. I had a performance yesterday and I stood until they got numb and my ankles were swollen when I woke up this morning. I am an Organist so the use of my feet is very important, but its hard when they always hurt. I have tried orthotics, but they make my feet hurt more and my legs give me trouble when wearing them too, so I got rid of them the first chance I got. I can't afford to keep changing the contour and feel of my shoe as it is important for my career in terms of playing technique. I am really desperate to find a permanent solution, although surgery is not the desirable option, I will do anything to relieve me of the pain. I can feel my ankles fall in when I'm walking and I have bruises on my feet that I can't figure out where they may be coming from. I am plan on seeing a specialist, but I wanted to get a few opinions on some options I may have available before, just to have a little knowledge of flat feet.
Posted Mon, 15 Apr 2013 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Saurabh Gupta 3 hours later
Hi and welcome to XXXXXXX
Thanks for posting your query.

Over-pronation, or flat feet, is a common biomechanical problem that occurs in the walking process when a person's arch collapses upon weight bearing. This motion can cause extreme stress or inflammation on the plantar fascia, possibly causing severe discomfort and leading to other foot problems.

This over-pronation can be treated conservatively (non-surgical treatments) with over-the-counter inserts and insoles. These inserts should be designed with appropriate arch support and medial rear foot posting to prevent the over-pronation.

The first, perhaps most important step is to stay away from orthotics and shoes with “plenty of arch support.” Rather than help you solve your problem, shoes with arch supports prop you up and lead to weak, atrophied foot musculature.

I advice you to follow some simple Exercises to Strengthen Your Feet-

Do toe spreads. Sit, stand, or lie down and fan your toes out as widely as possible. Create space between each toe. Hold this position for ten seconds, and repeat the exercise ten times daily per foot.

Point at things with your toes. Pick something, anything, in the room and point your toes at it. Now flex your foot. Hold it for five seconds, then release. Again, do this ten times per foot each day.

Get on your toes. Stand on your tippy-toes and just walk around for five minutes each day. Never let your heels touch the ground for the duration. Barefoot toe treadmill work is a worthy alternative.

Try side walking. Stand up (barefoot, of course) and get in a shoulder wide stance. Bend your knees slightly and roll onto the outer edges of your feet. Keep the weight on your outer feet and slowly raise up on your toes. You should feel your longitudinal arch stretching; once you do, hold that position for five seconds. Repeat five times each day.

Walk in sand. Walking barefoot in the sand is a highly effective way to strengthen your feet.

Hope this will help you. Please do write back if you have any additional concerns.

Wishing you good health...

Dr Saurabh Gupta.
Orthopaedic Surgeon.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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