There are a good number of non-surgical or conservative treatments to treat flat feet deformity. These treatments are focused on improving the painful symptoms of the deformity, as well as restoring the body’s normal anatomy through orthopedic devices, whenever possible.
a) Insoles or arch supports
These are simple devices that come with a built-in arch. They are installed inside the shoes and their function is to keep the arch up. This greatly alleviates the pain caused by flat feet when walking.
Orthoses are devices made to measure for each patient by orthopedic laboratories. They can be made to order or semi-to order. To send them to be made, the chiropodist or podiatrist must take the measurements and angles of the feet, for which he will perform a scan. The digitized scan will be the basis for making the orthosis. The result is a very comfortable device that helps fit the feet into the shoe and maintain the arch.
Ankle braces help keep the feet in a neutral position when walking. Although they do not cure non-alignment, they can be used to better support the feet. They are very useful to put in the training shoes with laces.
d) Wear quality shoes with a firm heel cup
These types of shoes help control excess movement, and are very comfortable to wear when wearing orthoses.
d) Lose weight
Obesity is a risk factor for those with flat feet. Even obesity can be the direct cause of flat feet. Therefore, losing weight will help loosen up the muscles and make flat feet less painful. The more weight the feet carry, the more pain the flat feet will have.
f) Physiotherapy to strengthen and coordinate muscles
The physiotherapist will study each case individually, to understand the characteristics of the type of flat feet. Then he will provide a special exercise plan, which will include work with the main muscles of the thighs and buttocks. Techniques and activities recommended by the physical therapist can reduce impact and damage to the feet and ankle.
g) Pain management
Many of those who suffer from flat feet deformity resort to anti-inflammatories and pain relievers such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen, to relieve the sensation of pain. Others also get local steroid or cortisone injections. These are placed directly into the arch tissue and reduce inflammation, swelling, and pain. Although pain management helps you feel better, it is not the most appropriate long-term solution, since taking too much medication can lead to various types of secondary problems.
h) Perform exercises
Performing exercises specific to flat feet (including exercises with devices) helps strengthen the feet and the muscles, tendons, and ligaments involved. This will decrease pain and discomfort when walking or doing any activity. However, the exercises by themselves will not be able to support the arch, once it has collapsed.