Flat feet, also called fallen arches, can cause pain in the ankle, foot and back. There are several factors that can cause flat feet, such as:
- Birth defect
- Damage to the plantar fascia ligament
The most common cause of flat feet that leads to ankle pain is a worn-down plantar fascia ligament. This ligament runs the length of the arch of your foot, connecting your heel to your toes. If you flex your foot upward, you can reach down and feel the plantar fascia along the arch. This ligament is often responsible for carrying the weight of the body, which is why factors such as pregnancy and obesity, when the body is carrying more weight than normal, can lead to injury.
When the plantar fascia is not supported correctly, you could experience fallen arches (or flat feet), which simply means that the ligament in your arch is worn down and stretched out due to stress and overuse. This could lead to increased pressure in the nearby joints, such as the ankle and knee. Fortunately, there are options for dealing with ankle and joint pain caused by flat feet, such as:
- Shoe orthotics — Orthotic inserts help to cushion the arches and give the plantar fascia the support it needs to keep the body in proper alignment. This will reduce tension on the ankle joint and other areas of the body.
- Stretching exercises — Certain stretches can help repair damaged and stressed ligaments. By placing your heel firmly on the ground and the ball of your foot on a wall, you can gently stretch the plantar fascia and help to repair your fallen arches.
- Physical therapy — If the pain in your ankle is chronic and preventing you from performing your daily activities, physical therapy may be recommended to help guide you through joint strengthening movements to reduce your pain.