Introduction of Flat Feet
A flat foot does not have a normal arch. One foot or both the feet can be affected by it. In most cases there is a gap between the inner side of the foot and the ground when the person is standing. This is known as the “arch”. Feet that have a low arch or no arch are called flat feet or fallen arches.
Flat feet is a biomechanical problem also known as Pes Planus and is experienced by a high percentage of the population. In the case of the flat foot, the foot appears flattened. This causes the foot to roll inwards for it to touch the floor and support the weight of the body. This is the main clinical feature of excessive pronation.
Appearance of Flat Feet
In many cases the flat feet are hereditary, that they have developed that way. For some, the foot rolls too much while standing or walking. This condition is often known as “over-pronated foot” and is evident by the heel pointing outwards more than normal. This begins in childhood and begins more pronounced in adulthood. In rare cases, flat feet develop later in life due to injury such as ruptured tendon. It can also be related arthritis or stiffening of joints.
On standing the person will have a flat arch and flat feet often cause pain in the arch, around the ankle and on the outer side of the foot.
Symptoms of Flat Feet
- The symptoms differ according to the severity of the problem
- The patient may experience corns or hard skin under the sole of the foot
- Shoes may wear out quickly
- Pain or tenderness along the arch
- With several fallen arches problems such as calf pain, knee pain and hip pain may be present
Causes of Flat Feet
- It is caused due to biomechanical complaint (abnormal walking), that is when the feet roll too much.
- Hereditary factor is also one cause
- A ruptured tendon can lead to a flat foot
- Cerebral palsy, spins bifida and muscular dystrophy can also cause a flat foot
- The foot being repetitively subjected to hard surfaces eventually weakening the arch of the foot
- Obesity and pregnancy
Treatment of Flat Feet
This condition can be treated with orthotics (special insoles) that provide biomechanical support. This helps the feet to function more efficiently.These orthotics should be custom made to fit properly and should have firm, low heel.
Flat feet afflict many and can be treated non-surgically. It does cause a lot of discomfort and sometimes one is born with it.