Flat Feet

Flatfeet physiotherapy

Last Updated December 20th, 2021

Background

Place your foot flat on the floor. Look at your foot and, most likely, you will notice that the section between the balls of the foot and the heel is raised off the floor. This is known as the arch of your foot or your instep. The degree of its curvature differs between individuals. The function of arched feet is to help support and distribute the weight of the entire body in the most efficient and comfortable manner possible. Some people have unusually high arches and others don’t have them at all. These variations can impact your posture and sometimes give rise to other problems as well.

 

What Are Flat Feet Or Fallen Arches?

Flatfeet vs normalWhen a person does not have the upward curvature or arch in their feet, or when the arch is very slight, they are said to have flat feet or fallen arches. When they walk, their instep makes contact with the ground.  In medical terms, this condition is referred to as ‘pes planus’. It is characterized by a very low or completely absent medial longitudinal arch.

Usually, this condition is inherited. Being flat-footed does not necessarily cause problems but some individuals may experience pain and may need to wear special supportive footwear.

 

What Is Responsible For A Person Being Flat-Footed?

It is normal for infants and very young children to have no apparent arches in their feet. This is partly because of abundant fat in the area which is normal for that age. Partly, flat-footedness among babies and toddlers is because the tendons forming the arch are not as tight as they should be. In most cases, they will firm up and arrange themselves into the arched shape as the child grows older.

However, some individuals never do develop these arches and remain flat-footed. You may be born flat-footed or you could acquire the condition later in life as a result of illness or disorders that weaken the tendons. This may also occur as a consequence of long-term stress endured on account of ill-fitting footwear.

When fallen arches are inherited, the condition is bilateral. Otherwise, it may remain restricted to one foot alone. Here are some recognized causes of flat-feet:

  • Heredity.
  • Aging-related degeneration of the tissues in the feet.
  • Problems related to the posterior tibial tendon.
  • Abnormal fusion of bones in the foot. This is known as a tarsal coalition.
  • Obesity.
  • Injury to the foot or the ankle.
  • Connective tissue disorders such as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Cerebral palsy.
  • Spina bifida.
  • Muscular dystrophy.

 

I Am Flat-Footed. Am I Likely To Suffer From Any Major Problems?

FlatfeetIf you are flat-footed, there may not be any cause for concern and no symptoms to worry about. Having said that, a person with flat feet has a greater tendency to develop some measure of instability in their gait. It can cause them to place their feet in an abnormal position when walking. As a result, there can be a number of problems:

  • Your feet may lean too far inwards and this can eventually put some stress on your ankles. This is known as overpronation.
  • You may not be able to spend long hours standing, running or playing sports.
  • Poor postural alignment. Because of the abnormal posture, you may eventually end up with problems in your knees and even your back.
  • Greater risk of injury.
  • Foot deformities such as bunions or hammertoes.
  • Shin splints.
  • Plantar fasciitis or heel pain.
  • Bone spurs in the heels.
  • Bursitis.
  • Chondromalacia.
  • Sciatica.

 

Are There Different Types Of Flat Feet?

Any case of flat feet may be described as either rigid or flexible. The distinction is based on the behavior of the foot arch under different circumstances. One simple test involves asking the patient to stand on their tiptoes. If a visible arch appears on the base of the foot, the person has flexible flat feet. If not, their flat feet are rigid.

If you have flexible flat feet, the arch will be present when your feet are in a relaxed position as when you are seated. However, when you stand up, the weight on your feet causes the arch to flatten out. This form of flat-footedness is more common than the other type.

 

What Tests Are Required? How Can It Be Treated?

If you are suffering from pain while walking or standing or if you have pain in the back and hips as well, you should visit a podiatrist for a formal evaluation. Identifying flat feet is a fairly simple matter of visually and physically examining the feet in a few different postures and positions. You will be asked to sit and stand in different positions in order for the podiatrist to observe the behavior of your arches. Gait analysis tests may also be performed. If the podiatrist suspects problems related to the bones, you may need to undergo X-rays. In some cases, further tests like magnetic resonance imaging may also be carried out.

You may be advised to use orthotics or inserts to support your feet. Typically, you will be expected to continue using these on a permanent basis. Some patients may also need custom-made footwear. Depending on the cause of the problem you may be advised to perform certain exercises on a regular basis. Some patients may need surgery, especially if the underlying problem is related to abnormal fusion of the bones. If you have severe pain, you may be prescribed painkillers to numb it.

 

Management

There is a degree of natural variation in the shapes and forms of our feet. Some people have pronounced arches while others have only slight ones or none at all. In both extremes, it is possible for the individual to develop problems in their posture and there may be a pain as well. As we have seen, the absence of clear arches is normal for toddlers. Adults with collapsed arches or flat feet may or may not have any problems as a result of this condition. If they do, they should visit a podiatrist to find out how best they can address these concerns and avoid pain.

 

 

Dos and Don'ts

Dos
  • Keep your weight in check since obesity in adults can lead to adult acquired flat feet.
  • Custom –made orthotics (shoe inserts) will help the individual with flat foot get an additional support for foot arch. It also helps in reducing the stress on other joints of the body.
  • Physiotherapy and stretching exercises are beneficial. These are mostly done to stretch the calf muscles and the Achilles tendon.
  • To cure flat feet naturally, try standing and walking barefoot; though this method shows results mostly in children only.
Don'ts
  • Panic if your child shows signs of a flat foot until the feet start aching over a longer period of time. Children, below the age of 5 years, usually have flat feet.
  • Let flat feet be the reason you refrain from playing sports or engage in gymnastics. People with flat feet have shown the same level of motor skills as people with properly arched feet.

 

 

 

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AST- Aspartate Aminotransferase Test AST test is a blood test that is used to measure the level of a particular liver enzyme…
Thyroid disorders
Thyroid Profile Thyroid profile is a panel of blood tests performed to check if an individual is suffering from any…
eating disorder anorexia
Eating Disorders: Lifestyle choice or a psychological condition? Is eating disorder just a harmless bad habit? Or does it represent grim psychological disorders? Do you want…
Dragon Fruit – Blessing from Nature’s Basket Dragon fruit is packed with nutrients but low on calories. It is the dream food that can help…
avocado benefits
Avocado: 15 reasons why this fruit should be a staple in your diet Did you know that the word avocado literally means "testicles". Don't get grossed out as this power-packed fruit…
gallbladder diet tomato
Gallbladder surgery :Tips on post-operative care and diet What to eat post a gallbladder surgery? What are the key things to avoid if you had a…
DHEA wrinkles
DHEA: Now get unbelievable age defiance with this wonder hormone! DHEA is known popularly as the age-defying hormone. This supplement is widely used to slow down aging and…
Juice Plus: Can you really replace actual fruits with pills?  Juice Plus supplements intend to fill nutritional gaps present in our daily diet. But how successful have they…
Shilajit: A miracle Himalayan herb for an active and happy life The Himalayas contain more wonders than you thought. Shilajit is a miracle herb that is widely used in…
The Cabbage Soup Diet: The healthiest way to instant weight loss Cabbage soup diet rapid weight loss diet for those who want to shed those extra pounds in less…
SIBO Diet: The important dos and don’ts of this gut-healing diet A SIBO diet is a diet that works by eliminating certain sugars from your diet and adding fibers…
GGt test
GGT – Gamma-Glutamyl Transferase Test GGT or gammaglutamyl transferase test is a liver function test that is used to detect the extent of…
vdrl test syphilis
VDRL Test The VDRL test is a blood test that is used to diagnose sexually transmitted or venereal diseases, primarily…
antiHEV IgM test
Anti hepatitis E virus (Anti HEV) IgM Test Anti HEV IgM test determines the level of the IgM antibodies in the blood, The disease is often…
shiitake mushrooms healthy
What are Shiitake Mushrooms and why should you eat them? Shiitake Mushrooms are well known for their smoky and robust taste. However, did you know they are replete…
hidden causes obesity
8 hidden causes of obesity you probably didn’t know! Did you know that around 2 billion people worldwide are either overweight or obese? Are you too a…
High Fiber Diet – Fire up your fiber intake for these health benefits! Regular bowels, healthy detox, higher immunity, and guaranteed weight loss - a high fiber diet can bring all…
black seed oil benefits
Black Seed Oil: What secret benefits could it bestow on your health? Black seeds or nigella seeds are tiny packets of health brimming with amazing benefits. Find out why should…
Find all the instant ways to get rid of blackheads Blackheads - Not only are they aesthetically unappealing but if left untreated these can cause bacterial overgrowth on…
How can Kegels help you overcome weak pelvic muscles & incontinence? Kegel exercises are pelvic floor strengthening exercises that can help you overcome incontinence issues that rise out of…
Diabetes blood test
Diabetic Profile The diabetic profile is a set of tests used for testing and monitoring the various kinds of Diabetes…
shoudler exercises
Keep your shoulders pain-free with these shoulder exercises Shoulder exercises are important in order to prevent chronic back and neck pain. Learn more about how you…
rosacea-treatment--before-_-after
The best and safest ways to treat rosacea Rosacea is a skin disease that is characterized by reddish hives and rashes on the face. Read more…
lose weight fast
12 easy and instant steps to successful weight loss Do you want to lose weight without losing your mind? Does weight loss always mean saying goodbye to…
oral hygiene tips
6 shocking consequences of bad oral hygiene (and how to avoid them) Did you know bad breath is not just turning off, but also harms your body in ways you…
aspartame or sugar
Aspartame – Hidden truths about this storm in a teacup Aspartame, the artificial sweetener, has gone under the scanner on several occasions for allegedly doing more harm than…
gout diet purines
Gout Diet : Get relief from painful joints by eating these foods Are you a victim of this painful condition? Are medications providing only short relief? Find a list of…
Low fat diets
A complete list of low-fat diets and how to follow them Low-fat diets help you lose weight in a healthy way, but it works only with regular exercise and…
Gua sha: Scraping away layers of pain with this ancient healing tool Gua sha is an ancient oriental healing method which focuses on scraping the body with specific tools to…
Inversion Therapy: The anti-gravity way of healing chronic back pain Inversion therapy involves suspending a person upside dow using different types of equipment. This works by taking the…
LFT-test
Liver Function Test – LFT LFT or Liver Function Test is a blood test used to determine the levels of hepatic enzymes which…
Vitamin-D-blood-test
25-Hydroxy Vitamin D test 25-hydroxy Vitamin D test is a blood test used to measure the level of vitamin D in the…
amylase test
Amylase Test Amylase test is done by checking the level of this protein in the blood sample and also in…
fructosamine test
Fructosamine Test A fructosamine test measures blood sugar glucose content. Fructosamine level can indicate blood sugar level in past 2-3…
leptospira Igm test
Leptospira-IgM Test A Leptospira-IgM test is a blood test which is carried out to detect anti-Leptospira IgM antibody. Leptospirosis is…
iron deficiency profile
Iron Deficiency Profile An iron deficiency profile is a battery of blood tests which are performed in order to determine the…
piles
Best treatment for piles in Bangalore All you need to know about piles and piles treatment in Bangalore - the types of treatment available,…
Cayenne: The remarkable benefits of these red hot chili peppers These may make you rush for a glass of water, but cayenne pepper is actually a healthy additive…

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