Flat Feet is a condition in which the arch of the foot has not developed normally and is unusually low or flat. Several tendons of the foot and lower leg typically work together to form the arch. Flat Feet can occur in one or both feet.
It is normal for babies and toddlers to have flat feet as the arch develops between the ages of three and five, yet some people never develop arches and others experience a fallen arch as they get older.
Many people inherit Flat Feet, but occasionally the condition can result from:
- The connective tissue in the foot stretching or becoming irritated through overuse, inappropriate footwear, an injury, ageing, rheumatoid arthritis or obesity.
- Conditions such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida or muscular dystrophy that affect the muscles and nerves.
Some people with Flat Feet don’t present with any symptoms or require treatment. Yet others may experience the following:
- The feet rolling in too much while standing or during movement.
- Aches and pain in the ankles, arches and heels of the foot, with pain heightening during activity.
- Challenges performing certain movements, such as standing on your toes.
- Back and leg pain.
- Swelling on the inside bottom of the feet.
Dan Everson Podiatry diagnoses cases of Flat Feet by checking your health history and performing a Biomechanical Assessment during which your movement will be studied. The soles of your shoes may also be studied for insights about your wear patterns.
If a case of Flat Feet is resulting in pain and restricted movement, Dan Everson Podiatry may suggest one or more of the following methods:
- Kinetic Orthotics may be prescribed to help treat Flat Feet by balancing the foot in a neutral position and protecting it from high impact activities.
- Stretching exercises and various forms of physical activity.
- Footwear modifications to ensure all shoes have strong arch support.
- Pain relief medications.
- Rest and ice to reduce swelling and pain.
- For cases where foot pain is severe, surgery may be recommended on the rare occasion.
Dan Everson Podiatry recommends the following activities to help prevent Flat Feet:
- Ask your podiatrist about stretches to prepare you for activities that will be taxing on your feet.
- Be aware of factors that can make flat feet worse, such as being overweight.
- Seek advice from a podiatrist on the most appropriate footwear or footwear modifications for your needs.
- Avoid high impact sports and excessive running and jumping on hard surfaces.