Commonly people have some space under the arch of their foot when they are in a standing position which makes inner part of the foot is slightly raised off the ground. A flat foot is a condition when the arch of foot collapses, making entire sole area of foot coming into complete or near to complete contact with the grounds. It can be in one foot or in both. A study shows that 20 to 30% of general population never develops their foot arch and resulting in Flat Feet conditions.
Flat feet are very normal in infants but they usually develop arch in foot in process of growing up. Flat feet have many problems associated with it for any adult so I would cover flat feet issues in this article.
Causes of Flat feet:
Our every foot consists of 26 bones and several ligaments. Which collectively make complex structure of foot and responsible for every arch and joins. As I have mentioned earlier that infants have usually flat feet, but in the process of growing up normally they develop enough arch in their foot. Sometimes arch canâ€™t be developed in one foot or in both resulting in conditions known as flat feet. There can be other reasons also for fallen arches like family history, injury, weak arch, arthritis, pregnancy, diabetes, and aging etc.
Diagnosis of fallen arch or flat feet:
Majority of people with fallen arch have no problem and pain, so they donâ€™t need a podiatrist in general. But some of them find flat feet difficult and need to be diagnosed. Flat feet normally can be diagnosed by a podiatrist by just looking to personâ€™s feet in standing and walking condition. In some cases it also needs to have an X-ray, CT scan or MRI scan. Some studies show that woman experience foot problems four times more often than men. Itâ€™s also a fact that average woman walks 3 miles more per day than the average male. So ladies there are chances that you have flat feet and you never noticed. Itâ€™s recommended to see a podiatrist if any of the following occur:
- You experience any kind of pain in your ankle, lower limbs and or in your feet
- You have recently observed that you have developed a fallen arch in your feet
- You feel some rigidness on your feet
- You find your well fitted shoes not supportive enough now
- You feel that your feet becomes heavy and unwieldy
You also can try a very easy and homely diagnosis called â€œwet footprint â€œto know if you have flat feet or not. Perform this test at your home by wetting your feet and standing on a smooth and leveled surface like thin cardboard. Then look the marks made by water and your foot, usually more the sole marks on surface signify flatter the foot. But itâ€™s recommended to consult a podiatrist than believing on any other way.
What problem can you face by having flat feet:
Flat feet can cause many problems like heel pain, ankle pain, bunions, hammer toes and tendonitis etc. Sometimes it can have long lasting effect on knee cap also which is very important for all movement of foot. Although flat feet can affect any person but woman are more prone to flat feet due to their body structure difference than men. In pregnancy woman gain weight drastically, which also can lead to flat feet. After delivering baby arch of foot maintains itself to previous position but sometimes it has lasting effects, so pregnant woman should be more careful of their feet than normal one. Let us look at the details of problems associated with flat feet:
- Heel pain: This is the most common problem caused due to flat feet. As the arch of foot flatten out tissues of the bottom of the heel stretches and strains with every steps and causes pain in the heel area of foot. Ladies this can make your heel shoes uncomfortable to wear.
- Bunions: When an unusual foot shape puts stress on your toes then you may have bunions. This is a condition where your big toes lean towards your second toe. Fallen arch of the foot are the main cause to this condition. Bunions can give you pain, soreness, redness and inflammation in your foot.
- Ankle pain: Although pain in the ankle may have many causes but flat feet is a major cause to occur this. It can make your movement difficult due to severe pain if not treated early.
Person with arthritis, diabetes and pregnant woman may develop flat feet very often. Fallen arch also occur with weight gain and aging. There are different treatments available for flat feet. It totally depends on severity of pain and length of time of suffering. Treatment also varies from person to person. Commonly fallen arch treated with changing shoes in combination with some supports and inserts. Custom Orthotics devices can be very helpful in treating flat feet. But never try them by yourself without prescription of a podiatrist. There also exist some stretching exercises which help in curing this arch problem. Sometimes in rare cases surgical treatment is required.
Feet are really important part of our body and we need really healthy feet to walk, run, exercise etc. So conditions like fallen arch of foot cannot be ignored if you want to be absolute fit and healthy.