What are flat feet?
Flatfoot or pes planus is a condition in which the longitudinal arch of the foot, which extends along the sole of the foot, is not yet developed normally and sags or flattens. One or both feet can be affected. This is in contrast to a normal arch where there happens to be a gap or an arch between the inner part of the foot and the ground.
What causes flat feet?
Flatfoot can be a congenital disease or it can be caused by an injury or condition such as rheumatoid arthritis, stroke, or diabetes.
Who is Affected by Flat Feet?
Both children and adults can have flat feet. Most children have flat feet until 3 and 5 years of age and their longitudinal curvature continues to develop normally and up to the age of about 10.
What are the Symptoms?
Having flat feet doesn’t necessarily mean you will have problems. Flat feet require treatment only if it causes discomfort, contributes to an underlying disorder or causes pain anywhere else in the body, such as your ankle, knee, hip or back. People who have flat feet rarely experience symptoms or problems. Some people may experience pain because:
- Changes in the work environment.
- Minor injury.
- Sudden weight gain.
- Excessive standing, walking, jumping, or running.
- Shoes that don’t fit properly.
- Children sometimes experience discomfort in the legs and flat feet which is associated with flat feet.
How to Take Care of Flat Feet?
On numerous occasions, people are seen living with a very low arch or no arch at all without experiencing any pain or difficulties. However, it can sometimes trigger problems in your ankles and knees due to it altering the alignment of your lower leg biomechanics. If you aren’t experiencing pain, no treatment is usually required for flatfeet. One of our friendly podiatrists can educate you on your feet and whether your flat feet are contributing to the pains to your feet or lower leg or altering your biomechanics.
Care for adults usually consists of wearing comfortable, spacious shoes with good arch support. Should footwear not be sufficient support then orthotics are generally recommended. Your podiatrist will also recommend relevant stretching and strengthening exercises to help your flat feet. Hands-on podiatry work such as mobilization, dry needling, and myofascial therapy are also very helpful adjunctive therapies.
Children rarely need to be treated with corrective shoes or insoles, as arches usually develop normally by the age of 5-10 years of age.