The majority of people have a gap under the arch of their foot when they are standing. In the arch, the inner part of the foot is slightly raised off the ground. However, people with flat feet or fallen arches either have no arch, or it is very low to the ground. Most people have no symptoms associated with flat feet. But some people experience mild to severe discomforts such as foot pain (which is often treatable with over-the-counter pain medication), particularly in the heel or arch area.

Frequently, individuals with flat feet don’t need or seek medical care unless there is severe pain or if they often trip or fall, which hinders them from performing activities of daily living (ADL). Physicians with podiatry ultrasound training can help them determine proper diagnosis, especially when the inner structure of the foot is compromised due to the condition. 

An ultrasound is an accurate and efficient diagnostic imaging technique that can help the physician and the patient optimize the time in developing the proper treatment and management plans. The feet play a vital role in supporting body weight, adjusting to irregular surfaces, and leg control; thus, immediate medical care is necessary.

What Causes Flat Feet?

Flat feet can occur during childhood if the arches of the feet don’t develop properly, after an injury or even from the natural wear and tear of ageing.

It is also known as pes planus, the depression of the medial longitudinal and transverse arches. 

The arches of the feet are responsible for their adaptation to various terrains, absorb the forces imparted to the foot during stepping activities, and provide a weight-bearing surface and stable base of support. They turn the foot into a rigid lever for body propulsion. 

 The following are all possible causes of flat feet:

  • Obesity and the effects of pregnancy can both place excessive stress on the arches and tendons which can cause the arch to flatten.
  • Conditions affecting the nerves and muscles, such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy or spina bifida can result in flat feet
  • The bones in the feet not forming properly in the womb
  • Loose connective tissue in the body, such as in joint hypermobility syndrome or Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.

Living with Flat Feet

Most cases of flat feet are painless and do not require any treatment. When pain is present, medical assistance should be sought to determine the cause of the pain.

While some causes of flat feet can be treated without surgical intervention, surgery may be required to relieve pain in some cases pertaining to flat feet issues.

The following treatments can be considered:

Pain associated with flat feet in adults is often treated with over-the-counter pain medication or basic exercises. Wearing an arch-support (orthotic) that you put in your shoe or wearing special orthotic shoes can both relieve the pain associated with flat feet. If your flat feet are caused by a tarsal coalition, treatment usually starts with rest and a cast. Surgery may be required if the pain persists. In more acute cases, surgery may be required to clean or repair damaged tendons or fuse the joints in the foot into the correct position.

Always talk to your doctor if you experience pain, redness, swelling or other indications of problems in any area of your feet that persist for more than a couple of days. Flat feet can’t always be prevented, but by staying healthy and choosing good quality supportive shoes it is possible to avoid some problems developing.

You must consider consulting a physical therapist when you have flat feet. Physical therapy (PT) rehabilitation can re-educate your muscles, correct your posture, and teach you how to walk without the risk of tripping and falling. Modalities such as transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), ultrasound, or laser therapy can help in pain relief. PT rehab is highly encouraged in individuals who display improper and harmful compensation to support their bodies. 

Since technology is nearly touching every aspect of our lives, you can now use some interesting apps for your feet, like the ones below:

Feet IT

Right Shoes

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