The majority of people have a gap under the arch of their foot when they are standing. 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 discomfort such as foot pain (which is often treatable with over-the-counter pain medication), particularly in the heel or arch area.
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.
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.
Since technology is nearly touching every aspect of our lives, you can now use some interesting apps for your feet, as the ones below: