What is a flat foot?
“Flat feet” is a condition in which the feet are “rolling in” when a person is standing, walking or running. This gives the appearance that there is a loss of the arch of the foot.
Some feet appear to be very flat and other feet can have an arch when standing but during walking or running the arch can partially collapse. This movement is called Pronation.
People with flat feet are prone to tired and aching feet because the ligaments of the foot are stretched and the muscles and tendons also fatigue because they have to work harder to raise the arch for propulsion.
What causes flat feet?
There are many causes of flat feet and abnormal pronation, the most common being:
- Hereditary bony or soft tissue conditions within the foot that disrupt normal walking patterns. This causes the foot to “unlock” allowing the arch to fall closer to the ground
- Abnormal muscle length and strength (tone of the muscles)
- Abnormal leg rotations
- Poor pelvic alignment causing leg length difference
- Spinal conditions (e.g. Scoliosis)
- Muscle spasticity (e.g. Cerebral Palsy)
The result of pronation can vary from patient to patient but it should be noted that this abnormal force on the body is a major contributor of a myriad of bony and soft tissue problems; often leading to pain!
Symptoms can present in the:
- Feet (e.g. bunions, hammer toes, ball of the foot)
- Heels (e.g. plantar fasciitis, heel spurs)
- Shins (e.g. shin splints)
- Thighs (e.g. Iliotibial band syndrome)
- Upper and lower back
How are flat feet treated?
We believe at the Kew Foot Clinic that it is of utmost importance that you treat flat feet.
If flat feet are not treated, most people at some stage in their life will suffer from foot pain or pain in their knees, hips and spine.
Our bodies like to be aligned. If we are out of alignment at the feet level, every joint above will be out of alignment. This causes a slow progressive development of joint damage leading to pain and requiring treatment for other parts of our bodies.
Unfortunately, it is not always possible to get a flat foot to return to having a nice arch. However, what is important is that a foot is encouraged to function with an arch. This is done through wearing orthotics. Orthotics are an arch support. While the arch support is worn it is putting the foot into an improved functioning position or a normal anatomical position. It also puts the rest of the body into an improved biomechanical alignment. This in turn takes the stress off the knees, hips and lower back.
People with flat feet are prone to tired and aching feet. If you suffer from this, call Kew Foot Clinic on 03 9853 6877 to make an appointment for the appropriate treatment.