Updated: Mar 2
What is flat feet?
Flat feet, podiatry, podiatrist, heel pain, arch pain
Flat feet or excessive pronation, is a condition in which feet are "rolling in wards" when a person stands. This gives the appearance that there is a loss of the arch of the foot. When you stand, the pads of the feet press into the ground. It is a common condition in infants and toddlers as all babies are born with flat feet. The arch later develops in childhood as the ligaments and tendons in the foot and leg tighten, however, two out of ten children still have flat feet as adults. If your feet do not form arches as you grow, you tend to overpronate your feet in your adult life. Overpronation can cause increased stress on the ligaments and muscles of the feet, leading to discomfort and painful, serious, long term pathologies in your ankles, knees, hips and back.
What causes flat feet?
The cause and treatment of flat feet differ based on a person's age. Because of their tendency to overpronate, flat feet are less able to absorb shock, placing persistent stress on the feet, ankles, and knees. Overpronation causes the excessive rotation of the tibia (shin bone), increasing the risk of shin splints. Hypertension and diabetes can also contribute by affecting the blood flow to the muscles and connective tissues of the foot.
Stretched or torn tendons
Damage or inflammation of the posterior tibial tendon (PTT), which connects from your lower leg, along your ankle, to the middle of the arch
Broken or dislocated bones
Some health conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis
As flat feet are unable to effectively absorb shock, the fascia that runs along the bottom of your foot can become inflamed. This can cause lower back pain, knee pain, foot deformities including bunions, hammer toe and Planter Fasciitis.
How are flat feet treated?
A person with flat feet or overpronation should choose supportive shoes, especially for activities that involve repeated foot strikes, such as running or walking. Choose shoes that offer extra support and stability to minimize the impact of each step.
Exercises focus on building intrinsic strength in the muscles of the foot and ankle that support the arch; along with stretches to keep the foot flexible and provide relief from any pain. Ideally, it would be beneficial to fit them into your daily routine.
Treatment can include the prescription of orthotics which are special inserts for your shoes, sometimes known as arch supports, that can help to manage pain or injury associated with flat feet. Orthotics can assist in correctly positioning the bones in your ankles and feet. They can also alleviate the stress and tension in the knees and lower back, while strengthening the muscles, tendons, and ligaments. All while maintaining proper balance and alignment
Flat feet can be hereditary however, you can prevent the condition from worsening and causing excessive pain by taking precautions. If your condition doesn't improve or worsens, see your Podiatrist.
Please feel free to BOOK ONLINE to see one of our experienced Podiatrists or Call (08) 8562 1700 to schedule an appointment and discuss your options. Together we will find the right solution to alleviate your pain.