What are Flat Feet?
Flat Feet is a very common biomechanical phenomenon which usually occurs during standing or walking, when a person’s arch collapses upon weight bearing. The arch of the foot is held up by the tibialis posterior muscle in the lower leg and prevents it from overpronating. A tendon (Posterior Tibial Tendon) from this muscle runs behind the inside bone on the ankle, across the instep and attaches to the bottom of the foot. When this tendon becomes stretched and inflamed, it does not function properly and can lead to flat feet.
Flat Feet Symptoms
- Pain along the inside of the foot and ankle, where the tendon lies. This may or may not be associated with swelling in the area.
- Pain that worsens with physical activity. High-intensity or high-impact activities such as running can exacerbate pain.
- Pain on the outside of the ankle. When the foot collapses, the heel bone may shift to a new position outward.
- Knee and hip pain due to the misalignment of the body when fat feet overpronate.
- Slow healing wounds, cuts and sores
- The most common symptom is a sharp, burning pain in the arch and heel area. Other symptoms include swollen ankles, and difficulty standing on your tiptoes, jumping high or running fast. Some people also experience pain in the calf, knee or lower back.
- Bunion formation. As your foot rotates inwards, pressure is place on the outside of the big toe.
Causes of Flat Feet
- Foot deformities or a foot with overly flexible muscles.
- Trauma or injury. Fractures, sprains or direct injuries to the Posterior Tibial Tendon.
- Your Age.The older one is, the higher the risk of developing flat feet. Women are also more prone to developing flat feet, especially during pregnancy.
- Being overweight. Excess body weight stretches and strains the tibialis posterior tendon causing feet to flatten.
- may cause tendon inflammation and degeneration causing it to tear.
- Inappropriate footwear that lacks arch support.
Prevention of Flat Feet
- Recognize the symptoms early on to improve your chances of preventing further problems from developing.Wearing shoes, specifically flat feet footwear is recommended. Shoes designed with orthotic insoles support the arch, align the foot and body and help prevent flat feet pronation. An aligned body experiences less foot pain, discomfort and injuries. In addition, ergonomic soles with a mild rocker bottom work well to propel the foot forward and facilitate foot motion.
- If your shoes do not have a built in orthotic, wearing orthotic insoles can prevent flat feet. Orthotics for flat feet will support the arch in the same way shoes designed with built-in orthotics do. Wearing orthotics together with shoes for flat feet can help reduce strain on the posterior tibial tendon and alleviate pain and inflammation.
- Perform exercises to strengthen the arches and prevent flat feet.
- Wrap a towel around the sole of your foot. Extend & hold your leg in the extended position for 30 seconds.
- Stand barefoot on a hard surface. Flex your feet as much as possible to work the arch muscle. Make sure your feet don’t roll inwards and toes don’t press down.
- Massage your feet. Massages are helpful because they help reduce muscle spasms and inflammation, which promotes healing in muscle and tendon strains. One effective massage method is to take a tennis ball, place it under the arch of your bare foot, and then roll it around. This is a good way to stretch your foot muscles and promote blood flow.
- Avoid high impact activities that will worsen the pain such as running and jumping.
- Rest. If you experience intense pain, take a break and let your feet heal.
The best shoes for flat feet should include the following features:
- Premium orthotic insoles that provide anatomical arch support to help align the foot and reduce over-pronation.A firm heel counter that cradles the heel, supports the foot and reduces over-pronation.Shoes with soles that provide firm support and don’t collapse under the arch of the foot.
- An extra-depth design that provides a relaxed fit and allows for greater toe motion as well as accommodates custom orthotics.
- Removable insoles that can be replaced with custom orthotics.