Flat feet are simply feet with low arches – a condition created by an abnormal alignment of bones, an excessive elasticity of the ligaments or muscle imbalance, or a combination all of three factors. Flat feet are usually not completely flat, although if the arches are sufficiently weak, they may eventually fall entirely.
Although flat feet tend to be inherited, arches can also fall as a result of obesity, prolonged foot strain from jobs that involve hours of standing or walking and wearing narrow-toed, high-heeled shoes. As a result, more women than men have flat feet.
Toddlers and little ones have flat feet because their feet aren’t fully developed. As their posterior tibial tendon develops, this will remedy itself during adolescence. If the tendon doesn’t grow right, you might be stuck with flat feet.
Is it wrong to have low arches?
It depends on just how low the arches are ( or on how much you want to serve in the military, as flat feet have been used as grounds for denying enlistment). Arches are evaluated based on their pronation- that is the way they lower as you walk. If your arch falls flat on the ground, you have excessive pronation, and that’s not good.
When arches pronate excessively, the muscles throughout the feet, legs, and back try to compensate by tensing and straining. Often this results in feelings of pain, such as shin splints (pain in the muscles on the lower leg), and fatigue. Because week arches take the brunt of the body’s weight during walking, people with flat feet often complain of “tired feet.”
There are numerous other consequences, as well. People with fallen arches are more likely to develop arthritis; bone spurs on the heel, bunions, bursitis, calluses on the ball of the foot and Morton’s neuroma. Also, people who overpronate badly tend to walk and run with their toes pointed outward for stability, in a duck-like gait.
Can flat feet be treated?
Yes, but they can’t be cured. Flat feet will always be flat. However, there are a lot of things you can do to help the condition, from relieving pain with moist, warm towels and gentle message to using orthotics for shoes that support the arch.
Flat feet left untreated not only causes pain but can lead to other more serious foot and lower body joint problems.
Your feet work tirelessly every day to support your body’s weight, so if there’s an imbalance, your entire body may suffer. Flat feet means the arch of your foot is fully collapsed or rolls inward. The arch is the gap on the inner side of the foot where the bottom of the foot is raised off the ground.
If you have children and you’re worried they may have fallen arches remember that the arch in a small child’s foot develops between the ages of 3 and 10.
If your feet are out of alignment, this can place additional stress on your body’s skeletal structure. People with flat feet shift pressure while walking to other parts of the foot, which over time can cause aching and sometimes intense pain. If left untreated, flat feet can lead to other more serious lower body joint problems affecting the knee, hip, and lower back.
What are the causes of flat feet?
Most people’s arches develop during childhood, but in some cases, a person may never develop arches. This is a normal variation in foot type and may or may not have problems without arches. It might also run in the family.
In other people, the arches can fall over time. This might be due to years of wear and tear and weakened ligaments in the heel. The posterior tibial tendon is the main support structure for the arch. If you overdo it, this tendon can cause inflammation and even tearing of the tendon.
You may lose support in your arch due to…
- Weakened muscles due to aging or heavy strain placed on the feet
- Standing or walking for extended periods in high heels.
- Wearing shoes that don’t provide proper arch support.
- Traumatic injury to your foot or ankle.
- Rheumatoid arthritis.
Relief and Prevention
In most people, flat feet ache can be relieved through wearing well-fitted shoes that offer excellent arch support.
Considering using flat feet inserts or insoles to put in your shoes that will support the arch and stabilize the heel.
In extreme cases, surgery may be required to stabilize the bones and improve foot support and function. A podiatrist or orthopedic doctor will decide if surgery is necessary.
Facts about feet courtesy of austinpodiatrist.us
Fun Foot Facts
We’ve probably all heard foot facts like 1/4 of all the bones in the human body are down in your feet…no? – ok well maybe you haven’t, but here are some more interesting facts that you didn’t know about your feet!
- During a lifetime, the average human will walk more than 250,000 miles. That’s like traveling from the Earth to the moon!
- Toenails and fingernails grow fastest in hot weather, in pregnancy and during the teenage years.
- Runners impact the ground with a force of two and a half times their body weight.
- The ancient Romans are said to be the first to create unique left and right shoes; previous to that, all shoes could be worn on either foot.
- The average adult foot gets two sizes longer when you stand up.
- A 2½-inch high heel can increase the load on the forefoot by 75%.
- Shoe sizes were devised in England by King Edward II who declared in 1324 that the diameter of one barleycorn – a third of an inch -would represent one full shoe size. Today, that’s still true.
- Foot problems happen with women four times more than for men.
- For two out of every ten people, their second toe is the longest.
- The average foot expands about five percent in volume as the day progresses.
- Each foot creates more than a cup of sweat per day, even more while you’re exercising. At least a pint!
- The most common foot injury is plantar fasciitis, which is a pain under and in the front of a heel.