The flat feet mean that when they present an arch plantar medial lower than the norm or completely absent. Those suffering from this anatomical alteration have feet whose central internal part rests completely, or almost, on the ground.
1. Flat feet can be a congenital or acquired condition: When present, the most common symptoms are foot pain, pain in the ankles, pain in the knees, and pronation.
2. Having flat feet can cause many serious problems: A physical examination and medical history are often sufficient for a correct diagnosis.
3. Some treatment depends on the severity of the symptoms: For less severe cases, conservative therapy may suffice. But for more severe cases, surgery is crucial.
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Can You Fix Flat Feet?
If they are asymptomatic, flat feet do not require any special treatment. If they cause pain, a doctor may opt for non-surgical therapy or surgical therapy based on the severity of the symptoms.
Non-Surgical or Conservative Therapy
Regarding non-surgical (or conservative) therapy, the treatments comprise:
1. Use of podiatry foot orthoses or insoles: The podiatry foot orthoses are available on the patient’s foot.
2. Exercises of stretching or lengthening muscle for all the muscles of the leg that refer to the Achilles tendon.
3. Use of orthopedic shoes for flat feet.
4. Physiotherapy exercises for the improvement of walking technique and running technique: Many doctors advise the patients to practice many sports including, running, and walking.
5. A diet plan for weight reduction: Obviously, this treatment is reserved for overweight patients.
6. The administration of pain medication to reduce the painful sensation.
7. A rest period from all those activities that favor the onset of pain: Alternatively, doctors recommend cycling or swimming.
We remind you that conservative therapy is not a cure for flat feet, but a remedy to relieve symptoms.
Doctors consider surgery for flat feet when conservative therapy has proved ineffective (or has not provided the desired results) and the symptoms are intense. The details of the flatfoot operation vary according to the anatomical alterations responsible for the anomaly.
Based on this, it is possible to say that each patient represents a separate case, treated differently from anyone else. As with any surgical operation, even with flatfoot surgery, the patient will undergo a series of specific preoperative examinations.
What Are Flat Feet?
As you know, the feet of the human being has a raised area that comes off the support with the ground on the inner edge. This raised area is the medial arch or internal longitudinal vault. The height of the medial arch varies from person to person.
The flat feet, also known as the terminology in the singular of flat feet, are an anatomical malformation. The feet of an individual will present a medial arch lower than normal or completely absent.
In people with normal feet, the inner central part of the feet does not rest on the ground. The presence of an arch of the right height guarantees a correct distribution of the weight of the body on the foot and better effectiveness in walking. All this involves a lower risk of musculoskeletal damage to the lower limbs and feet.
In people with flat feet, the inner central part of the feet rests completely on the ground. It alters the distribution of weight on the feet and predisposes the latter to painful and degenerative phenomena of the joints, muscles, bones, and ligaments. Flat feet are a bilateral malformation. However, in some circumstances, they may affect only one foot.
Reasons for Flat Feet
Flat feet can be a congenital condition, transmitted from one parent as a somatic feature. It is an adaptive condition that is after certain favoring factors. Factors favoring adaptive flat feet include:
- Trauma to the foot or ankle
- Neurological or neuromuscular disorders, such as spina bifida, cerebral palsy, or muscular dystrophy
- Disorders of the connective tissue, such as the Ehlers-Danlos syndrome or syndrome from articular hypermobility
- An error in the formation of the bones of the foot during uterine development
- Obesity and overweight
- L’rheumatoid arthritis
- Wrong postural habits
- Using inappropriate footwear
- Long periods of inactivity
- A state of pregnancy. Here, the effects are temporary.
Symptoms and Complications
Flat feet do not link with any fixed symptoms. In those cases where the absence of the plantar arch is symptomatic, the most common complaints comprise the pain in the feet, pain in the ankles, pain in the lower legs, pain in the knees, hip pain, lower back pain, overpronation, swelling in the inner part of the ankles, and musculoskeletal problems in the feet.
Meaning of Hyper-Pronation
The term pronation represents the rotation that the foot makes inward immediately after landing on the ground. This moment is an initial contact and is part of the stance phase of the step cycle. Foot support experts speak of overpronation. When the foot rotates excessively inward or rotates when it should not during the stance phase.
Excessive pronation shifts the weight of the body to the inner side of the foot rather than the entire sole. During walking and especially running, a subject with overpronation focuses their body weight only on the inner edge of the feet.
It destabilizes the foot that will try to regain stability with a movement opposite to that imposed by the inward rotation. This attempt affects the biomechanical efficiency of the leg, especially the knee and hip.
When to See the Doctor?
The condition known as flat feet makes it necessary to see a doctor when:
- The feet or any other part of the lower limb are painful despite orthotics properly inserted in the shoes.
- The shoes wear out quickly on the inner edge of the foot because of excessive overpronation.
- The feet completely lack the arch. In such circumstances, the whole plant rests on the ground.
- The feet feel weak, stiff, and numb.
It is also essential to consult a podiatrist, a specialist in foot diseases, and an orthopedist specialized in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of pathologies of the complex system of muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, and nerves.
A physical examination and anamnesis are often sufficient for a diagnosis of flat feet. Doctors consider further diagnostic tests when the patient complains of severe symptoms. Additional diagnostic tests include X-rays, CT scans, ultrasound, and a nuclear magnetic resonance (MRI).
Examination and History
The physical examination is the set of diagnostic maneuvers, carried out by the doctor, to verify the presence or absence of the patient. If flat feet are suspected, doctors look at the patient’s feet from the front, back, and while walking.
L’histoire is the collection and critical study of the symptoms and the medical interest facts, reported by the patient or family members. The family members are involved, especially when the patient is too young.
The X-rays will produce images of the footplate x-ray of bones and joints present in the feet. They are useful in identifying an arthritis condition. Remember that rheumatoid arthritis is a possible contributing factor to flat feet. Using X-rays involves exposing the patient to a small amount of ionizing radiation that is harmful to human health. In all other respects, X-rays are a painless test.
A CT scan of the feet allows the feet to be got from different angles compared to X-rays. The greater presence of details has its price. Exposure to ionizing radiation is higher than expected on X-ray occasions. Performing a CT scan is completely painless.
An ultrasound of the feet allows the doctor to see the health of the soft tissues inside the feet. Besides being painless, it is also a completely non-invasive examination. The ultrasounds that produce images on a monitor are not harmful to humans at all.
Nuclear Magnetic Resonance
Thanks to the creation of magnetic fields, a nuclear magnetic resonance of the feet provides detailed images of the soft tissues and hard tissues of the feet. Besides being painless, it is also a completely non-invasive test. The magnetic fields used to create the images are not at all harmful to human health.
Shoes for Flat Feet
The A4 shoes are suitable for flat feet and overpronators who do not have good foot control while running. Equipped with supports that reduce overpronation, an exaggerated load on the inside of the foot, they have a high level of cushioning.
If you are looking for the best shoes for flat feet or those with low arches, here are some features that good flat foot running shoes should have. There are three fundamental characteristics that a shoe designed for flat feet should offer:
- Support If you see additional support written in the shoe specifications, it may be an excellent choice. Support should be at the level of the midsole and heel. Support is vital since the arch of a flat foot does not cushion shocks adequately.
- Stability: The shoe should help stabilize the foot and block over pronation by slowing the inward movement of the foot.
- Motion control: It is a vital feature for severe overpronators, as it limits unnecessary movement.
According to the current classification system, these characteristics are found in the A4 running shoes. These shoes feature layers of polyurethane material that add support and stability in the arch area, correcting overpronation and excessive inward rotation of the foot.
Flat-footed runners often need stable A4 running shoes with motion control that provide adequate support to the sole while preventing excessive inward rotation. In this way, you can prevent potential injuries and improve your running style.
Our advice is to be examined by a podiatrist that will help you avoid tendon, muscle, and joint inflammation. Once you have determined your overpronation, the most suitable shoes must be stable and able to control the movement of your foot during the support phase.
How to determine flat feet?
Flat feet are a condition in which the arch of the foot collapses and the contact surface increases. The arch of the foot helps absorb the shock of the impact of the foot on the ground. In flat-footed runners, the entire bottom of the foot on the ground.
Flat feet with low arches link with overpronation. It is a condition in which the foot rotates excessively inward. It is possible to tell if you are an overpronator simply by looking at the sole of your shoe. If it is more worn on the inside, you are probably overpronating.
Do Children Have Flat Feet?
In young children and up to a certain age of childhood, flat feet are a constant for at least two reasons:
- The arch of the foot has yet to develop.
- In the feet, there is a quantity of adipose tissue that makes the internal longitudinal vault hardly visible.
During the normal growth path, the child’s feet become slimmer and stress the arch of the foot more.
How to Prevent from Flat Feet?
Keeping body weight under control, being constant in physical activity, wearing comfortable and well-made footwear, and correcting any incorrect postural behavior are the main preventive measures against flat feet.