How to fix flat feet?
When you inspect the sole of the feet amongst adults, you might see a marginal ascending curve towards the middle of the sole, which is also named as an arch. This is formed by the stiff bands connecting the heel and foot bones which are also known as tendons. A number of tendons work collectively to form the foot arch.
However, in some cases, you shall observe that the inside arches of the feet are flattened. This in effect means implies that the entire foot sole is contacting the ground while standing. This condition is known as flat feet with several other names such as pronation of feet or fallen arches or pes-planus or per-planovalgus. This condition can happen on one foot or both feet. Usually is found at an estimated 20 to 30% of the population suffers from flat feet.
It is usually a painless and natural phenomenon in cases during childhood where the arches simply do not develop. It is found that if a mother has flat feet, a child has a greater chance to have flat feet. At times, flat foot could be formed due to wear and tear with age else at times from injuries. If left untreated, over period of time this condition can worsen and create problems with knees and ankles as they have potential to modify the legs alignment. However, if person is not having any aches, treatment may be avoided.
Sport persons and medical professionals have found that a functional relationship does exist linking the foot arch structure and the biomechanics of the lower leg. The arch actually endows a flexible, springy bond between the hind foot and the forefoot. This bond ensures that maximum force while running dissipates before the force spreads to the long bones of the leg and thigh.
Military studies have shown that military recruits possessing flat foot do not have tendency of injuries or foot related problems at a later age. However, these are studies and cannot be used as evidence as a general rule.
The critical question is how to fix flat feet? First we shall have to diagnose whether the foot is indeed flat.
Flat foot is a common phenomenon. One can detect it if they observe any of the subsequent symptoms:
- Swelling within the feet insides
- Aches in heels and arches
- Pains in legs and back
- Feet get tired frequently
- Standing on toes is quite demanding
Further, if any on these symptoms occur, please do following additional checks:
- Simply raise your toes while standing
- Look at shoes insoles abnormal patterns
- Recollect wellness history for injuries / sickness linked to fallen arches
- Take MRI or X-Ray of the feet
- Take muscular strength of tendons and muscles
Exams and Tests
A layman can perform an independent, simple method at his home known as the wet footprint test. He will wet his feet and stand on a thin cardboard or smooth concrete. In case of flat foot, his entire wet foot print will be visible on the surface.
You may approach a doctor for detailed opinion. The doctor can diagnose flat feet by simple visual examining of the feet. The doctor might ask the subject to stand on toes. In case a visible arch is found, there is no need to worry and the flat foot condition does not exist. Additional tests or treatments are not required.
If the arch is not detected, additional tests might be performed such as foot X-ray, MRI scan to inspect the foot tendons and CT scan to inspect the look at the foot bones.
Read more: Best Insoles For Flat Feet
Maximum cases of flat feet are unpreventable. Subject may wear well supported shoes to reduce the flat foot extent.
So how to fix flat feet? We tell you how.
- Go barefoot, walking or jogging on the beach that gives the muscles a good workout
- Encourage children found to face this condition to go barefoot frequently. At times, kids exposed to wearing slippers or sandals from young age are found to be having this problem. Medical studies have found that bare footers have best arches as the tendons are very well-developed and tight. Kids must play bare-footed more often especially over different terrain.
- Slippers and sandals are still better than closed toes shoes. Closed toe shoes, at times were preventing the arch from getting formed.
- Further, flat footers must try to put a check on other health issues like obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes that may aggravate the condition.
- Adults are advices not to perform activities that excessively stress the feet, such as running on roads.
- Avoid high-impact sports such as basketball, hockey, soccer, and tennis.
- Physiotherapists may have to be called to advice stretching exercises
- There are a few Medi Stretching exercises to help flat footers.
- Medical professionals advice that flat-footers must rest and use ice to reduce swelling and alleviate pain.
- Doctors may also advice using shoe modification, casts, braces and orthotic devices.
- They might prescribe pain reliefmedications like non-steroidal anti-inflammatories.
- They might also Inject corticosteroids (medications to reduce inflammation)
In case the pain is grave or feet damage is excessive, your doctor may recommend surgery. Surgical procedures may comprise the following:
- Fusing ankle or foot bones together (arthrodesis)
- Removing scars or bony growths (excision)
- Grafting bone to the foot making the arch rise more naturally (lateral column lengthening)
- Modifying or cutting the shape of the bone (osteotomy)
- Cleaning the protective layer on the tendons (synovectomy)
- Inserting additional tendons from other parts of the body to the foot tendons assist the “pull” of the tendons and form an arch (tendon transfer)
Flat feet or fallen arch is a common phenomenon. One in every five persons globally suffers from it. It is not a very critical situation. It can be solved easily by detecting it early. However, if you are an adult and encounter symptoms indicated in this article, there is no need to worry. Take an appointment with your doctor who will guide you in the best possible manner.