What is Flat Foot (Pes Planus)?
People who have a flat foot (Pes Planus), or fallen arches, don’t have very much of a space (arch) on the inside of their foot. As a result ,the entire soles of your feet touch the floor when they stand up.You can test your own feet by stepping onto a coloured piece of paper with slightly wet feet. If the footprint looks like a full foot, then you have flat feet with little or no arches. Also take a look at the heels of your shoes for some further clues. Flat feet also wear out the inside of soles quicker, especially by the heel area.
Symptoms of Flat Foot
Many people with flat feet have no issues and feel no pain. However, some who have strained ligaments and muscles may need some attention. Because of the absence of arches, some people may over-pronate inwards causing the ligaments and muscles to be stressed excessively. This may result in pain in the heel, arch, ankle, Achilles tendon, lower leg, knee and hip.
Symptoms may vary and generally depend on the severity of the condition. Some have an uneven distribution of bodyweight and find that the heel of their shoes wear out more rapidly and more on one side than the other. People with flat feet may also experience stiffness in one or both feet. One or both feet may be flat on the ground (either no arch, or very slight arch).
If any of these symptoms arise, it might be time to see your doctor:
- The fallen arches (flat feet) have developed recently
- You experience pain in your feet, ankles or lower limbs
- Your unpleasant symptoms do not improve with supportive, well-fitted shoes
- Either or both feet are becoming flatter
- Your feet feel rigid (stiff)
- Your feet feel heavy and unwieldy
Causes of Flat Feet
There are many causes of flat feet. Sometimes it’s genetic and people are born with it while other times it develops over time or after an injury or pregnancy. Flat feet can also be caused by obesity, Tibialis posterior (ruptured tendon), Rheumatoid Arthritis, Tarsal Coalition, Diabetes and nervous system or muscle diseases – such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, or spina bifida.
Treatment of Flat Feet
Many people with flat feet can be helped with the use of custom orthotics or supportive footwear. Regardless of the type of flat feet you have, wearing shoes with good arch support is going to provide at least some benefit, and it might possible provide total relief of your foot, leg or back symptoms. Try to find a comfortable walking or athletic shoe with substantial arch support, a roomy toe box, firm heel counter and a flexible sole. The footwear should be torsionally stable and can’t be folded or twisted easily. Supporting your arches helps decrease tension in the posterior tibial and Achilles tendons.
By providing cushioning and some shock absorption, custom orthotics will also help reduce the likelihood of problems developing in other joints such as your ankles, knees, hips and lumbar spine
If the flat feet is caused by being overweight, losing the weight will positively impact the issue by taking the pressure off the bones, ligaments and tendons of your feet, as well as providing better blood flow to the area. Losing weight won’t reverse rigidly flat feet, but it will positively impact other types of flat feet to some extent