A person has flatfeet the arch on the inside of each of the foot is flattened, thus causing the whole sole of the foot to get in contact with the floor when the person stands up.
Flat feet, a very common and often a painless condition, normally occurs because the arches do not develop during a person’s childhood. Other cases involve flatfeet developing due to injury or wear-and-tear stresses.
Flat feet may at times contribute to conditions and problems associated with your knees and your ankles because flat feet can change the optimal alignment of a person’s legs. If a person does not feel any pain due to flat feet, then no treatment is necessary as it is a completely harmless condition common in many people.
Many people do not experience any signs and symptoms of flat feet; however, there are some people who may feel some foot pain, usually in the arch area or heel of the foot. Sometimes, swelling inside the ankle may occur as well.
If you or your child is experiencing any symptoms such as foot pain due to flat feet, make sure you consult your doctor about what treatment would suit best.
In infants and toddlers, a flat foot is a completely normal condition because the arches of their feet have not fully developed yet. Most people usually develop their arches during their childhood, however, in some people the arch may not develop at all. This is a normal variation amongst individuals and should not be a cause of alarm if it does not accompany any foot-related symptoms such as pain or swelling.
A person’s arches can also fall with time. Continued wear and tear for years may weaken the tendon of the foot that runs along the ankle in order to help support the arch.
Risk factors associated with flat feet may include:
- Traumatic injury to the ankle or foot
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Treatment is not necessary unless flat feet cause pain.
If you have flatfeet and you experience pain, your doctor may recommend the following treatment options:
- Arch supports or orthotic devices. You can use over-the-counter arch supports to help reduce pain due to flat feet. Your doctor may also recommend custom-made arch support which will be made according to the contours of our feet. It is important to note that even though arch supports may not cure flat feet, they may improve symptoms
- Stretching exercises. People with flatfeet may have a shortened Achilles tendon. Achilles tendon exercises may help improve symptoms of flat feet
- Appropriate footwear. Supportive footwear with structural support may feel better on your foot and cause less stress compared to shoes or sandals which offer minimal support to the foot
Surgery is not often performed to correct flat feet. However, your doctor may refer you to a surgeon if you have injuries that are associated with your flat feet such as a tendon rupture or tear, in order to repair these damages.
Minor foot pain due to flat feet may be alleviated with the following methods:
- Rest. Avoid aggravating activities and perform low-impact activities such as walking, swimming or biking. Avoid repetitive pounding of the foot through running and jumping sports activities.
- Arch supports. You may try over-the-counter arch supports to check if they improve symptoms. See your doctor if pain persists
- Medications. You can take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve pain and swelling
- Weight loss. If you are overweight or obese, losing weight may help reduce the amount of stress your weight puts on your feet.
Call i Physio Perth on (08) 9444 8729 for assessment!