Flatfeet

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A flatfoot is also known as pes planus that develops when the tendons, ligaments and small bones found on the underside of the feet cannot support the body and collapse. A flat foot is normal in infants and toddlers, but sometimes the tissue found under the feet becomes firm with age and forms a shock absorbing arch. Flat feet can cause foot and leg pain and back pain and there is reduced ability to walk, run and perform sporting activities. Flatfeet can cause problems of the ankles and knees because the condition changes the alignment of the legs and if there is no pain, it is not usually treated.

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Causes

  • An Achilles tendon that is tight from birth or congenital adds plenty of pressure to the front area of the foot which prevents a usual springy arch from developing.
  • Severe flatfeet can be caused by deformities of the bone.
  • An adult-acquired flatfeet can sometimes be due to obesity

Factors that increase the risk of developing flatfeet include injuries to the foot or ankle, being obese, aging of a person, suffering from diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.

Flatfeet
Take plenty of rest and avoid performing activities that can make the condition worse.

Treatment

  • Take plenty of rest and avoid performing activities that can make the condition worse. Stick with low-impact activities such as biking, walking or swimming but avoid running and jumping activities.
  • Wear supportive shoes regardless of the type of flat feet. Shoes with good arch relax the foot, leg or back. Wear a comfortable walking or athletic shoe with a roomy toe box, good arch support, a flexible sole and a firm heel counter.
  • Avoid wearing shoes with heels that are higher than 2 ¼ inches in order to prevent causing a short and tight Achilles tendons.
  • Wear orthotics which are semi-rigid inserts for the shoe that helps in supporting the arch of the foot and good biomechanics while walking, standing and running by functioning as cushion and shock absorber. It also helps lessen the development of the condition in other joints such as the ankles, hips, knees and the lumbar spine.
  • Try to lose some weight in order to prevent placing plenty of pressure on the ligaments, bones and tendons on the feet and also helps in the proper circulation of blood in the area. Eat lean meat, whole grains, poultry and fish, fresh fruits and vegetables and lots of water in order to help in reducing weight and avoid beverages such as soda pop.
  • Seek the help of a physiotherapist for specific exercises for the rehabilitation of the feet. A common exercise to help stretch a tight Achilles tendon is by placing both hands against a wall with one leg outstretched behind the body in a lunge-like position. Remain in that position for at least 30 seconds and repeat this procedure 5-10 times every day.

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