Flat feet is a condition where the longitudinal arch or instep of the foot collapses and comes in contact with the ground. In infants and toddlers, the longitudinal arch is not developed and flat feet are normal. In some individuals, the longitudinal arch never develops.

Most flat feet do not cause pain or other problems. Flat feet may be associated with pronation, a leaning inward of the ankle bones toward the center line.

While flatfeet usually won’t cause any problems, if the condition causes your ankles to turn inward, you may have problems in your feet, ankles and knees. Simple corrective devices are available that can help you prevent some of the complications of flatfeet.

Causes and Symptoms

Painful flat feet in children may be caused by a condition called tarsal coalition. Tarsal coalition is a condition where two or more of the bones in the foot fuse together, limiting motion and often leading to a flat foot.

Flat feet can also be caused by fallen arches. Years of wear and tear can weaken the tendon that is responsible for shaping the arch. Fallen arches can also be caused by injury such as inflammation of the tendons in the foot.

With flatfeet, you may experience the following signs and symptoms:

  • A flat look to one or both of your feet
  • Uneven shoe wear and collapse of your shoe toward the inside of your flat foot
  • Lower leg pain
  • Pain on the inside of your ankle
  • Swelling along the inside of your ankle
  • Foot pain

Traditional Treatment

Flat feet insoles have been used for years to help people with flat feet. Traditionally when we think of insoles or orthotics we think of a hard plastic insert that is placed in the shoe. It cups the heel and supports the arch but because it is not flexible it does not extend the full length of the foot. This tends to make this type of orthotic uncomfortable, and ineffective for many people.

Purchase high quality insoles/ orthotics to take pressure and pain away from the arch and wear wide fitting shoes.

Most flat feet cause no trouble and do not need treatment. You may consider consulting your doctor if:

  • your feet cause you a lot of pain that is not helped by wearing well-fitted shoes
  • your shoes wear out very quickly
  • your foot or feet seem to be getting flatter
  • your feet seem very stiff
  • you cannot feel your feet normally, or they seem weak

What can be done about flat feet?

In most cases, no treatment is needed as the flat feet cause no trouble. Most people whose flat feet ache feel better in well-fitted shoes: sometimes an extra-broad fitting helps. If you have troublesome mobile over-pronated feet, an insole, which prevents your feet rolling over so much, can help a lot. This would normally be provided by a chiropodist.

Children who have an abnormal foot because it has not developed properly may need an operation to straighten the foot or to separate fused bones. These are rare causes of flat foot in children: most children have mobile flat feet which need no treatment, or occasionally an insole because of pain or shoe wear.

People with flat feet due to a disorder of the nervous system may need special insoles, shoes or braces to support their feet or legs. A number of these people will need an operation to straighten their feet.

A flat foot due to a ruptured tendon or arthritis may be treated with pain-killers and an insole in the first instance. Some of these people will need an operation to straighten their foot.

Home remedies

Depending on the diagnosis and on the severity of your foot or lower leg symptoms, your doctor may advise you to limit your weight-bearing activities while wearing walking boots or orthotics. This gives time for the swelling and pain in your feet to subside and allows your feet to regain their full range of motion.

Once your symptoms have subsided, you may find that you can return to normal activities, including exercise. However, non-weight-bearing exercise, such as cycling and swimming, may still be best, especially when you first get back to activity. In addition, your doctor may advise continued use of orthotics while walking.

Will my child need special shoes or inserts?

Probably not. Your child’s foot development will be the same whether arch supports are worn or not. High-top or special orthopedic shoes, “cookies” or wedges are only useful to keep the shoe on your child’s foot. If your child has foot pain, your doctor may recommend a heel cup or a shoe insert.

Will some activities make flat feet worse?

No. You don’t need to limit your child’s activities. If flat feet become painful from overuse, your doctor may recommend rest. Wearing a certain style of shoe, walking barefoot, running, doing foot exercises or jumping will not make flat feet worse or better.

Sources: Dr Foot, Mama Health

No related content found.