Flat feet or Pes Planus medically means no arches or very low arches in the feet.
Normally, there is a gap beneath the inner part of the foot when a person stands, as the arch rises off the ground slightly.
The arches provide a spring to the step and help to distribute body weight across the feet and legs. When a person with flat feet stands, then there arches touch the ground. Their feet may roll to the inner side when they are standing and walking. This is known as over pronation, and it may also cause the feet to point outward.
People are more likely to develop flat feet if they have obesity or diabetes. Flat feet are also more common during pregnancy. Flat feet can develop with age too.
· Pain – Most common symptom in people with flat feet is pain, mostly in the feet & heel area.This can be because of strained muscles & ligaments
.Other parts of the body that can be affected are knee, calf, hip, lower back & lower legs.· Flat feet can also cause an uneven distribution of body weight. This may result in shoes wearing down unevenly or more quickly than usual, especially on one side, which can lead to further injuries.
Causes:There can be various causes for flat feet.
· Genetics- Genetic factor is the most common cause as flat feet can pass from parents to kids.
· Foot or ankle injury
· Weak arches
· Rheumatoid arthritis
· Neurological disorders, like,Cerebral Palsy, Spina Bifida, or Muscular dystrophy
Flat feet in children:
Children & infants may also appear to have flat feet. The arches should develop normally with time. However, if a child has flat feet as a result of incorrect bone development, a doctor will often need to treat the underlying cause.
Clinical examination and a detailed history allow diagnosis. X-rays help to evaluate the extent of the deformity and any arthritis within the joint.
A detailed gait analysis can help to diagnose the contributing factors to the flat foot.
How to reduce pain:
· By wearing correct size footwear.
· Exercises to keep muscles strong & flexible.
· Avoid high heels.
· See a Podiatrist.
Why A Podiatrist?
· To advice appropriate shoes.
· To advice exercises.
· Consider prescribing orthotics.
· Consider prescribing a custom made ankle foot Orthotics.
· Arch Exercises: Resistive 4 movements of ankle joint using a Thera band.
· Toe Curls: Place a small size towel under one foot & try to grip it with the toes. Should be done slowly.
· Ball Rolling (Plantar Fascia Muscles Release): Take a firm ball, can be a Cosco or a Golf ball. Place it under the foot & roll it slowly covering whole length of the foot.
· Heel Raise: Place the ball of the foot on staircase or a flat surface & with support try to raise the heels without moving the ball of the foot area.
· Calf Stretch: Sit on a chair with your back supported. Straighten one leg & pull the ankle.
· Plantar Fascia Stretch: Stand in front of a wall. Extend your toes against the wall and try to bring your knee towards the wall until you feel a gentle stretch under the foot.