Flat Feet

What are flat feet?

Flat feet, also known as pes planus, is a condition in which the arch of the foot collapses and comes into complete or nearly complete contact with the ground. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including genetics, obesity, and certain medical conditions. Flat feet are usually not a problem and do not cause any pain or discomfort, but in some cases, they can lead to foot, ankle, or lower leg pain and discomfort.


How do flat feet develop?

Flat feet can develop for a variety of reasons. Some people are born with flat feet, while others may develop the condition as a result of certain medical conditions or lifestyle factors.

Here are some common causes of flat feet:

  • Genetics: Flat feet can be inherited, meaning that they can run in families. If one or both of your parents have flat feet, you may be more likely to develop the condition as well.
  • Obesity: Carrying excess weight puts extra pressure on the feet, which can cause the arch to collapse and lead to flat feet.
  • Aging: The arch of the foot may naturally begin to flatten with age, leading to the development of flat feet.
  • Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and neurological disorders, can cause flat feet.
  • Pregnancy: The weight gain and hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy can cause the arch of the foot to collapse, leading to flat feet.
  • Certain occupations: Jobs that involve standing for long periods of time or carrying heavy loads can put extra strain on the feet and contribute to the development of flat feet.

It is important to consult with a healthcare provider if you are concerned about the development of flat feet or are experiencing pain or discomfort. They can assess your condition and recommend appropriate treatment options.

Types of flat feet

There are several types of flat feet, including:

  • Congenital flat feet: This type of flat foot is present at birth and is caused by an underdeveloped arch. It is often inherited and may be accompanied by other foot abnormalities.
  • Acquired flat feet: This type of flat feet develops after birth and can be caused by a variety of factors, including obesity, aging, and certain medical conditions.
  • Flexible flat feet: This type of flat feet occurs when the arch collapses when standing but returns to its normal position when not standing. This is the most common type of flat feet and is usually not a problem.
  • Rigid flat feet: This type of flat feet occurs when the arch does not return to its normal position when not standing. This can be a more serious condition and may cause pain or discomfort.
  • Fallen arches: This term is often used interchangeably with flat feet, but it specifically refers to a condition in which the arch collapses and remains collapsed even when not standing.

Symptoms of flat feet

Flat feet can sometimes cause no symptoms at all and may not require treatment. However, in some cases, flat feet can cause pain or discomfort in the feet, ankles, or lower legs. Here are some common symptoms of flat feet:

  • Pain in the heels, arches, or ankles
  • Swelling in the feet or ankles
  • Pain when standing or walking for long periods of time
  • Wear and tear on the soles of shoes more quickly than usual
  • Difficulty standing on tiptoes

How are flat feet diagnosed?

Flat feet can often be diagnosed through a physical examination of the feet by a healthcare provider. During the examination, the provider will look at the shape and position of the feet, as well as any swelling or other abnormalities. They may also ask about your medical history and any symptoms you are experiencing.

In some cases, additional testing may be necessary to confirm the diagnosis or to determine the underlying cause of the flat feet. This may include:

  • X-rays: These can help to visualize the bones and joints in the feet and can help to identify any abnormalities or deformities.
  • MRI: This imaging test can provide detailed images of the bones, muscles, and other soft tissues in the feet.
  • CT scan: This test uses x-rays and a computer to create detailed images of the feet.
  • Gait analysis: This involves watching how you walk and analyzing your feet as you do so. It can help to identify any problems with your gait or foot function.

How to choose shoes for flat feet

If you have flat feet, it is important to wear shoes that provide good support and cushioning to help alleviate any pain or discomfort. Here are some tips for choosing shoes if you have flat feet:

  • Look for shoes with good arch support: Shoes with built-in arch support or a removable insole can help support the arch of the foot and alleviate pain.
  • Choose shoes with a wide toe box: Shoes with a wide toe box can help alleviate pressure on the toes and provide more room for the foot to move.
  • Opt for shoes with a low heel: Shoes with a low heel can help to reduce strain on the feet and ankles.
  • Consider shoes with a rocker sole: Shoes with a rocker sole can help alleviate pressure on the heels and promote a more natural gait.
  • Avoid shoes with a pointed toe: Shoes with a pointed toe can put extra pressure on the toes and should be avoided if you have flat feet.

How to treat flat feet?

There are various treatments that will be applicable for Flat Feet. However, everyone is different. Therefore we will work with you to develop the most suitable treatment plan for you, to help you get out of pain.

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