Flat feet is a common condition, also known as flatfoot. It means the arches on the inside of the feet flatten when pressure is put on them.
All babies have flat feet at birth. Arches typically form by age 6. However, about two out of 10 children don’t develop arches during childhood, and have flat feet as adults. Some adults have arches that collapse: after an injury or from a simple wear-and-tear stresses of age. Over time, the tendon that runs along the inside of the ankle and helps support the arch can get weakened or tear. This condition, fallen arches, is another term for flatfoot.
Are flat feet a problem?
Most people have no symptoms associated with flatfeet. But, some people with flatfeet experience foot pain, particularly in the heel or arch area. Pain may worsen with activity. Swelling may occur along the inside of the ankle. If flatfeet is causing you pain and limiting what you want to do, then an evaluation from a specialist may be needed.
What are the types of flat feet?
Flat feet can pose problems whether they persist after childhood or develop in adulthood. The types of flatfoot include:
• Flexible: Flexible flat feet are the most common. You can see the arches in the feet when you aren’t standing. The arches disappear when you put weight on the feet. Flexible flatfoot comes on during childhood or the teen years. It affects both feet and gradually gets worse with age. Tendons and ligaments in the arches of the feet can stretch, tear and swell. Children can outgrow flexible flatfeet without problems. Help them form nice arches with arch supporting shoes, or off-the-rack orthopedic shoes. Continue with orthotic shoes also when children get older.
• Rigid: A person with rigid flat feet has no arches when standing (putting weight on the feet) or sitting (no weight on the feet). This condition often develops during the teen years and gets worse with age. Your feet may feel painful. It can be difficult to flex the feet up or down or move them side-to-side. Flatfoot may affect one foot or both.
• Adult-acquired (fallen arch): With an adult-acquired flat foot (fallen arch), the foot's arch unexpectedly drops or collapses. As a result, the foot turns outward and it can be painful. It can be that the problem may affect only one foot. The most common cause is inflammation or a tear in the leg tendon (posterior tibial tendon) that supports the arch.
• Vertical talus (rocker-bottom foot): Some babies have a birth defect (congenital disability) called vertical talus that prevents arches from forming. The talus bone in the ankle is in the wrong position. The bottom of the foot resembles the bottom of a rocking chair.
Factors that can increase the risk of flat feet include:
• Injury to the foot or ankle
• Rheumatoid arthritis
Lifestyle and home remedies
If flatfeet causes you minor pain, you might want to try:
• Rest. Avoid activities that aggravate the condition. Participate in low-impact activities — such as walking, biking or swimming. Leave out jumping and running activities.
• Arch supporting footwear. Arch supports that are available without a prescription might increase your comfort. In our eshop we have over 20 models of orthotic sandals for ladies, with 2 models going up to EU 44 size, suitable for men.
• Search for a professional help
• Weight loss. Losing weight can reduce stress on the feet.