Feel like you’re constantly treading water? Do you have pain in your feet after prolonged standing or walking? If so, you may be familiar with the pain and difficulties associated with flat feet. But have no dread! We’ll take a deep dive into learning about what causes flat feet, how to recognize the signs of it, and how to treat it. Whether this is something you’ve dealt with your whole life or a recent symptom, we can help.
What are Flat Feet?
When a person has flat feet, sometimes called fallen arches or pes planus, the entire sole of their foot is in constant contact with the floor. When we walk or run, the arch in our feet helps disperse our weight and cushions any impact. Those with flat feet may not experience any issues, but if they do encounter pain or difficulties with activities such as walking and running, then it’s time to see a doctor. There are many treatments available ranging from shoe inserts to surgery that can provide relief. People who have no arch when bearing weight may have flexible or rigid flat feet. Symptoms include discomfort near the arch, swelling on the inside of the ankle, fatigue during long-standing periods, and an alteration in gait that could lead to balance problems.
Supportive footwear with arch support, orthotic inserts designed to provide extra support to compensate for low arches, physical therapy exercises to strengthen foot muscles and improve flexibility, braces or splints for more severe cases where extra stabilization is needed during activities like running, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to alleviate pain and reduce inflammation are all options.
Causes of Flat Feet
Many different things can lead to flat feet, often called fallen arches. Inheritance is a factor in many cases. The likelihood of inheriting flat feet increases if both of your parents have them.
Your foot and ankles’ muscles and tendons could also be to blame. The arches may eventually collapse due to structural weakness or imbalance.
Flat feet can also be caused by medical issues like arthritis or being overweight. Because of the added pressure, the arches of the feet eventually collapse under the weight of these conditions.
Flat feet can also be caused by foot or ankle injuries, particularly those that damage the ligaments and tendons that help keep the arches in place.
Flat feet are more common as people get older. Arch support might decrease with age because of a loss of muscular strength and connective tissue suppleness.
The correct diagnosis and treatment of flat feet requires an understanding of the underlying causes of the condition. When medical practitioners are able to pinpoint the precise causes of a patient’s illness, they are better able to provide effective treatment plans.
Symptoms of Flat Feet
There are several ways in which flat feet might impact a person’s quality of life. Some people with flat feet may have no problems or discomforts, while others may encounter more obvious symptoms. Some of the most typical indications of flat feet include:
Foot and ankle discomfort, especially in the arches, heels, or ankles, is a typical complaint. Long durations of standing or walking may aggravate this pain, which can be either dull or acute.
Overpronation is a condition that occurs when your feet roll inward excessively as you walk or run; it is often the result of having flat feet. Ankles, knees, hips, and lower back can all feel the effects of this.
Thirdly, fatigue and muscle cramps are common issues for those with flat feet because they don’t have the arch support that normal feet provide. The muscles in their legs and feet may also cramp up on them.
Difficulty finding shoes that fit: If you have flat feet, you may have trouble locating footwear that offers adequate arch support.
Edema of the lower legs: People with flat feet may have edema in the lower legs, especially after engaging in strenuous physical activity or standing for lengthy periods of time.
If these symptoms persist and cause significant disruption to your regular life, you should see a doctor to get a proper diagnosis and start treatment.
Treatments for Flat Feet
There are a variety of approaches that can be taken to treat flat feet. Your condition and symptoms will determine the course of treatment. Pain relief can often be achieved with conservative care if it is administered early on.
Wearing shoes with orthotic inserts, such as arch supports, is a frequent method of treatment. These aids can alleviate pain and enhance alignment by giving your feet some much-needed extra support and stability. Selecting inserts created with flat feet in mind is crucial.
A significant part of flat foot management might come from physical therapy exercises. Building up your foot arch muscles will help you feel better and perform better. A physical therapist can help you with specific exercises to strengthen and stretch certain areas.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) are one type of medication that may be given to help with the discomfort and inflammation of flat feet.
Surgery is often reserved as a last resort for more severe instances where non-invasive treatments have failed. Foot deformities can be surgically addressed to help with alignment issues.
Always remember to check with your doctor before beginning any new treatment for flat feet. They will evaluate your current condition and provide recommendations for treatment.
Exercises for Flat Feet
Incorporating workouts into your routine can be quite helpful when dealing with flat feet. These moves can help you become more flexible and stable while also strengthening your foot and ankle muscles.
Toe curls are a great way to work your muscles in a different way. Relax in a chair with your feet planted firmly on the floor. To begin, curl your toes in as if you were reaching for something. Don’t let go of this position for a few seconds. Do this multiple times a day to maintain your fitness.
Lifting your arches is another effective exercise. Start with standing barefoot with your feet hip-width apart; then, while keeping your heel and toes on the ground, progressively lift your arches. For a few seconds, maintain this position before releasing.
Calf stretches are also crucial for building up the muscles that hold up your foot arches. Keep both heels firmly on the ground as you shift your weight from one foot to the other while standing with your back to a wall. Stretch your calves by leaning forward against a wall for 20 to 30 seconds before switching legs.
If you have any preexisting illnesses or are worried about being hurt, it’s important to talk to your doctor or a physical therapist before beginning a new fitness routine.
By incorporating these moves into your regular routine, you can improve your foot health and reduce the pain associated with flat feet. If you’re patient and in tune with your body, you might see an improvement in your symptoms after some time has passed.
Prevention of Flat Feet
While flat feet may run in families, there are measures you may do to keep them from getting any worse. Some essential methods are as follows:
First, try to keep your weight where it should be; being overweight places extra stress on your feet and can lead to the gradual flattening of your arches. Keeping your weight where it should be can alleviate some of that pressure, which in turn will assist in protecting your feet’s delicate anatomy.
You should wear shoes with good arch support and plenty of padding. Try to choose footwear that has an inbuilt arch support or use orthotic inserts.
Third, stay away from high-impact activities like sprinting or leaping on hard surfaces, which can cause foot pain and eventual flat feet. To keep your feet healthy and prevent injury, invest in shoes with arch support and stretch the muscles in your lower extremities, focusing on your calves, ankles, and toes. Gradually increase the intensity of your activities to give your body time to adjust. If you find yourself dealing with symptoms like pain or discomfort, consult a healthcare provider who specializes in foot health to get tailored advice. Taking these simple steps now will pay off later– look after your feet!