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Podiatry Clinic

Also known as flatfoot, flat feet is a condition in which the arch of one or both feet flattens when an individual stands or pressure is applied to them. When individuals with flat feet stand up, the whole soles of their feet press into the ground since their feet point outward. However, in some cases the arch can appear when the leg is lifted.

Facts about flat feet

  • Adults who have flat feet typically have a problem that affects their feet on a deeper level
  • The symptoms include discomfort in the feet, legs, and occasionally the back’s arch as well as swelling or stiffness
  • Flat feet can occur in children, but they usually outgrow them
  • The alignment of the body whether a person is standing, walking, or sprinting might be affected by flat feet. Therefore, having flat feet can negatively affect an individual’s quality of life by putting him/her at risk of experiencing hip, knee, and ankle pain.

Types of Flat Feet

  • Flexible flat foot: This type frequently affects children. The child’s arch will disappear when they stand and reappear while standing on tiptoes or sitting down.
  • Rigid flat foot: This can affect both children and adults. An individual with this condition will not have an arch regardless of whether they are standing.

Symptoms of Flat Feet

Pain in the feet is the most common sign of flat feet. The pain is usually caused by strains on the muscles and ligaments that link them. Hip and knee discomfort may be brought on by irregular weight placed on the joints. If the ankles bend inward, these stressors are probably present.

The following areas of the body are most frequently affected by pain, and occasionally by swelling or stiffness of one has flat feet:

  • Calf
  • Knee
  • Hip
  • Lower back
  • Ankle
  • Arch of the foot

Risk Factors of Flat Feet

  • Injury to the foot or ankle
  • Diabetes
  • Aging
  • Obesity
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

Causes of Flat Feet

  • Genetics, since flat feet can be inherited from parents to children
  • Foot injuries
  • Arthritis
  • Stress on the arches of the feet resulting from excess weight
  • Neurological or muscular conditions like cerebral palsy, muscular atrophy, or spina bifida
  • Tarsal coalition, which results in exceptionally fused-together foot bones and flat, rigid feet.
  • Developmental defects that may appear in adolescence, as aging happens, or upon pregnancy.

Diagnosis of Flat Feet

To make a definitive diagnosis of flat feet, the specialists will do the following:

  • He/she will first observe the patient’s feet from the front and back. He/she shall ask the patient to stand on toes
  • The doctor will then test the strength in the ankles thus locating the main area of the pain
  • The shoe’s wear pattern may also provide details about the condition of patient’s feet

A doctor will also take the patient’s medical background into account. In some circumstances, they may require the patient to undergo imaging tests such as X-rays, CT scans, or MRI scans.

Treatment of Flat Feet

Treatment for flatfeet may not be necessary if it doesn’t impact the patient’s quality of life negatively. However, for painful flat feet, the doctor may recommend the following:

  • Stretching exercise: A shortened Achilles’ tendon might also be present in certain people with flat feet. Tendon-stretching exercises may be beneficial.
  • Physical therapy: A physical therapist can give advice on how to improve gait as well as exercises to strengthen the muscles and tendons in the foot.
  • Arch supports: Sometimes it’s advised to use arch supports that have been specially created and molded to fit an individual’s feet. Although arch supports won’t cure flat feet, they may minimize the symptoms.
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