Flat Feet: Types, Symptoms, assessment and Treatment
Flat feet is typically a painless condition or postural deformity in which the arches of your feet are flattening and completely in contact with the ground.
What happens if you have Flat Feet?
The arch of your foot helps to support your body weight and provides stability and balance. People with flat feet condition have a very little arch or no arch as their feet are flattened on the floor. Although it is painless, it can cause pain on your ankles and foot when your leg muscles are overburdened to carry out the functions of the foot arch.
You need to be aware of the fact that not all flat feet are deformities. Some with flat feet condition may not have problems in their lives and daily activities. However, there are some other conditions that are related to flat feet. It could be a reason for the growth of bunions and hammertoes. It can also cause pain in your heel, arch, ankle, knee, hip, and ultimately your lower back.
What causes Flat Feet?
Genetic factors are the most common cause of flat foot as children can have this condition by hereditary. Flat foot caused due to genetic condition cannot be prevented, but we can prevent it from being worse.
According to the studies, the condition of flat feet or fallen arches is most common in infants and children. However, arches can become high or normal as children grow. Your foot arches usually develop during the infant and childhood stages.
Some people have birth deformities like the tarsal coalition that cause flat foot. A tarsal coalition is an unusual connection that grows between two bones within the back of the foot, known as the tarsal bones. This may lead to restricted movement and fallen arches. Some other rare causes include:
- Abnormalities in fetal development.
- Damage to the plantar fascia, the thick tissue that protects foot bones.
- Wear and tear and getting older
When to see the doctor? : Signs & Symptoms
The important thing for most people to understand is that not all flat feet need to be treated as long as the condition is not causing any problems for you. But it is strongly recommended to see the doctor if you have flat feet and you are suffering with:
- Pain in the ankle, knee, or hip.
- Trouble in walking or body balance
- Numbness and tingling
How can I treat Flat Feet? : Treatment options
Treatment options need to be decided on the basis of what type of flat feet you have. There are usually two types of fallen arches: functional and structural. In the case of a functional flat foot, your foot is flexible and the arch is visible when it is not on the ground. It becomes flat when you stand and in contact with the ground. Structural flat foot is more complicated as it is a condition due to abnormal foot structure or deformities like a tarsal coalition.
Initial Assessment – The first and most important part of treatment is to decide the need and type of treatment. In this step, the podiatrist will find whether your condition is a functional flat foot or a structural flat foot. The doctor will:
- Observe your stance
- Assess different foot positions
- Ask questions on signs & symptoms and conditional problems
- Measurement of feet can be done using a variety of instruments such as Pedoscope, Goniometer (to measure foot angles), and computerized pressure analysis mapping.
- refer X-Ray or Ultrasound scan
Treatment – The podiatrist will first educate you on your particular condition and how to manage this. Being aware of the abnormality and following conservative care prescribed by the doctor will help you to manage the flat feet and prevent it from getting worse. Podiatrist will:
- Help you with complete foot care
- Prescribe strengthening and stretching exercises.
- Suggest best shoes, insoles orthotics, and other shoe inserts that provides anatomical arch support.
- Help with physiotherapy
- Prescribe non-steroidal and anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce pain.
- Do regular assessment
In severe abnormalities and structural deformities, the podiatrist will recommend surgery. It is rarely needed and will be helpful if conservative care is not worked well. Surgery can be effective if the problem is with your bones, tissues, or muscles. However, a combination of both surgery and conservative foot care can assure you better support to live well with flat feet.
WE HELP YOU STAND ON YOUR FEET
Health & Style Medical Centre, the first private podiatry practice in Abu Dhabi, aspire to provide the most up to date knowledge and understanding of the lower limb whilst delivering world class service to our patients with the aid of state of the art Podiatry equipment.
HSMC will do most effective and advanced treatment for Flat Feet.
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