When you look at the inner side of an adult foot, you will notice that are is a small curve upward, in the middle of the foot. This is known as an arch, which is formed by tendons from the lower leg work and foot. When the tendons join together to pull it results in the formation of an arch. But when these tendons are not able to pull together, it will result in no arch and is commonly called as fallen arch or flat foot.
Do you have flat feet?
You can test if you have flat feet from the following three steps:
- Wet your feet first.
- Pick a surface where your footprint will be visible, like a concrete walkway.
- If you are able to see the complete print of your feet including the bottom surface, it indicates that you have flat feet.
This is also called as a flexible flat feet condition and it can be easily noticed when the child is standing. However, if the child raises her or his toes, an arch will begin to appear. In many scenarios, arches begin to develop as he child grows older.
Here are some causes for flat feet
- Nerve problems.
- Health issues such as rheumatoid arthritis.
- Dislocated or broken bones.
- Inflammation or damage of posterior tibial tendon that connects the lower leg to the arch’s centre.
- Torn or stretched tendons.
- Birth abnormality present since the time of birth.
Some of the other things that increase risk are pregnancy, aging, diabetes and obesity.
Symptoms of Fallen Arches or Flat Feet
There are many people who have flat feet and there is no treatment for it as it is not a noticeable problem. Here are some of the symptoms that you will have to experience when you have fallen arches.
- Leg pain and back pain.
- Movement of foot as well as standing on your toes will be difficult.
- Swollen inside of the bottom.
- Achy or painful feet, especially in the areas of heels and arches.
- Your feet will get tired easily.
If you detect these symptoms, you will have to consult a doctor soon.
Examining your Feet
The doctor will look for the causes of flat feet and will exam your steps in the following steps
- Your health history will be checked for evidence of injuries or illnesses that are related to fallen arches or flat feet.
- The soles of your shoes will be viewed to check for unusual wear patterns.
- Simple movements of your legs and feet will be observed for study.
- Testing the strength of tendons and muscles. Posterior tibial tendon and Achilles tendon are the tendons tested.
- Taking MRI or X-Ray test of your feet.
Treating Fallen Arches and Flat Feet
Based on the cause of the problem and the severity, fallen arches and flat feet are treated accordingly. If there is pain or similar difficulties, then treatment is not essential. However, if there is pain, you will be suggested to take one of more treatments to cure you of it.
- Inflammation such as corticosteroids can be reduced with injected medications.
- Casts, braces, shoe modification, orthotic devices.
- Physical therapy.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory pain relief medications.
- Stretching exercises
- Ice to reduce swelling and relieve pain.
- Rest to eliminate strain.
If the foot damage or pain is severe, surgery is a good option. Here are some of the procedures that are recommended:
- Synovectomy- Cleaning of the protective coverings of the tendons
- Osteotomy- Changing or cutting the bone’s shape
- Excision (also known as spurs)- removing bony growths or bones
- Arthrodesis- Fusing ankle bones and foot together
- Lateral column lengthening- To make the arch rise, grafting the bone
- Tendon transfer- Add tendons from other body parts to place on your foot to pull and balance the tendons which will help make an arch.
A rigid flatfoot is the major cause of pain, affecting the alignment of bones as well their structure and result in foot’s arch. Here are some common of the causes:
- Lateral subtalar dislocation: This is often known as acquired flatfoot since it is formed during the lifetime of the individual. Here the talus bone which is situated within the arch of the foot is dislocated. This bone will drop downs, slipping out of place and further collapses the arch. The cause of this dislocation is generally associated with high-impact injury or fracture.
- Tarsal Coalition: This is an inherited condition where some bones in the foot join together and interfere with your flexible activity. This is often said to affect many generations of the family.
- Congenital vertical Talus: Here the foot bones are misaligned and will not form the arch that is supposed to be present. This is another rare condition that affects a person and is present by birth. In most of the cases, the cause for this remains unknown and is often associated with congenital disorders or genetic disorder.
Remedies for Fallen Arches and Flat Feet
- Avoid activities like running to eliminate stress on your feet.
- Avoid sports with high-impact like tennis, soccer, hockey and basketball.
- Treat or Limit risk factors that will worsen the condition of flat feet or fallen arches, like obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes.
- Ask your physical therapist or doctor to show you exercises that help you get ready for feet-intensive work.
- You can also try treatments at home like ice, rise, ibuprofen, NSAIDS and other such non-steroidal anti-inflammatory.
- You should also wear shoe inserts or footwear that is suitable for your activity.
In general flat feet will not hinder or cause pain to the people who have it. It is also present from birth for many and they will not be able to tell the difference as they are used to it. Only when it causes serious concerns like pain will it be necessary to treat it properly.