Human feet are important part of body. They are formed of small tarsal and metatarsal bones. The feet have to bear whole body weight and these bones of feet form an arch. Normally the arch from its middle has an upward curve. The curve is maintained due to proper attachment of the tendons and ligaments. Flat feet is a condition in which the arch gets collapsed because of weak ligaments and tendons that support the arch.
Normally the sole of feet should not touch the ground completely when you stand. However, in flat feet the whole sole touches the ground which causes the foot to turn inwards.Over a period of time flat feet leads to pain in feet, ankle and muscles of leg due to strained ligaments. Person with flat feet also has faulty posture and finds difficult to walk due to pain.
What Are The Possible Causes Of Flat Feet?
Flat feet are usually normal during infancy and childhood. But as the child grows the curve of foot arch gradually develops. However, in some people the curve of foot arch never develops. This abnormality can be hereditary. If the mother or father has flat feet, the child may also have flat feet.
Injury to foot and ankle can gradually lead to flat feet. It can develop as a result of trauma and damage to the posterior tendon of tibia bone. In many cases constant wear and tear of tendon and ligament of foot due to overuse, obesity, wearing improper foot wear can affect the foot arch leading to its collapse and flat feet.
Standing or walking for long period of time can strain the ligaments and tendons that support the foot arch. This may weaken them giving rise to flat feet. People with rheumatoid arthritis may also develop this condition after a period of time.
Sign And Symptoms Of Flat Feet
Most people during their childhood and early adulthood do not have any symptoms associated with flat feet. Symptoms begin to develop as age advances. In some people flat feet may not cause any problem. While in others it can cause severe pain in feet, ankle, lower leg, and back while walking.
People with flat feet often complain of numbness and weakness in leg and ankle joint. They May have frequent injuries in feet due to improper gait. Patient with flat feet can develop bunion and arthritis of foot. Their shoes wear out faster than expected.
In majority of cases both the foot are flat. Patient also complains of ankle and knee joint pain due to misalignment of the joints.
Treatment Options For Flat Feet
The treatment of choice in majority of people with flat feet is conventional. Surgical treatment is the last option where the condition is extremely severe affecting the patient’s day to day life. Following are the conventional measures:
- Wearing supportive shoes and footwear having proper insoles that completely support the arch of the foot and keeps the foot stable.
- Wearing orthotics inside the footwear which helps to distribute the strain and weight of the body.
- Painkiller medicines during severe pain.
- Since one of the causes of flat feet problem is obesity, patient should try to reduce his or her weight if overweight.
- Physiotherapy and stretching exercises as advised by the physiotherapist.
- During severe pain, patient needs to take rest till the symptom improves.
As mentioned earlier, surgical approach for correcting flat feet is the last approach. The procedure includes repairing of the tendons and ligaments and straightening of the foot bones.