What are Flat Feet?
- Jun 14, 2018 -

What are Flat Feet?

Young children's feet tend to appear flat because of the prominence of the fat pad in their medial arch. In addition, toddlers tend to pronate their forefoot to gain stability when they begin to walk. This problem usually resolves itself by two to three years of age. However, if the condition persists beyond that age, it must be diagnosed as a rigid or flexible flat foot.

Aging, injuries, illness, and even pregnancy may cause flat feet to develop by excessively stressing the tendons and ligaments in the foot . And foot abuse— due to wearing high heels or shoes without proper support— can cause the muscles and tendons to weaken . Some people experience no pain, but for others the tendons and ligaments may be noticeably weakened, strained, or damaged . Flat feet can also cause strain and poor alignment in the ankle, causing the feet rolling inward in a process called over-pronation. Other areas of the body may be affected by the pitter patter of over-pronating, like along the shin bone (shin splint), or general aching and fatigue in the leg, lower back, hip, and knee .

Wearing insoles or changing to shoes with more supportive arches may help alleviate discomfort from flat feet . On the flip side, other research indicates barefoot exercising may be effective at strengthening the feet as a type of rehab for weakened arch muscles due to foot abuse over the years  . But use caution before switching to a sans shoe option, as barefoot style running takes some getting used to and could actually result in additional injury .

Cutting back on activities that cause foot pain can also be effective. And even weight loss can help if the feet are overstressed by too much weight on the arches .

So don’t get cold feet when it comes to controlling the pain. It’s time to treat the feet right and take care of those tootsies.