Flat feet, also known as fallen arches, or “pes planus” is a common condition wherein there is a collapse or absence of an inner arch on the foot, so the entire bottom of the foot is in contact with the floor when standing, sitting, or walking. Flat feet are often genetic (and is called “structural flat feet”), and can also be caused by obesity, tight tendons, improper posture, and/or using footwear that doesn’t have proper arch support.
People with flat feet do complain about pain when running or when doing sports, and some severe can limit one’s mobility. Flat feet can also cause issues such as heel spurs, toe bunions, and plantar fasciitis (which is a painful inflammation of the tissues connecting your heel bone to your toes). Luckily, there are many remedies and reliefs for flat feet:
There are many stretches and exercises for one to do to remedy their flat feet, there’s the short foot exercise, calf stretching, calf raising, and toe yoga to name a few. Most of them can be done at home and with elementary objects such as chairs, balls, and even the wall.
Flat feet can be caused by obesity, so losing weight could lessen the strain on the tendons and, in effect, lessen the impact of flat feet but won’t be able to cure it.
Footwear with inadequate support can contribute to flat feet, while shoes with excellent support can help. One should consider wearing shoes with better arch support to make movement easier and can alleviate some discomfort caused by flat feet. However, this won’t cure flat feet, but it will make movement easier and more comfortable.
Custom-made orthotics are insoles for flat feet that are placed inside one’s shoes and are designed to provide support to lift and curve the fallen arches. They “correct” the arch of your feet while you wear them and make walking, running, and standing more comfortable, as well as provide shock absorption. However, similar to better footwear, orthotics can’t remedy flat feet on their own, and only serve as a temporary relief; they can only provide proper posture, foot arch, and support while you wear them. So it’s best to pair orthotics with the exercises mentioned earlier.
A physiotherapist would be able to help you out with your flat foot by having you undergo a form of a rehabilitation program. The physiotherapist could assess your condition and design a program tailored to the severity of the fallen arches. The treatment and program usually involve stretches and exercises (the ones mentioned earlier) that should be performed for usually three times a week for a month or two depending on the severity. This is a good option for those who wish to be professionally guided on what exercises to do and how often to do them.
A foot lift is an option that you can take if your flat foot is too painful and/or have not improved using the other remedies listed. A foot lift could be a fairly straightforward procedure, or it could become more complex depending on the person’s age and the severity of the condition. So, if you’re serious about getting surgery, you can talk to your podiatrist.
Flat feet can cause discomfort and could even limit a person’s movements. But, as you can see here, there are many ways for you to fix flat feet, lessen the pain, and live a healthy life. You can read up more on these remedies and select one that you’re comfortable with. If in doubt, you can always visit your local podiatrist or physiotherapy centre and have your feet checked that can help guide you towards the best remedy for your fallen arches.