People with flat feet have low or no instep (arch), and the whole foot remains almost flat on the ground. The arch is the middle part of the foot and is normally raised off the ground while standing. In young children, the arch isn’t always visible because it is covered by baby fat and soft tissue, and just becomes apparent as they get older. Some people will retain the missing arch through adulthood. If your parents have flat feet, there’s a chance you have inherited the condition from them.
Having flat feet should not be a cause of alarm, but it may contribute to many foot problems, or cause pain in the ankles, knees, hip, and back. Medical grade orthotics such as Instant-Fit™ Orthotics are helpful in maintaining and supporting the arch of the foot. It also helps realign the leg, so that further damage to the muscles and ligaments will be avoided.
Symptoms of Flat Feet
Flat feet can affect one or both feet. It may initially not present any signs and symptoms, and treatment may not be necessary. But continued stress to the foot and lower limb can cause problems in the long run. Early intervention and foot pain prevention measures, such as wearing personalized orthotics, can help avoid developing these problems.
Other signs and symptoms:
Excessive inward rolling of the foot (over-pronation) causes the shoes to wear out quickly.
Feet may look fatter.
Feet may feel numb or stiff.
Pain in the feet, calf, legs, knees as well as hips and back.
Persistent pain even while wearing well-fitted shoes.
At least 30% of the population has a moderate or extreme flat foot condition. Flat feet are hereditary, which means it may run in your family. You can also develop flat foot during adulthood. The tendons inside your ankle can weaken after years of wear and tear, and cause arches to fall over time. Overused and stretched connective tissues are often triggered by unsupportive footwear or injuries to the feet, as well as obesity, aging, and rheumatoid arthritis. Some disorders may also cause flat feet:
Connective tissue and joint disorders such as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, gout, and arthritis.
Disorders of the nervous system – spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, and cerebral palsy.
The most widely used intervention for flat feet is assistive devices like orthotics (medical-grade insoles). It is important to choose orthotics that properly address your foot problems. Traditional orthotics or the so-called “custom” insoles from supermarkets and drugstores may offer temporary relief, but since most products available are factory-made just a few pre-fabricated size variants, they can only do so much to alleviate the real cause of your foot problem. Quality orthotics are designed by a podiatrist and for exactly to the shape and contour of your feet.
P.O.L. CustomFit™ Orthotics, developed by Dr. Tim Nguyen (Wynn), DPM after more than 15 years of research, are truly “100% personalized” orthotics. They are molded in your shoe to the exact shape of your foot and they cost about as much as pre-fabricated insoles which may not relieve your pain. You can get orthotics that are formed exactly right for your feet. You will not need to return them for adjustments or have new casts and molds made. For the most effective relief of foot pain and discomfort, always check if your podiatrist is using the more affordable orthotics developed by Poditech Orthotics Laboratory to ensure the highest quality standard and best fitting products.
Other Treatment Modalities:
Always use supportive shoes to avoid over-pronation of the foot.
Take pain killers to relieve pain.
Apply ice pack if there is swelling in the affected area.
A physiotherapist may recommend exercises to strengthen the connective tissues in your feet.
For cases that don’t respond to the treatments above, surgery may be considered, especially for those with inborn deformities.