Flat feet, or fallen arches, are a fairly common foot condition, affecting an estimated 20-30% of the general population. Just like the name suggests, flat feet are diagnosed when the arch of the foot is collapsed so the whole foot rests flat on the ground.
What causes flat feet?
About 10% of the population have congenital flat feet (inherited from a parent), while the rest of the cases are acquired through the environment. Flat feet in children can occur when the foot muscles do not develop properly. Adults can also develop flat feet, but this often occurs due to repetitive stress on the arch. Obesity and pregnancy can also contribute to flat feet.
What are the risks of flat feet?
The good news is that flat feet themselves are rarely debilitating. The biggest cause for concern is the overpronation (foot rolling inwards) associated with the condition. This can result in uneven weight distribution when running or walking and can result in arch, ankle, knee or leg pain.
Treatments for children with flat feet
Flat feet are quite normal in small children and their feet will typically develop arches between 4-10 years. If he or she does not develop arches by the age of 10, your child may have flat feet.
Because children are usually unaware of the condition, they will not be able to self-diagnose. Pay attention to the way your child walks to identify any abnormalities and listen to any complaints of sore feet and legs after long walks: these can be symptoms of a foot disorder.
The earlier you identify flat feet, or any foot disorder, the more likely you are to successfully resolve the problem. It may be possible to “cure” flat feet in growing children by regularly exercising the foot muscles. Try barefoot walking, stretches and foot exercises. Orthotics may also be used to support the natural development of arches—visit your podiatrist to see if Junior Formthotics™ can benefit your child.
Treatments for adults with flat feet
Flat feet in adults cannot be cured, but quality orthotics can reduce pronation and alleviate the pain associated with flat feet. Formthotics™ provide support for the foot that encourages the function and posture of developed arches. Through the arch contour design of Formthotics™, the foot will rest more naturally on the ground, reducing pronation.
Preventing flat feet
While flat feet can not be prevented, the severity and likelihood of pain can be reduced. Shoes keep small muscles from developing and correctly shaping a child’s, foot so encourage your children to walk barefoot when they are young to promote development of the arches. Walking barefoot on the beach is especially beneficial, as the malleable sand underfoot gives muscles a good workout.
Formthotics™ orthotics for flat feet are based around the philosophy that soft, malleable ground results in the most natural steps and the fewest leg and foot disorders. Try custom orthotics to achieve a more natural stride when you walk on rigid, modern surfaces.