Arches and Aches
Flatfoot often becomes a serious problem if neglected in the initial stages. Here’s how to identify the symptoms and apply the right corrective measures
Flatfoot or “fallen arches” is a medical condition that affects the arches of the human feet, causing them to fall flat. It occurs in about 20 per cent of the world’s population. “Flatfoot, or pes planus, as it is medically called, refers to the loss of the normal arch in either or both feet. In infants it is common for the baby fat between the foot bones to cause the foot arches to fall flat. At first, all babies’ feet look flat, because the arch hasn’t formed yet. Arches should form by the time your child is 3 years of age and develop by the time he or she is 7 or 10 years old.
Wear and tear
In a lot of cases flatfoot develops due to ill-treatment of the feet. Muscles wear out due to ageing, sports injuries, standing or walking for prolonged periods of time on high heels or in shoes without proper support.
Weight and age are big factors. There are multiple causes of flatfoot, including trauma or injury, inflammatory arthritis and chronic wear and tear, often augmented by an increase in weight and age. The main injury occurs to a tendon on the inside of the ankle called the ‘posterior tibial’ tendon that supports the arch. As this tendon tears or weakens, the arch collapses, the heel tilts and the foot turns out.
One of the signs of flat feet in children is when they begin to complain of pain in their calf muscles or feet. If parents notice their child walking oddly, on the outer edges of the feet, or limping during long walks with pain around the area of the foot, they should get it checked.
In severe cases of childhood flatfoot, a ‘knock knee’ deformity may develop. If the child complains of foot, heel or ankle pain, you should visit the specialist who will take foot X-rays in a standing position to check joints and feet bones.
Pain on the inside of the ankle or the arch or a decreased ability to walk or run due to aching feet is often the first sign of a flatfoot developing
It is not just the feet that hurt. Flatfoot affects other parts of the body too. Flat feet can affect the knees, hips and back. The arch collapsing inwards places stress on the knee, which may rotate the hip and cause back pain. Avoid high heels and flat shoes with no support, such as ballet flats and jandals.
Experts recommend that children run or walk barefoot on rugged terrain such as sand or rocks.
If the child has flatfoot symptoms, an arch support can be placed inside the shoe to correct it.
In case of severe collapse, additional arch support with an orthotic insert may be required.
If you have any questions, or feel that you need some expert advice, contact The Podiatrist.
Posted on December 7, 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged arch supports, bones, calf pain, Caron Orelowitz, children, fallen arches, feet, foot bones, foot disorders, heel pain, hips, knees, knock knees, limping, orthotics, pain, Podiatrist, podiatry, running, sore feet, The Podiatrist, walking. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.