Flat feet, also known as pes planus, is a common condition where the arches of the feet are lower than normal or completely absent. Flat feet can occur in one or both feet and can be present at birth or develop later in life. The condition can cause pain, discomfort, and other problems in the feet, legs, and lower back. In this article, we will discuss the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options for flat feet.
Causes of Flat Feet: Flat feet can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
- Genetics: Flat feet can be inherited, meaning they can be passed down from one or both parents.
- Developmental: Flat feet can develop during childhood as the arches of the feet fail to develop properly.
- Injury: Trauma to the foot or ankle can damage the tendons and ligaments that support the arches of the feet, leading to flat feet.
- Aging: As we age, the tendons and ligaments in our feet can weaken, causing the arches to flatten.
- Obesity: Excess weight can put extra pressure on the feet, causing the arches to collapse.
The symptoms of flat feet can vary from person to person, but some of the most common symptoms include:
- Pain: Pain in the feet, ankles, knees, hips, or lower back, especially after standing or walking for long periods.
- Swelling: Swelling in the feet or ankles.
- Fatigue: Tiredness or fatigue, especially in the feet and legs.
- Overpronation: Overpronation is when the feet roll inward excessively when walking or running. People with flat feet are more prone to overpronation.
Diagnosis of Flat Feet:
If you suspect you have flat feet, it is important to see a doctor or podiatrist for a proper diagnosis. The doctor will perform a physical exam and may order imaging tests such as X-rays, MRIs, or CT scans to get a better look at the bones and muscles in your feet.
Treatment of Flat Feet:
The treatment of flat feet depends on the severity of the condition and the symptoms you are experiencing. Some common treatment options include:
- Arch supports: Arch supports, also known as orthotics, can provide support and help relieve pain and fatigue associated with flat feet. Custom-made orthotics are available, or you can purchase over-the-counter arch supports at your local pharmacy.
- Proper footwear: Wearing the right footwear can help alleviate the symptoms of flat feet. Look for shoes with good arch support and a firm sole. Avoid shoes with a high heel or a flat sole.
- Stretching exercises: Stretching exercises can help improve the flexibility of the foot and ankle muscles. Try stretching your calf muscles, Achilles tendon, and the arch of your foot.
- Physical therapy: Physical therapy can help strengthen the muscles in your feet and legs, which can alleviate pain and fatigue associated with flat feet.
- Surgery: In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to correct flat feet. This is usually only recommended when other treatments have not been effective.
Flat feet can be a painful and uncomfortable condition, but with proper treatment, it can be managed effectively. If you suspect you have flat feet, it is important to see a doctor or podiatrist for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. Remember to wear the right footwear, use arch supports or orthotics, do stretching exercises, and consider physical therapy if necessary. By taking these steps, you can alleviate the symptoms of flat feet and improve your quality of life.
About The Author
Dr. Krisca is a highly-educated and skilled physician who has obtained a BS Public Health degree from the University of the Philippines Manila and a Doctor of Medicine degree from the De La Salle Medical Health Sciences Institute. She is a licensed physician and also a Registered Medical Technologist. She has received additional training in Hemodialysis for Non-Nephro Physicians on duty and has completed online courses in related fields like depression in populations from John Hopkins University and positive psychiatry from The University of Sydney. Currently, she is pursuing a Master of International Health in the University of the Philippines.
Dr. Krisca is known for her outstanding skills and compassionate approach to healthcare that make a positive impact on people’s lives. Through her passion for healthcare, she hopes to make a difference in the world and help people lead healthier, happier lives.