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FLATFOOT

Flatfoot, also known as pes planus or fallen arches, is a condition where the arches on the inside of the feet appear to be lower than normal or completely flattened. Normally, when a person stands, walks, or runs, the arches of the feet provide support and help distribute the body's weight evenly across the feet.

WHAT IS FLATFOOT?

 

Flatfoot, also known as pes planus or fallen arches, is a condition where the arches on the inside of the feet appear to be lower than normal or completely flattened. Normally, when a person stands, walks, or runs, the arches of the feet provide support and help distribute the body's weight evenly across the feet. Flatfoot occurs when the arches don't develop properly or collapse over time, causing the entire sole of the foot to come into contact with the ground.

There are two main types of flatfoot:

  1. Flexible flatfoot: This is when the arches are visible when the person is not bearing weight on their feet (e.g., when sitting or with toes pointed). However, the arches collapse when standing or applying pressure, and the feet appear flat. Flexible flatfoot is often painless and doesn't require treatment, as it is a common variation of foot structure that doesn't usually cause problems.

  2. Rigid flatfoot: In this case, the arches are flat both when bearing weight and when not. This type of flatfoot is often associated with more severe structural issues in the feet and can potentially lead to discomfort, pain, and problems with walking or standing for extended periods.

Flatfoot can be congenital (present from birth) or acquired later in life due to factors like aging, injury, obesity, or certain medical conditions.

What are the symptoms of Flatfoot?

The symptoms of flatfoot can vary depending on the type of flatfoot (flexible or rigid) and the individual's specific circumstances. Some individuals with flatfoot might experience symptoms such as pain, swelling, and discomfort in the feet, ankles, knees, or even the lower back. 

Here are some common symptoms associated with flatfoot:

  1. Pain and Discomfort: People with flatfoot may experience pain or discomfort along the inside of the foot, especially around the arch area. This pain might be aggravated by activities that involve standing, walking, or running for extended periods.

  2. Swelling: Swelling around the inside of the ankle or along the arch of the foot can occur, particularly after physical activity or prolonged standing.

  3. Tired or Achy Feet: Individuals with flatfoot might experience fatigue or aching in the feet, especially after being on their feet for a while.

  4. Foot Deformity: In more severe cases of flatfoot, there might be a noticeable outward tilting of the heel or an outward rotation of the forefoot.

  5. Pain in Other Areas: Flatfoot can sometimes cause pain or discomfort in other parts of the body, such as the ankles, knees, hips, or lower back. This is because the altered foot mechanics can affect the alignment and function of these adjacent joints.

  6. Difficulty with Footwear: People with flatfoot might have trouble finding comfortable footwear that provides proper arch support.

  7. Reduced Stability and Balance: Flatfoot can sometimes lead to reduced stability and balance, making it harder for individuals to engage in certain physical activities without discomfort or an increased risk of injury.

  8. Development of Calluses: Due to the altered weight distribution on the feet, calluses might develop in certain areas, particularly where there is increased pressure.

It's important to note that some individuals with flatfoot might not experience any symptoms or discomfort, especially if they have a flexible flatfoot with minimal structural issues. However, if you are experiencing persistent foot pain, discomfort, or any of the symptoms mentioned above, it's recommended to consult a podiatrist. They can provide a proper diagnosis, recommend appropriate treatment options, and help manage any discomfort or pain associated with flatfoot.

How can you treat Flatfoot?

The treatment for flatfoot depends on the severity of the condition, the presence of symptoms, and the individual's specific needs.

 

Here are some common treatment options that may be recommended for managing flatfoot:

  1. Supportive Footwear: Wearing shoes with proper arch support and cushioning can help alleviate discomfort and provide better stability. Look for shoes that have a firm midsole and adequate arch support.

  2. Orthotic Inserts: Custom-made or over-the-counter orthotic inserts can provide additional arch support and help distribute weight more evenly across the feet. These inserts can be placed inside your shoes and can be particularly beneficial if you have flexible flatfoot or experience discomfort.

  3. Physical Therapy: A physical therapist can design exercises and stretches to improve the strength and flexibility of the muscles and ligaments in your feet and ankles. Strengthening the muscles that support the arch can help reduce symptoms and improve foot function.

  4. Medications: Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen can help alleviate pain and reduce inflammation in the affected area. However, these should be used under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

  5. Lifestyle Modifications: If excess weight is contributing to the discomfort associated with flatfoot, weight loss through a healthy diet and regular exercise can help alleviate symptoms.

  6. Bracing and Splinting: In some cases, a brace or splint might be recommended to provide support to the arch and alleviate discomfort, especially during physical activities.

  7. Corticosteroid Injections: In certain situations, a doctor might recommend corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation and alleviate pain. However, these injections are generally not used as a first-line treatment and should be used cautiously due to potential side effects.

  8. Surgery: Surgery is usually considered a last resort and is reserved for cases of severe pain and dysfunction that do not respond to conservative treatments. Surgical procedures for flatfoot might involve repairing or reconstructing the affected ligaments, tendons, or bones to restore proper foot mechanics.

The best treatment approach will depend on the individual's age, overall health, severity of the condition, and the presence of any associated symptoms. If you suspect you have flatfoot or are experiencing discomfort related to your feet, it's important to consult a podiatrist. They can provide an accurate diagnosis and recommend a personalised treatment plan to address your specific needs and help you manage any symptoms effectively.

THINK YOU MAY HAVE FLATFOOT?
GET BOOKED IN FOR A BIOMECHANICS APPOINTMENT

£105.00

 

Our team will conduct a full assessment including medical history, foot & lower limb posture, strength & motion tests, gait assessment using pressure plate system, and treatment plan discussion. Following your assessment and review of your medical history, this appoint may suitable to diagnose an treat conditions in the list above.

For this appointment it is important to have the appropriate medical history as this will allow our podiatrists to identify and treat the problem more effectively. If you have any previous GP refferal notes, scans or test results please bring these with you.

You will need the following for your appointment:

A pair of shorts. A selection of footwear, 1 to 3 pairs of shoes (footwear you wear daily/ and or your sporting footwear).

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