Flat feet, what are they and how are they treated?

It is said that a person has flat feet when, standing on feet, the entire sole is in contact with the ground. That is, the foot lacks a vault or plantar arch. It is the pathology contrary to the digging feet.

It is a very frequent feature. It is estimated that 20% of the world's population presents it. It is a condition that usually does not cause pain and that can develop both in childhood and over the years.

But nevertheless, it can lead to a bad alignment of the legs, and this causes problems both in the ankles and in the knees. Therefore, in this article we explain why flat feet are formed and how to treat them.

Why do flat feet occur?

In childhood, having flat feet is normal, since the arch of the foot is formed during this stage. However, in some people, the arch never develops. This does not have to be bad or problematic.

Flat feet can also form over the years. In this case, it usually affects only one of the feet. It can occur both by aging, as by excessive use, injuries or illness. Any of these situations cause damage to the tendons, which are the ones that "support" the arch.

On the other hand, There are certain factors that increase the risk of having flat feet. Among them, apart from aging and injuries, we have already mentioned: obesity, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.

In fact, a study carried out at the University of Chile states that:

«Nutritional status is associated with increases in the prevalence of flat feet in children. In the child population 6 to 10 years of age, obesity is associated with the morphological alteration of the foot ».

Therefore, it is important to take care of food, especially children. Obesity can affect the development of your skeleton and of his muscles.

What symptoms appear?

Most people who have flat feet have no symptoms. However, some feel pain, which may appear in the inner leg. Even when causing a bad alignment, pain can affect the ankle or knee.

Flat feet are associated with knees rotated inwards. This pathology is called genu valgo. It is a skeletal and aesthetic problem, since it can be seen with the naked eye.

Further, Other symptoms that flat feet can produce are tiredness and heaviness of legs. It may cost more effort to walk. In some cases, even the back may be affected.

You might like: Osteoarthritis of the ankle: a silent pain that many people suffer

What treatments exist for flat feet?

In cases of flat feet in which there is pain, there are a number of treatments that can improve the situation:

  • Stretching exercises: they are used for those cases of flat feet in which the Achilles tendon is shorter than normal.
  • Footwear with a structural support: It helps relieve pain and is more comfortable than shoes with little support.
  • Orthopedic devices: they are supports for the arch. Some are sold without a prescription, but can also be custom designed. They are custom insoles that fit the contour of the foot and reduce symptoms.

In the case of children, the ideal is to try to correct flat feet with certain exercises. But nevertheless, Templates are usually used after 4 years that help improve foot alignment.

Even surgery can be performed. However, this is usually reserved for the most complicated cases. It is usually done in those people who also have a tendon rupture, for example.

Further, in the case of athletes, physiotherapy can be effective. This is due to the fact that many cases of flat feet are caused by overload injuries when running or when doing other exercises poorly. Physiotherapists and trainers can avoid this problem by helping to improve the technique.

You may be interested: Strengthening ligaments and tendons of the knee

In conclusion

Having flat feet is something that does not usually cause discomfort or major problems. However, in cases where it does occur, there are different forms of treatment that can help. The important thing is to see a doctor if you have any questions.

Further, slimming is recommended to avoid obesity. Pain can be treated with medication, although the ideal is to perform stretching and physical therapy exercises.