Flat feet are a usually painless condition where the arches on the inside of your feet are completely collapsed arches so that the entire sole of your feet touch the floor when standing. Flat feet can develop after an injury to the foot, such as a ligament, tendon or muscle tear, or as a result of arthritis or they may develop because the condition runs in the family. People with flat feet often complain of their feet rolling inwards when walking or a feeling of their foot collapsing.
Flat feet can cause a myriad of symptoms, from experiencing pain in the foot, heels, arch, calves, the shin, the knee, the hip and into the lower back due to overworking of the hip flexors or they may find it hard to stand on tip toes.
Symptoms of Fallen Arches
The primary symptom of fallen arches is painful or achy feet in the area in which the foot arches or on the heel. This area may become swollen and painful to stand still on. This causes the patient to improperly balance on their feet which in turn will cause other biomechanical injuries such as back, leg and knee pain.
Fallen Arches Treatment
The treatment is simple for flat feet. We will carry out a biomechanical assessment and assess your full history, often alongside a Computerised Gait Scan to give us an idea of how the foot is compensating.
Treatment will be to:
- Control how the foot hits the ground
- Support the middle of the foot and prevent the arch collapsing
- Promote normal movement in the front of the foot
The ability to do this will be dictated by the movement within the foot to start with.
Treatment for all the above problems are often combined with a physiotherapy session in order to help develop a stretching and strengthening programme for the back of the legs and the pelvis in order to allow normal function when the orthoses have been prescribed.
If you are born with flat feet you will not grow out of them – if you get orthoses, like glasses, you will need them for the rest of your life if you want to correct the mechanics in your foot.
In 95% of cases, orthoses will reduce symptoms by at least 85%. We will work with the other 5% to get them to this level.
There are different types of Pes (flat) Planus (Feet) – with mobile, rigid, post traumatic and post surgical being the most common. It is important to assess the foot and decide which category the foot falls into before formulating a plan of action in order to reduce the resultant symptoms associated with the condition.
Mobile / flexible flat feet – most common of all, these feet have too much flexibility in them and the sole becomes very unstable when on the ground leading to instability and reduced shock absorbancy – and subsequently pressure on the joints of the leg and the stress on the muscles trying to control the movement of these joints.
Rigid flat foot – CPVP – not common and normally a condition that has been present since birth. Our team would assess the condition, discuss your expectations of treatment and then decide on the best line of action – in many cases this may be a referral to orthopaedics for an assessment for reconstructive surgery if this is your choice.
Post traumatic flat foot – most commonly associated with rupture or partial rupture of the posterior tibial tendon which results in the foot collapsing and pointing outwards (ten past two). This often happens on one foot only or is more pronounced on one foot, and is accompanied with pain associated with rupture of a tendon.
Post surgical flat foot – if you have had surgery on the foot, it will often be left in a slightly pronated or flattened position to create stability and prevent the foot rolling on the outside of the ankle. In this case there will be drastically reduced shock absorption and the knee can be placed into a compromised position – therefore an orthotic is necessary to cushion the foot and reduce the stress on the knee.