Before diving into the problems and causes of flat feet, let us understand what exactly the ‘flat feet’ condition is. Flat feet, medically known as Pes Planus, is a biomechanical problem, in which the arch at the bottom of the feet subsides and comes in contact with the ground. Flat feet or fallen arches can be painful and are associated with pronation, in which the ankle bones lean inward toward the center line. Infants and toddlers have flat feet till they are around 4 years of age, but their feet develop the curve at the most by the time they turn 8. However, today the problem is being experienced by a large number of grown individuals as well. Though ‘flat feet’ is not a cause of worry in most cases, it might create certain problems in adults and children, like difficult walking, poor posture, low back pain, etc. Let us explore this article to know flat feet problems in detail, along with the causes and symptoms associated with the condition.
Problems Encountered By People With Flat Feet
- Difficult Walking- A person with flat feet might have a swelling at the bottom of the feet, which persuades him/her to roll the feet inward while walking, resulting in difficult walk and hence a poor posture.
- Low Back & Hip Pain- When feet pronate, they take the whole leg with them, leading to internal rotation and hence a painful low back and hip.
- Knee Pain- An unnatural alignment of the knees leads to flat foot on one side and hence knee pain.
- Arthritis- Flat foot pushes the joints of the foot to move beyond their usual and normal range of motion, resulting in an early deterioration and inflammation of the joints, called arthritis.
- Planatar Fasciitis (Heel Pain)- Flat foot suffer from elongation, resulting in an excessive pull of a ligament-like structure called the plantar fascia on the heel bone, causing painful inflammation in the heels.
- Tendonitis- A tendon is a tough connective tissue that connects bones to the muscles of the body. An unnatural positioning of the feet leads to tendonitis, a condition that leads to an impaired movement of the otherwise smoothly gliding part. The body part becomes sore with itchy, irritating and painful motion.
- Bunnions & Hammertoes- In case of one foot being flat,the excess force on the stable foot makes the little myriad muscles fail to work properly. It leads to the pain in the bump, at the base of the big toe called bunion. The toe looks bent, in a claw-like arch and is called hammertoe.
Symptoms Of Flat Feet
- The feet tires easily with prolonged standing.
- Flat feet leads to uneven shoe wear, with a collapse of the shoe towards the inside of flat foot.
- Swelling and pain in the inside of the ankle is common.
- Lower back and foot pain might result.
- Aching foot in the heel or arch area may be there, with swelling along the inner side.
- Heel can tilt away many a times, from the midline of the body.
Causes Of Flat Feet
Flat feet can be caused by a number of underlying conditions, like:
- Due to less movement and physical activity in the old age, the elderly people gain weight, which disturbs the balance of the foot.
- The arch of the foot can become weak, due to the regular interaction with hard surfaces.
- The hormonal changes in the body as well as weakness can also lead to flat feet.
- Obesity puts more pressure on the body in all its functions and flat feet is one of them.
- Flat feet can also be caused by tarsal coalition, in which two or more bones in the foot fuse together and limit motion.
- Wearing heels for longer period of time might also lead to flat feet.