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According to a 2012 National Foot Health Assessment, eight percent of adults in the United States who are ages 21 and older have flat feet. If you have flat feet, then your feet don’t have a normal arch when you stand. This can cause pain in your feet when you perform extensive physical tasks.
This condition is referred to as fallen arches, or pes planus. It’s normal in babies and usually goes away between the ages of two and three years old. This is because the tendons and ligaments in the leg and foot tighten. While it’s usually not serious to have flat feet as a child, the condition can last through adulthood.
There are some instances where flat feet are caused by illness or injuries and can lead to problems with standing, running, and walking.
Are you looking for more helpful information on flat feet? If so, then keep on reading and we’ll take you through everything you’ll want to know.
Types of Flat Feet
The most common type of flat feet is flexible flat feet. This is when the arches in the feet will only appear when you lift them off of the ground. When you place your feet on the ground, your soles completely touch the ground.
This kind of flat foot begins in childhood and usually doesn’t cause any pain.
You also might have a tight Achilles tendon. Your Achilles tendon connects your calf muscle to your heel bone.
If the tendon is too tight then you may feel pain when running and walking. This condition can cause your heel to prematurely lift when you run or walk.
Lastly, there’s posterior tibial tendon dysfunction. This kind of flat foot is acquired in adulthood. It takes place when the tendon that connects the inside of your ankle to your calf muscle is torn, swollen, or injured.
If your arch doesn’t get the support that it needs, then you’re going to have pain on the inside of your ankle and foot. You’ll also feel pain on the outside of your ankle. Depending on what the cause is, you may have the condition in one or both of your feet.
What Causes Flat Feet?
Flat feet are related to the bones and tissues in your lower legs and your feet. It’s normal for toddlers and babies to have flat feet because it takes time for the tendons to get tighter and to form an arch. There are some instances where the bones in the feet of a child can fuse together, which can cause pain.
If this tightening doesn’t fully occur, then it can lead to flat feet. As you get older or you sustain injuries, the tendon in one or both feet might become damaged. The condition is also associated with illnesses such as muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy.
Who Is at Risk?
If flat feet is a condition that runs in your family then you’ll be more at risk to experience it yourself. If you’re a very physically active and athletic person, then you’re at a higher risk because you might end up suffering from ankle or foot injuries.
Older people are also more at risk because they are prone to physical injury and falls. People who have diseases that affect the muscles, such as cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy, are also at higher risk.
Other factors can include having diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and obesity.
What to Look For
If you have flat feet and you aren’t in any pain, then there’s no reason for you to be concerned. However, if your feet hurt after you stand for a long time or walk a long distance, then your flat feet might be the cause.
You also might feel pain in your ankles and lower legs. Your feet might feel numb or stiff. They may also lean toward each other and have calluses.
Treatment for Flat Feet
The first step in treating your flat feet is supporting your feet. Your doctor might recommend that you wear arch support shoes, which can help relieve any pain in your feet.
For children, they may need to wear heel cups or special shoes until their feet are fully formed.
You also might need to make some changes in your daily routine in order to reduce pain from flat feet. For example, your healthcare provider might suggest an exercise and diet program in order to manage your weight. This can help to reduce the pressure that’s on your feet.
Your doctor might also suggest that you don’t walk or stand for long periods of time.
In more serious cases, foot surgery might be utilized. This is usually a last resort measure.
Your orthopedic surgeon might make an arch in your feet. They also might fuse your joints or bones or repair your tendons.
If your Achilles tendon is too short then the surgeon can lengthen in and help to decrease any pain you might be experiencing.
The Importance of Knowing About Flat Feet
Hopefully, after reading the above article, you now have a better understanding of what flat feet are and what causes them. As we can see, flat feet might not be normal but they’re not necessarily something that you need to be concerned about. If you’re feeling pain in your feet or legs, then you should speak to your doctor and see what they recommend.
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