What are Flat Feet?
The term Flat Feet can be interpreted in two different ways. On one hand the foot collapses under the body weight and appears to have a very low arch or no arch at all. The shape of the foot makes it look as though the foot is over-pronating (in rolling). This condition is relatively rare and gives rise to no symptoms.
However where over-pronation occurs, the foot rolls in and rotates so that the arch seems to disappear and the foot appears to be flat on the ground upon weight bearing. In this case the foot does not function efficiently, which may give rise to painful feet.
What causes Flat Feet?
Over-pronation is the main cause of Flat Feet (flattening of the arch). During over-pronation the inner side of the foot is twisted against the ground and this can cause inflammation to the ligaments that run under the sole of the foot (Plantar Fasciitis). Pain can be located along the stretch of ligaments between the heel bone and the head of the metatarsals in the fore foot. Pain can also be located on the inner side of the heel bone and at times right under heel bone where a heel spur might developed.
Treatment and prevention of Flat Feet
Over-pronation can be treated by arch support insoles. These insoles will prevent some pronation and will provide comfort.
However, ideally custom made orthotics will correct the over-pronation of the foot and as such will eliminate the functional flat foot condition.
Footwear should also be examined to ensure there is a proper fit. Footwear with a firm heel counter is often recommended for extra support and stability. Improper fitting footwear can lead to additional foot problems.
This information is for guidance only. If you are in doubt at all, please consult your nearest health professional.