FLAT FEET, FALLEN ARCHES & PRONATED FEET

Treatment of flat fleet, fallen arches and excessively pronated feet depends on the individual severity of the foot, the symptoms, and the cause of the problem
Perform Podiatry can help flat feet
Perform Podiatry can help flat feet

FLAT FEET & FALLEN ARCHES

Flat feet refers to a low arch height of the foot. Most flat feet are flexible and a higher arch will be present when the foot is non-weight bearing. When standing, walking and running those with flexible flat feet will notice that their arch height becomes lower and the foot rolls inwards. This movement is called pronation. Pronation is normal and is beneficial during walking and running. However, if the feet are excessively pronated then this may cause injury to your feet and legs.

It is normal for babies and infants to have flat feet. Until around two years of age, babies and infants have a foot fat pad that hides the shape of the arch. Children’s arch height will continue to develop until the age of between six and eight years. This is because young children have more flexible ligaments than adults.   Ligaments are the connective tissue that holds two bones together making them important for maintaining arch height when weight bearing.

CAUSES OF FLAT FEET

Common causes of flat feet:

  • Hypermobility (excessive flexibility of the joints) is the most common cause of flat feet. In order to maintain the integrity of your arch you require strong muscles, tendons and ligaments to support the arch when your body weight is pushing down on it. If you are hypermobile and your ligaments are too flexible, the arch flattens putting more strain on the tendons and muscles that support your arch.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Family history of flat feet
  • Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction (PTTD). The Posterior Tibialis muscle and its tendon is the primary muscle for supporting your arch and controls excessive pronation. When the Posterior Tibilialis tendon is placed under excessive load it loses its ability to continue to support the arch.
  • Torn ligaments, especially the spring ligament which is important for maintaining the shape of the arch. If the spring ligament is ruptured this will result in a fallen arch or flat foot
  • Pregnancy
  • Increased body weight
  • Rigid flat foot deformity can be caused by a fractured bone due to trauma, tarsal coalition, vertical talus position, peroneal spasm, iatrogenic, skew foot deformity or metatarsus adductus
flat feet fallen arches can be painful

SYMPTOMS OF FLAT FEET

Symptoms experienced from flat feet, fallen arches and excessively pronated feet depend on the severity and cause. Some people with flat fleet may not experience any symptoms despite having a low or flat arch height. Others may experience any of the below:

  • Flat or low arch height
  • Aching and pain in the arch of the foot
  • Sore, stiff legs that easily become tired with activity
  • Swelling around the inside of the ankle and arch of the foot
  • Frequently rolling or spraining your ankle
  • Children can be kept awake at night with sore legs or be relucent to walk long distance and partake in sporting activity
  • Infants may appear unstable and fall more frequently than other children of a similar age
flat feet physio therapy

TREATMENTS FOR FLAT FEET

Treatment for flat fleet, fallen arches and excessively pronated feet depends on each individual case, the symptoms, and the cause of the problem. Treatment can be as simple as wearing the right shoes or may require an orthotic (insole) to help support the alignment of the foot. Other treatment methods can include the below:

  • Rest
  • Medication to reduce inflammation and pain
  • Ice
  • Manual therapies such as massage, mobilisation techniques to help restore normal joint range of motion and dry needling
  • Footwear
  • Stretching and strengthening exercises
  • Supportive sports strapping tape for when short term or instant relief is required
  • Orthotics – inserts worn inside your shoes to the support the alignment of the foot
  • Ankle braces
  • Surgery in severe cases when pain caused by the flat foot or fallen arch is unable to be managed with conservative care

HELPING YOU ACHIEVE YOUR BEST RESULTS & KEEPING YOU ON THE MOVE

We listen to you, we work with you, and we design a treatment plan that meets your individual needs

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Perform Podiatry is committed to delivering high quality podiatry health care to our patients.  Our podiatrists achieve the best results by working with you to develop a tailored treatment plan that meets your needs and allows you to get back to living your life the way you want.

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