Flatfoot is a condition diagnosed when the entire sole of the foot touches the floor flat without a visible arch when standing. It is commonly seen in infants and toddlers because the arch has not been fully developed. Foot arches are developed during early childhood years as a child learns to walk. Flat feet can also develop in adults when foot arches are lost or collapse.
Types Of Flat Feet
Flexible flat feet are typically seen when the arch begins to collapse. It gradually worsens and may cause pain in the ligament. In this type of flatfoot, the arch appears only when the foot lifts off the ground but lays flat when standing.
Tight Achilles Tendon
Achilles Tendon is a band of tissues that connects the calf muscle to the heel bone. In Tight Achilles Tendon, the arch is completely absent from the foot and causes pain when walking or lifting the heel.
Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction
This type of flatfoot occurs more commonly in early childhood. It is caused by injured or inflamed tendons that connect the calf muscle to the ligament. Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction might occur in one or both feet and causes pain both on the inner and outer sides of the ankle.
A person with flatfoot may experience mild to severe discomfort depending on the severity and type of condition he/she has.
- Pain along the posterior tibial tendon due to inflammation and swelling in the ankle.
- Discomfort in performing high-intensity physical activities involving running and rapid movement. Some patients might experience pain in walking or standing for long hours.
- While resting the foot, the heel may change position causing pain and discomfort
- No visible arch while lifting feet
- Diabetics may notice swelling in ankles and lower legs along with ulcers and skin problems. However, the patient may or may not experience pain along with the swelling.
- Patients with a history of arthritis may get noticeable bumps on the foot making it difficult to wear shoes.
Flatfeet can be caused by a variety of different reasons. It is a condition associated with the tissues and ligaments inside the feet and is normal in young infants and newborn babies. The arches in the feet are gradually formed in the early years of childhood. in rare cases, the arches may not fully develop and cause flat feet. Other causes of flatfoot in adults may include –
- Injury in ligaments
- Tight Achilles tendon
- Sedentary Lifestyle
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Injury to the posterior tibial tendon
Treatment Of Flatfoot
There are various corrective exercises that are proven to treat flatfoot. Some of these are-
This is a beginner exercise for individuals experiencing discomfort while walking. Wiggle your toe to strengthen the front small muscles. Hold up the thumb while pressing other fingers down then repeat in the opposite order. Repeat 5-10 times for each foot.
The short foot is a great exercise for stimulating the arch. To perform this exercise, sit in a chair with your back straight and toes pointed forward. Then contract the foot as you bring the toes closer to the heel. Hold the position for 5-10 seconds and repeat 10 times for each foot.
Heel raises are extremely helpful in stretching the foot muscles. To perform this exercise, stand up straight on your toes as high as possible. Hold the position for 1-2 seconds and return back to normal position. Perform this exercise in 2 sets of 10-20 repetitions.
The calf stretch targets a group of muscles in the lower leg including the arch and improves ankle stability and mobility. Stand adjacent to a wall and place your palms against it. Next, extend one leg while holding the other in a curtsy position. Hold the position for 1 minute. Do 4 repetitions for each leg.
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