The condition known as “flat feet” is defined as not having an arch on the bottom of the foot. This allows the entire sole of your foot to rest completely on the ground. It is a common condition that is actually painless, until you start walking and running. Before you try and deal with your flat feet, there are a few facts your should know.
Causes of Flat Feet
The most common cause of flat feet is when the arches in your feet do not develop normally during childhood. The arch is comprised of the tarsal and metatarsal bones found in your feet. As you go through your growing stages the bones normally form a supportive arch. When this doesn’t happen you end up being considered flat footed. Injuries and even the aging process can erode your foot’s arch causing it to fall.
Symptoms of Flat Feet
There really are not any actual symptoms of flat feet, but the condition can cause foot and ankle pain. You may also experience sharp pain in your heels, but this is most often associated with runners and impact shock. Some people also experience swollen ankles, which can lead to additional problems. Varicose veins and poor circulation are just a few of the health conditions that can be caused by your flat feet.
Are You at Risk?
While some people simply do not develop arches in their feet during their early childhood, others can lose the support during their lifetime. Normal wear and tear can weaken the ligaments in your feet and ankles, causing your arches to fall. Certain foot and ankle injuries can also cause you to lose the support, along with obesity and rheumatoid arthritis. Any of these factors can put you at risk for developing flat feet later in life.
Treating Flat Feet
Treating your flat feet generally does not require surgery, unless a tendon is also injured. In most cases the right pair of shoes for flat feet can help prevent foot pain, and some related injuries. There are three types of shoes for flat feet, stability, support, and motion control. These shoes can give your feet and ankles extra support, while also acting as a shock absorber.
Along with wearing the right shoes, there are also several types of orthotic inserts that can make any type of footwear supportive and comfortable. Depending on the shoes, you can choose from inserts made from gel or foam cushioning that can help prevent pain and reduce impact shock. Inserts are especially helpful if you frequently experience heel pain caused by walking or running. Finding the best shoe insert will depend on the type of footwear and activities you’ll be doing.
Some people whose arches didn’t develop during childhood also have a shorter Achilles tendon, which can cause pain when you are walking. It can also make running almost impossible, along with jumping and climbing. Stretching exercises can help to loosen the tight tendon, making it easier to do the activities that you love.
Having flat feet doesn’t mean that you can’t live an active lifestyle, it simply means that you will have to take certain precautions to make sure that you can enjoy it without pain. Inserts, the right shoes, and simply stretching can all help you live a healthy and active life.
I have worked as a personal trainer since 2000. I have worked with clients of different ages and levels of fitness, including elderly and high-risk populations. The part of my job that I find most rewarding is seeing my clients not only improve their fitness, but also gain self confidence as their bodies change. I believe that all health and fitness is rooted in proper foundation of core strength and muscular flexibility.
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