How flat feet is managed
Flat feet or pes planus develops once the ligaments, tendons and small bones found in the foundation of the feet could not properly support the body. Flat feet is normal among developing infants and toddlers, but the tissues found underneath the feet becomes fixed with age and form a shock-absorbing arch.
Flat feet in children are normal until the age of 5 years and sometimes as late as 10 years old. The ligaments, bones and tendons in the base of the foot usually take time to develop a supportive arch. Flat feet in children can sometimes cause pain. A tight tendon can also cause flat feet.
People with flat feet can experience pain especially in the heel or the arch area. Pain becomes worse when performing activities and the inside of the ankle is swollen.
- Wear supportive shoes regardless of the type of flat feet. Shoes with good arch support help provide relief for foot, leg or back symptoms. A comfortable walking or athletic shoe with arch support must have a firm heel counter, flexible sole and roomy toe box. Supporting the arches helps lessen the tension in the posterior tibial and Achilles tendon.
- Women with flat feet, should avoid wearing shoes with heels higher than 2 ¼ inches to prevent shortened and tight Achilles tendons. Avoid wearing completely leveled shoes to prevent placing too much pressure on the heel. Wear shoes that provide ¼-½ inch elevation for the heel.
- Utilize orthotics which is semi-stiff shoe inserts that help stabilize the arch of the foot and for proper biomechanics while walking, standing and running. Orthotics helps provide cushioning and absorption of shock and lessen the problems of joints on the knees, ankles, hips and the lumbar spine.
- Try to lose weight if overweight to minimize pressure placed on the bones, ligaments and tendons of the feet and increase blood flow in the area. Eat lean meat, fish, whole grains, fresh vegetables and fruits as well as drink plenty of water. Avoid sugary drinks such as soda pops to cut down weight.
- Seek the help of a physical therapist for some stretches and strengthening exercises for the feet. The Achilles tendons and calf muscles help restore the arch and making it more functional.
- Stretch a tight Achilles tendon by placing both hands against a wall with one leg outstretched behind in a lunge-like position. Position the outstretched foot flat on the floor and remain in this position for at least 30 seconds and repeat this procedure 5-10 times every day. The foot can be taped using a strong tape to help provide temporary artificial arch.
- Avoid wearing second hand shoes.
- A rigid and adult-acquired flat foot causes severe foot pain and should be treated properly to prevent permanent deformity of the foot.
- Flat feet usually run in families and partially inherited.