Flat feet are usually caused when the tendons the ligaments for the small bones in the interior part of your feet are no longer able to adequately of your body and then slowly collapse or flatten. Flat feet are perfectly normal as we are developing and growing, and in the majority of cases the lower part of the feet gain strength and get stronger and form an arch. This arch serves as a cushion for our feet and the rest of our body. Obesity and losing improper footwear can be factors developing fallen arches and flat feet. It’s estimated that a quarter of the population has some type of flat feet. Luckily the majority of adult have no problems because they have flat feet. Though for some people it can cause pain in the legs and back. Flat feet can also limit how much you can walk without pain or participate in sports or other activities.
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Flat feet while growing up
It’s important to remember that flat feet are very normal in children. It’s perfectly normal for children from ages 0 to 5 years of old to have flat feet. In some cases, children can have flat feet up to 10 years of age, and then they’ll develop their arch. The reason for this is that it takes time for the ligaments bones and tendons in the interior part of the feet to form the support of arch. For this reason, one should not worry if children have flat feet especially if it doesn’t seem to cause any pain or discomfort while they’re walking or running. Since in the majority of the cases this problem will resolve itself it’s better to leave it alone unless a doctor recommends treatment.
Tense Achilles tendon
It’s also significant to know that tense tendons can cause our arches to fall and create flat feet. An extremely tense Achilles tendon from birth can create too much pressure on our foot and can be the cause of not having an arch or not develop a proper foot arch. The Achilles tendon connects the muscles from our calf to our heel. When it is too stiff or tense, it makes our heel rise before it actually needs to, and with each step that we walk, it adds tension and pain to the lower part of our foot. In these cases, your foot gets flat as you walk or standing up but the moment that you relax and remove weight the arch returns.
There are a few options for treatment you have a short Achilles tendon: an intensive stretching regimen or surgery.
Besides pain in your arch and heel, other common symptoms of flat feet are the following:
- back pain, knee pain or calf pain
- inflammation around the ankle
- problems trying to stand in your tippy toes
- difficulty running fast
- a hard time jumping
What is considered the "real flat feet" in adults?
It’s also important to remember that a bone deformity causes rigid flat feet. Our foot does not form an arch we have rigid flat feet. With this condition, weight does not affect your arches. Usually, this is what is considered the “real flat feet” because the always remain flat due to a structural problem in the inner foot. With rigid flat feet, it doesn’t matter what activity or stretches you do. This condition usually is present since birth, but it can also be acquired as an adult due to injury or sickness such as arthritis or osteoporosis.
- Using inserts and physical therapy can help relieve pain experienced by rigid flat feet.
How does obesity affects flat feet in adults?
Obesity is a significant cause of flat feet in adults. This type of flat feet is caused by the additional strain of the excessive weight we carry and the damage it causes to our posterior tibial tendon. This tendon’s soft tissue is an essential part of the foot’s arch since it gives the majority of the support. This tendon gets stretched because it has to support too much weight for long stretches of time such as when a person is obese and not using the proper footwear or adequate insoles.
- This condition does not happen on both feet at the same time. It can only occur in 1 foot, and it can also occur after we have fractured our foot or hurt our ankle since the other foot is holding up the entire body weight.
- When flat feet happen in adulthood, there is a reasonable likelihood the physical therapy can help reverse the issue and relieve the pain. – One of the most important things we can do is to lose weight to reduce the additional strain on our feet.
Fix flat feet
Fix your flat feet at home.
Using shoes that give you the proper support can help you fix some types of flat feet. Shoes that offer good arch support can provide benefits and can offer pain relief for many symptoms related to flat feet related pain. You should find footwear that is comfortable and whose arch support is a primary focus of its design; the heel needs to be firm and the footbed flexible with a wide front area. Proper support in the arches helps reduce attention and that posterior tibial tendon and in the Achilles tendon.
- You should not use shoes that have a heel that is over 2-2 ½ inches since these types of shoes can cause additional strain to your Achilles. And also remember that using a completely flat shoe can be bad for your flat feet since these don’t give proper support for your heel. A rule of thumb is to wear a shoe that has a heel between a quarter inch to half an inch in size.
- When you purchase new shoes, it’s always good to slowly break them in. Walking around in your house 30 minutes a day for a few days helps the shoe mold to your feet. That way when you start wearing them for hours at a time, they will already be comfortable and molded to your unique foot shape.
Orthotics and insoles.
If you have flexible flat feet, not rigid flat feet, and you spent a lot of time walking, or on your feet, you should find insoles that will definitely help alleviate some pain. Shoe insoles that are semi-rigid and give good arch support to your feet and help you maintain a proper foot position and form. Insoles are good since they absorb shocks exceptionally well as well as reduce the chances of additional foot problems such as ankle pain hip pain and possible knee pains.
- Orthotic insoles will not help for rigid flat feet since rigid flat feet are caused by a structural problem in the bones of your feet.
- When you find insoles that work great for you it’s recommended to purchase more than one pair since you will need to clean them every so often and it’s always good to have a backup pair.
The importance of weight and flat feet
Reduce your weight if you are obese. If you are overweight and especially if you are obese you should lower your weight to help reduce the stress placed on your bones ligaments and tendons of your feet. Lowering your weight will also promote your overall blood circulation. Losing weight does not help for rigid flat feet but it can have a positive effect on other types of flat feet. Many people tend to lower their weight just by eating under 2000 calories a day for women and 2200 calories a day for men. The weight loss can be even more if you’re able to exercise regularly.
- Many obese people develop flat feet and adulthood and also have a tendency to overpronate their ankles.
- For women, during the last months of pregnancy foot arches can fall and flatten their feet due to the additional weight their body has gained in the previous months but after the child is born their foot arches return and their feet return to normal.
- To lose weight, it’s always good to eat fish and chicken and less red meats; it’s also good to eat grains and cereals, fruits, vegetables and to drink a lot of water every day. Try to stay away from sodas and sugary drinks.
- We don’t recommend to use used or second-hand shoes since used shoes have already molded to the arch of the previous owner.
- Adults with rigid flat feet that do not get treatment can experience pain as well as permanently damage their foot. If you are experiencing foot pain, do not ignore the problem.
- Ask members of your family if they have developed flat feet and adulthood since genetics plays an important role in flat feet as well.