The term flat feet is used to describe the condition where more of the arch comes in contact with the ground than is considered normal.
Not all flat feet are considered abnormal and pain is not the only indicator that flat feet are problematic, particularly with young children, as their perception of pain is very different to that of adults. Very young children appear to have less of a visible arch due to the fatty pad underneath their feet. As they grow, their arch should appear more obvious. If this doesn't appear to be happening, it is worth seeing one of our Podiatrists to assess your child's feet as, contrary to popular belief, children do not always "grow out of" having flat feet. In fact, some flat feet, if not managed in childhood, can develop into pathological, often painful, flat feet in adults. For this reason, if you have concerns with your child's feet, legs or walking pattern, it is important to have them assessed and treated by a Podiatrist earlier rather than later.
If you have flat feet, the condition will not go away on its own. Without treatment, your fallen arches begin to put strain and pressure on your ankles and knees. The tendons and ligaments connecting your feet to your knees and hips become stressed, leading to discomfort in your lower body joints. Over time, flat feet may lead to more serious problems in your body’s alignment, causing the angle of your joints in your hips, knees, and ankles to change slightly, resulting in excess strain on those joints.
Symptoms you may be experiencing:
- the arch of the foot comes in contact with the ground than is considered normal;
- arches of the feet may appear to have "collapsed";
- feet and ankles appear to roll inwards;
- pain in feet, particularly in arch and heel;
- pain ankles, knees and lower leg muscles;
- discomfort after standing or walking for prolonged periods;
- weakened posture resulting in discomfort in hips and lower back;
Initial care - things to try at home:
- wear supportive footwear with good arch support;
- if feet are particularly painful after prolonged standing or walking, elevation and/or ice may provide some relief (ensuring that there is a wet clothe between the ice and skin);
- maintain a healthy weight to take extra pressure off your feet;
- avoid high impact activities and training on hard surfaces.
Our approach to solving your problem:
- To identify the root cause of the problem, we will undertake a full biomechanical assessment.
- We will conduct a footwear assessment to ensure that supportive shoes are worn.
- We will consider whether an orthotic device may be beneficial.
- We will prescribe some exercises and stretches for you to do at home to assist with pain management and to strengthen the foot and lower leg muscles.
- It may benefit you to use massage as part of your pain management program, in which case, our Podiatrists would refer you to one of our experienced soft tissue therapists.
We will then create a management plan specific to you to:
- help settle the pain, if necessary;
- identify the biomechanical dysfunction;
- strengthen the related muscles;
- address the causative factors;
- provide long-term solutions, where possible;
- get you back to the activities that you enjoy!
If you would like help from one of our Podiatrists with managing pain caused by your flat feet, give us a call on 9894 2463 or book online to make an appointment.