Flat Feet is a common and usually painless condition whereby arches don’t form during childhood or collapse during adulthood. As a result, one or both of your feet have a little or no arch causing the pads to press on the ground when you stand. Your feet have no arch, but sometimes the arch appears when you lift your foot. Flatfeet are unproblematic for most people, but this condition can sometimes contribute to problems in your ankles and knees. If flat feet cause pain, your Flex Foot and Ankle PLLC healthcare provider may recommend therapy to manage the pain.
Types of flatfeet
Flexible flat feet are the most common form. Arches are visible when you are not standing but disappear when you put weight on your feet. This type of flat feet comes on during childhood or teenage years. It affects both feet and may cause pain as you age when the tendons and ligaments stretch, tear and swell.
Unlike flexible flatfeet with arches when no weight is put on the feet, people with rigid flatfeet have no arches when sitting or standing. Rigid flat feet usually develop in the teen years and worsen over time. Your feet may be painful, and you may have difficulty moving your feet from up and down or side to side.
A fallen arch or adult-acquired flatfeet is where the foot’s arch unexpectedly drops or collapses. As a result, the foot turns outwards and can be painful. Unlike other types of flat feet, a fallen arch may only affect one foot. The most common cause of this condition is posterior tibial tendon – inflammation or a tear in the leg tendon.
Vertical talus or rocker-bottom foot is a congenital disability that prevents arches from forming. Children with this congenital disability have feet resembling the bottom of a rocking chair, hence the rocker-bottom foot.
Causes of flatfeet
Infants and toddlers usually have flat feet because the foot’s arch has not developed yet. For most people, arches form throughout childhood, but some may never develop arches. People without arches may or may not have problems; flatfeet are a normal variation in foot type.
Some children have flexible flatfeet whereby the arch is visible when sitting but disappears when the child stands. Most children with flexible flatfeet outgrow this condition without problems.
People may also develop fallen arches over time when the tendon supporting your arch collapses due to wear and tear.
Risk factors for flat feet
Anyone can have or develop flatfeet, but women are more likely to develop this condition than men. Other risk factors for flat feet include:
- Age. Adults above 50 years are more likely to have fallen arches because they are vulnerable to age-related problems like osteoporosis, arthritis, weak muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
- Obesity. Excess body weight stresses various parts of your body, including your feet. The extra weight can cause the tendons and ligaments that form the arch to stretch.
- Diabetes. Patients with diabetes often have reduced sensation in the legs and feet, meaning they can have injuries like fractures and not feel the pain.
If you have painful flat feet, visit your doctor at Flex Foot and Ankle PLLC for therapy to improve your quality of life.