When researching this topic using the key words “fallen arches,” one of my boys was under the impression that McDonald’s had collapsed! To the best of my knowledge, that is not the case, but there are thousands of falling arches across the country and even the world, and it is creating a rather uncomfortable dilemma.
While most of us may not give much thought to our feet on a regular basis, they are at the foundation of our physical being. If they are out of alignment or just not having a very good day, it can affect many areas along your skeletal structure. If you suffer from fallen arches, also known as flat feet, you are missing the arch support that is so crucial to supporting your body.
Individuals who have flat feet tend to shift the pressure of walking, then, to other areas of the feet, which ultimately leads to pain. If this goes untreated, those flat feet are not only painful in and of themselves, but they can generate a host of lower body joint problems, as well.
Flat feet are usually present at birth and are mainly hereditary. However, fallen arches can be brought on through foot abuse, such as standing or walking for appreciable amounts of time in high heels; wearing shoes that do not allow for proper arch support; or they can occur simply due to weakened muscles brought on by aging or heavy strain placed upon the feet. It’s no surprise, then, that being overweight could be a highly contributing factor.
When the muscles, ligaments, and tendons that support the arch of the foot are not functioning properly, then the arch cannot work to the best of its ability. Over time, these muscles, ligaments, and tendons may become stretched and unable to uphold the arch. Fallen arches are basically the failure of these elements to support the arch of the foot.
Fallen arches can contribute to a host of problems. If the foot remains flat throughout each step, the re-locking of the joints in the mid-foot fails to occur. As a result, the foot cannot push off strongly while walking. When the foot cannot be a strong lever for push-off, this engages the calf muscles, making them work harder.