Unlike those who trade their feet for fashion, people with flat foot have a different kind of problem that is not self-inflicted. Flat foot is when the arch in your foot collapses, or never formed leaving the sole of your foot on the ground.
Like everything else in life, genetics plays a big role in this medical condition; however there are a lot of other causes for flat feet such as injury, weight gain, arthritis or poor biomechanics. It is startling how many people get flat foot from either not learning to walk correctly as a child or grow up practicing bad biomechanic habits and not even realizing it.
Flat foot is also very common in infants and children because their arch hasn’t developed yet in the early stages of life. It is not out of the ordinary for doctors to suggest having your child learn to walk barefoot, especially over uneven terrain to help build the arch. Sounds odd, but there is proof it aides in normal growth of an arch. Think about cavemen; they probably all had beautiful arches from rock climbing and hunting barefoot.
But seriously, if your child’s arch doesn’t develop by early teens, there is definitely cause for concern and you should reach out to a podiatrist. Just like you check to see if you child is outgrowing their shoes (to avoid hammer toe) you should be keeping tabs on the arch in their foot. Although most of the time flatfoot cannot be prevented, it can and should be treated as soon as possible.
Lucky for some there are two types of flat foot. I say lucky because if you have what is known as flexible flatfoot, you may not experience too many complications with this condition. Off-weigh-bearing, you have an arch, but when you are standing the arch goes away. This is fairly common and with a little stretching and the right footwear many people will go through life with no complications that effect their daily lives.
The complications lie within the rigid flat foot. This means whether you are standing on your feet or not, you do not have an arch. Not only does this leave you walking a little funny, but it can snowball into many other problems with your back, knee’s, ankles, hips and spine. The older you get, or the more pressure you put on your feet, the worse your problems can be.
Check back Wednesday where we will examine the lifestyle of those with rigid flat foot vs those with flexible flat foot, and what you can do at home to help yourself if you are experiencing this condition.