‘Flat feet’ (also called planus or pronated foot) is a term used to describe feet that “roll in” or are hypermobile. When your feet roll in excessively during stance, this gives the appearance that there is a loss of arch height of the foot. Most feet have an arch when non-weight bearing, and only collapse when they are standing on their feet (flexible flat foot). Some feet conversely are flat both non-weight bearing and when the foot contacts the ground (rigid flat foot).
Causes of flat feet
- Hereditary (largest contributer to flat foot formation)
- Internally rotated legs
- Limb length differences
- Tibialis Posterior Dysfunction (rare injury with ligament/tendon damage)
- Arthritic Changes in the foot and ankle joint
What symptoms might someone with flat feet experience?
- Sore feet (bunions, hammer toes, callus and corns)
- Heels (Heel pain/Plantar Fasciopathy, Sever’s, Tibialis Posterior Dysfunction)
- Shins (Shin Splints, Posterior Tibial Tendinopathy, PTTD)
- Calves (Cramping and tightness)
- Knees (Patellofemoral pain syndrome, runners knee, Osgood Schlatter’s)
- Thighs (ITB syndrome)
- Hips (greater trochanter bursitis)
- Upper and lower back
How can flat feet contribute to all these aches and pains?
Ideally with each step that we take our foot should move through a smooth transition of the arch coming up and the arch coming down. The issue with either a flat foot or a high arched foot is that the foot will tend to spend the most part of the gait cycle in a bias of the arch remaining high or flat. With a flat foot, the foot remains with the arch lowered, resulting in a more flexible foot as it lacks the necessary stage of the foot having more stability and rigidity. With this occurring from the feet up, ground reaction forces from the impact of the foot hitting the ground are not effectively distributed. This can cause movement compensations to allow more stiffness in other joints.
“I think I have flat feet, should I get them checked?”
If you have any concerns over your foot type or posture we would encourage you to come in for a check-up.
The main concerns we would warrant for immediate Podiatry care include:
- Either acute or ongoing foot pain
- Pain and dysfunction through ankles, knees, hips and low back- it is all connected
- Excessive wear patterns on shoes requiring frequent shoe updates
- Concerns about the way you are walking
- Frequent tripping
- Limb length discrepancies
- Concerns about children’s feet – early intervention is key
- Painful feet associated with Arthritis
- Ankle weakness
Here at Pod Fit we will carry out a detailed biomechanical assessment of your feet, legs, knees and hips to identify the root cause of your pain. An analysis of your walking pattern using video gait analysis software is performed to assess the effect on your gait.
We will then discuss your treatment options which may include a pair of custom flexible insoles to control any abnormal forces that are causing any associated pain or other symptoms.
Casts of your feet are taken and a detailed prescription is created for you from which a pair of orthotics is made. The orthotic fits inside your shoes comfortably to support your arch and feet in their most optimal position, which will affect your leg and body posture. Different conditions will require specific therapy which may involve exercises, mobilisation, manipulation, massage, footwear advice or dry needling. These options will be discussed at your consult.
What’s the best news with flat feet?
They can be trained to be stronger! We get fantastic results with our clients as we focus our therapy on returning strength and stability to your feet and legs through specific exercises. If we are providing you with orthotic supports through your treatment, we will also provide you with a graded exercise program to work on training your feet to be able to cope with all the demands of your day, while having the support in place to allow a quicker recovery and comfortable feet!