What is flatfoot?
Flatfoot (pes planus) is a
condition in which the longitudinal arch in the foot, which runs lengthwise
along the sole of the foot, has not developed normally and is lowered or
flattened out. One foot or both feet may be affected.
What causes flatfoot?
Flatfoot may be an inherited
condition or may be caused by an injury or condition such as
Who is affected by flatfoot?
Children as well as
adults may be flat-footed. Most children are flat-footed until they are between
the ages of 3 and 5 when their longitudinal arch develops normally.
What are the symptoms?
People who have flat feet
rarely have symptoms or problems. Some people may have pain because of:
- Changes in work
- Minor injury.
- Sudden weight
- Excessive standing, walking, jumping, or
- Poorly fitted footwear.
Children sometimes have foot discomfort and leg aches
associated with flat-footedness.
How is it treated?
Treatment in adults generally
consists of wearing spacious, comfortable shoes with good arch support. Your
doctor may recommend padding for the heel (heel cup) or orthotic
shoe devices, which are molded pieces of rubber, leather, metal, plastic, or
other synthetic material that are inserted into a shoe. They balance the foot
in a neutral position and cushion the foot from excessive pounding.
For children, treatment using corrective shoes or inserts is rarely
needed, as the arch usually develops normally by age 5.
is rarely needed.
You may be able to relieve heel pain by
stretching tight calf muscles. See a picture a
calf stretch exercise.
- Stand about
1 ft (30 cm) from a wall and
place the palms of both hands against the wall at chest level.
- Step back with one foot, keeping that leg
straight at the knee, and both feet flat on the floor. Your feet should point
directly at the wall or slightly in toward the center of your body. Keep the
knee of the leg nearest the wall centered over the ankle.
- Bend your
other (front) leg at the knee, and press the wall with both hands until you
feel a gentle stretch on your back leg (calf muscle).
- Hold for a
count of 10 (increasing the count to 30 or longer as you continue over several
weeks). Switch legs and repeat. Do this 2 to 4 times a day.