Flat Feet

What is Flat Feet?

People with flat feet experience an arch in the foot that is either non-existent or extremely low, causing the entire sole of the foot to rest flatly on the ground. Standing with flat feet causes the feet to point away from the body and the whole sole to make contact with the floor. 

Flatfeet can occur during childhood if the arches don't develop correctly. It may also develop later in life due to an injury or the impacts of aging.

Types of Flat Feet:

  1. Flexible flatfoot: Flexible flatfoot is the most common type of flatfoot. It is a congenital condition (from birth) where the foot arch flattens when the patient stands up but returns when the patient stands on their toes. 

  2. Rigid flatfoot: Rigid flatfoot occurs when the arch of the foot permanently stays flat and cannot be observed when the patient stands on their toes. This type of flatfoot is generally caused by arthritis or nerve damage. 

  3. Cavovarus foot: Cavovarus foot is similar to a rigid flatfoot where the arch remains flat and cannot return when the patient stands on their toes. However, the toes are pointed downwards at an unusually steep angle in this condition. 
  1. Pes planus valgus: Pes planus valgus is a condition in which the feet have a shallow arch or no arch. It often affects just one foot and can be caused by various diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and arthritis.

Signs and symptoms may include:

  • Pain in the feet and/or ankles. 
  • Difficulty standing up or walking. 
  • Swelling around the feet and/or ankles. 
  • Pain in the arch or heel of the foot. 
  • Excessive pronation when walking or standing. 
  • Aches and pains in the legs or lower back. 
  • Flat appearance in one or both feet. 
  • Uneven shoe wear. 
  • Loss of flexibility in the feet and/or ankles.
  • Joint stiffness in the feet and/or ankles.

Understanding the Causes of Flat Feet?

 A variety of structural and non-structural issues can cause Flat Feet. These can include: 

Genetics: Grounded arches can be inherited and run in certain families.
Age: The ligaments and tendons supporting the foot arch can weaken as you age.
Weight: Excess weight places more stress on your feet and can contribute to flat feet.
Health conditions: Certain medical conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes, can cause flat feet.
Foot or ankle injury: Fractures, tendon injuries, and dislocations can all lead to flat feet.
Wearing incorrect footwear: Shoes that lack arch support or don't fit properly can weaken the arch of your foot, leading to flat feet.

Risk factors - Factors that can increase the risk of Flat Feet include:

  • Obesity
  • Injury to the foot or ankle
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Aging
  • Diabetes
  • Arches can collapse abruptly after an injury

Exercises for Flat Feet

  • Heel Stretches
  • Tennis/Golf Ball Rolls
  • Arch Lifts
  • Calf Raises
  • Stair Arch Raises
  • Towel Curls
  • Toe Raises

Footwear Options for Flat Feet

  1. Motion control running shoes 
  2. Running shoes with maximum arch support 
  3. Custom orthotics 
  4. Sandals with good arch support 
  5. Stability running shoes 
  6. Rocker/rolling walking shoes 
  7. Hiking boots with cushioning 
  8. Walking shoes with cushioning 
  9. Skate shoes with a supportive midsole 
  10. Athletic sneakers with arch support

Orthotic devices for Flat Feet to help with support may include:

Custom orthotics: Custom orthotics are made from a mold of the feet to provide maximum support and comfort. 

Over-the-counter arch supports: These are available at most stores and pharmacies and can provide extra arch support to people with flat feet. 

Stability shoes: Shoes with extra arch support, such as motion-control running shoes, help to keep the arches of the foot supported while walking or running. 

Foot braces: Foot braces help correct the alignment of the feet and ankles, providing support and comfort.

Night splints: Night splints are worn while sleeping and help to maintain the arch position. 

Coping with the Effects of Flat Feet

Various options are available to manage the effects of Flat Feet, including the use of orthotic arch supports and custom-made shoes, which can help evenly distribute body weight and reduce stress on areas of the foot with excess pressure. 

Other treatments may include exercises to improve foot strength and flexibility, wearing appropriate supportive shoes and heel lifts, or using shoe wedges to relieve pressure on the inner sole of the foot. Surgery may also be an option for some people.

Planning Your Next Visit

For patients of all ages, our clinic in Ottawa provides individualized and compassionate care. We offer the most up-to-date techniques to support your return to an active and healthy lifestyle. Let's create the ideal strategy to help you heal and take action to prevent any further issues!

Are you trying to find the best podiatry treatment in Ottawa? Contact Greenberg Podiatry to speak with one of our experts and receive personalized guidance. It's a simple action that can have a significant impact!