Ever wondered what flat feet are? Well, feel free to read through to understand what they are and the most common foot injuries you are likely to suffer from as a result of flat feet. When you take a look at your foot from the inside, you will realize there is an upward curve in the middle. The curve is called an arch formed by tendons attached at the foot bones and the heel. When the tendons fail to pull together correctly, you will notice there will be little or no arch. The little or no arch is what is called flat feet. The list below illustrates some of the causes of flat feet.
• Bones failing to form properly during conception
• Loose connective tissues in the body
• Medical conditions which include cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy
• Overstretched and inflamed connective tissues in the feet
Three most common foot injuries for flat feet
Research has shown that due to flat feet your feet are exposed to weight-bearing activities. In light of the above, the most common progressions for flat feet are bony stress injuries and foot deformities. As for an active person, hyper-pronation tends to alter the load transference as a result leading to stress response which includes shin splints. In other cases, the situation may be worse leading to stress fractures. Additionally, through your feet, the bones are also exposed to altered loads causing a bunion.
People suffering from flat feet are most likely to suffer from the three common foot injuries
Bunions refer to a condition where a large bump forms on the joint at the base of the big toes. It is normally referred to as the big toe deformity. The big toe points sideways towards the second toe and as time goes by the bunion becomes more prominent, and bunion pain develops. Additionally, a sore or red skin occasionally forms over the bunion.
The complex biomechanical changes in one’s feet result to the above condition. Flat feet play a significant role in the development of bunions and the pain is as a result of lack of an arch. Additionally, injuries to the foot aid the development of a bunion. The poor foot arch makes one biomechanically susceptible to bunions. Likewise, the type of footwear can cause bunions. Tight fitting shoes and high heels damage the toes. Your toes are most likely to adapt to the new position. Research has shown that the condition is common in women and is also triggered by aging.
How to treat bunions
First and foremost you will have to undergo an x-ray and an examination. The above will determine how severe the situation is before recommending any treatment. The treatment options for bunions include:
• Anti-inflammatory medications to reduce the pain and the discomfort.
• Orthopedic shoes to slow the progression of the bunion and the pain.
• Surgery to correct the bunion in severe cases.
Metatarsalgia refers to a number of problems experienced once the balance between the bones is disturbed. The Metatarsalgia bones share the weight when a person is walking or carrying out daily activities. One experiences mild to intense foot pain once the balance is disturbed. People with flat feet are most likely to experience this condition.
The common cause for Metatarsalgia is as a result of the alteration of the metatarsals posture of the foot. The failure of one bone creates a dysfunction among the other bones. There are also other causes such as arthritis, enlargement of the metatarsal head, ill-fitting shoes among others. The symptoms include discomfort when you wear socks or shoes and pain in the ball of the foot
How to treat Metatarsalgia
When treating Metatarsalgia, it is important to understand the cause. The cause will help you in treating the condition.
• The first treatment method involves your footwear. Find the right footwear that distributes pressure and weight uniformly across the feet.
• Take anti-inflammatory medications
• Massage the affected area
• Take part in corrective metatarsalgia exercises
Morton’s Neuroma otherwise known as perineural fibrosis refers to a condition where the sheath surrounding nerve forms a thick scar tissue after an irritation or inflammation. Morton’s Neuroma occurs between the third and the fourth toe and results in numbness. This condition usually is due to the changes of the complex biochemical happening in your feet. The body lays down a scar tissue in the effort to try and protect the overload structure. The primary causes include flat feet and tight fitting shoes such as high heels. The poor foot arch makes one susceptible to Neuroma.
How to treat Morton’s Neuroma
• Analgesics, ice therapy, and acupuncture protects the injury and minimizes the swelling.
• Joint mobilization and alignment techniques will aid in restoring your normal toe and muscle length among other techniques.
Three most effective ways to prevent foot injuries for flat feet
As we probably know by now, the natural arches are unique, and if one has flexible flat feet, then there is no problem. However, there are others who suffer from flat feet. They gradually become rigid and painful. Additionally, they are prone to foot injuries. When faced with the above condition the idea is to prevent foot injuries before they happen. It becomes easier to prevent an injury than to cure it.
1. Ensure that you have the right footwear. Wearing unsupportive shoes each day and for a long time causes your feet to adopt the shape of your shoes. Also, your feet will tend to over-correct the condition which in turn leads to fallen arches. In light of the above, it is highly recommended you switch your footwear often as a preventive measure.
The shoes need to be firm and flexible. As for the ladies, you should avoid wearing high heels for a long time. Carry your flats with you every time. High heels tend to alter your alignment and the center of gravity. You are most likely to be prone to the foot injuries if you wear them on a regular basis. We also understand that sometimes you must wear heels if so choose the ones with a wide width.
2. You can also buy orthopedic arch-supporting shoes. When shopping for these shoes ensure that you look for the ones branded “Arch Support.” The inserts will give you the foot support that you need when walking, running or jogging. You are likely to suffer if you do not have enough foot support. Your strides end up hurting causing you to overpronate.
Notably, shoes that have excellent support provide your fascia ligament with the proper backing absorb shock and provide the comfort you need. Moreover, they control the motion and correct over pronation. The above in turn encourages proper walking motion. Why cure it when you can actually prevent it. Support your arch and get to enjoy your daily activities without fear of injuring yourself in the process.
3. Try doing some exercise to strengthen your feet and walk barefoot every once in a while. I know it may seem absurd to walk barefoot, but it helps. Your feet will start learning new signals and in turn, create new responses.
Additionally, do not shy away from training barefoot. By doing the above, you get to strengthen your feet, improve your mobility and proprioception. Proprioception for those who do not understand it is the knowledge of the body’s position and movement and its ability to react accordingly. When you are barefoot your body is most likely to respond accordingly to a perceived change and in turn protecting your feet from injury.
Notably, you should spend most of your time exercising and strengthening your feet to prevent injuries and muscle strains. Mobilizing, strengthening and feet exposure aids in preventing foot injuries. Additionally, they can also heal the damages that already exists a result of a foot injury. Treat yourself to a foot massage at the end of the day (see more about foot trigger points for foot massage). You will be surprised at how the above goes a long way in preventing foot injuries.
To sum it up, flat feet are common in both children and adults. The condition affects one or both feet and can be painful. If one is careless on the type of footwear, the state can lead to prolonged and severe complications. As seen above, with flat feet the normal walking pressure that should be applied evenly shifts to other parts of the feet. The condition can lead to foot injuries that result to foot problems. Thus it is crucial to know and understand the causes of flat feet. When you know the above, you will understand the best treatment and prevention methods. The first step should be preventing the foot injuries. Prevention is cheaper and less painful compared to curing.
Most of the time we tend to expose ourselves to danger because of ignorance. Information is everything because it will help you understand the condition. You will know what to do and what not to do. For the people who thought it is alright to wear heels throughout the day they now know what they are exposing themselves to and the dangers of the exposure. Having flat feet does not mean that you should suffer foot injuries. Wear the right shoes, use the corrective supportive insoles and try and walk barefoot sometimes. The above minimizes the chances of suffering and alleviates discomfort. Take time to strengthen your feet.
Watch the video to learn more about flat feet.