Flat Feet Solutions

What To Do About Flat Feet Pain – The No Surgery Approach

Are you having flat feet pains?

Are you looking for ways to go about this?

For practical answers to these questions and others, you will do well to continue reading. We will show you some methods to apply as regards flat feet pain. However, let us explain a little about flat feet. 

what are the best insoles for flat feet
Photo Credit: Esther Max, flickr.com

To resolve flat feet pain without surgery- Engage in regular exercises. Adequate rest is also needed. Wear appropriate shoes and not tight-fitting shoes that irritate the feet. Make use of homemade treatments and massage with oils. – “what to do about flat feet pain”

What to Do About Flat Feet Pain—Meaning and Causes

Flat feet is a condition that describes when the arch on the surface of a foot is flat, less visible, or absent. It is a state that is characterized by the soles of the feet being plain on the floor in contrast to the norm. 

The feet are parts of the body that form the outer layer of the legs which touch the ground. They are used for walking, running, and leaping. They consist of muscles, joints, bones, soft tissues, bones, and so on. 

Furthermore, they are divided into the hindfoot, midfoot, and forefoot. The foot is usually raised up slightly beneath the inner part when an individual stands, walks, or sits.

In some cases, the feet may be plain on the floor and this is usually referred to as Flat feet or fallen arches. 

Flat feet can be experienced in various ways. For instance, when weight is placed on it, that is, when an individual stands or walks it becomes flat. On the other hand, it remains flat when no weight is placed on it.

what to do about flat feet
Photo Credits: Daniel Max, Flickr.com

Most times, flat feet are painless if they are developed at childhood. However, it could be painful if it is developed through an injury or accident, obesity, arthritis, among others. Often, it affects the alignment of the knees, ankles, and legs.

Some causes of this type of feet could be hereditary, aging, pregnancy, cerebral palsy, muscular disorder, and so on. Flat feet lead to distress, movement imbalance, pain, and imperfect posture thereby affecting the overall wellbeing of an individual.

What to Do About Flat Feet Pain– Basic Symptoms

Flat feet pain most times is characterized by the following:

  • swelling 
  • discomfort in the legs
  • difficulty in walking, running, and jumping
  • pain in ankle, knee, arch
  • lower back,
  • Stiffness in the feet
  • Uneven weight distribution
  • Difficulty in wearing shoes and so on.

As stated earlier, this article is given to solving the problem of this type of feet pain. Considering this, here are some remedies to flat feet pain.

What to Do About Flat Feet Pain– Remedies

Flat feet pain can be relieved without surgery by:

Regular exercises like stretching the heels, calf raises, or rolling the feet on a golf ball

Rest

Use of appropriate shoes

Homemade treatment.

To start with, you should know that there is no one remedy or treatment for flat feet pain. This is because of the peculiarities and differences inherent in humans. The cause of these feet pain varies also with various degrees and complications.

You are to, therefore, go through the remedies below and find out what works best to achieve the desired result.

Two or more of the remedies can be combined. What is majorly important is that you choose the remedy that suits you without creating any side effects.

Here are some of the remedies:

Regular Exercises

Some of these recommended exercises include:

  • Stretching the Heels
  • Rolling the feet on a golf ball or tennis ball
  • Raising the arches as in form of tiptoeing
  • Towel curls
  • Calf raises and so on

This plays a very crucial part in easing flat feet pain. Most people with flat feet pain are advised to carry out exercises regularly to increase the flexibility of the muscles in the feet. 

This can also help to reduce the body weight on the feet. Stiffness of the feet which causes flat feet pain can be treated using this method. 

Exercises generally tone the muscles and help to make the body healthier. However, for flat feet pain-specific exercises help to reduce to flat feet pain.

Below is a video on some flat feet exercises.

Video: 7 Best Flat Feet Treatments – Ask Doctor Jo 

You must try as much as possible to avoid high impact activities like jumping or running as this can aggravate the situation. In severe cases, long walks should be avoided to prevent complications. 

The services of physiotherapists can also be employed to help in facilitating these exercises as this would serve as an added advantage. 

However, you should be careful of the type of exercises you carry out so as not to make things worse. It should be carried out slowly and consistently. If you cannot carry out intense workouts, you should be consistent in the little bits you do as this will still yield results.

Rest 

Aside from exercises, rest is also an effective remedy for flat feet pain. Rest creates an opportunity for the tissues, muscles, bones, and nerves in the feet to relax. Sometimes flat feet pain is characterized by pain on the ankles, hips, and legs and this can be treated with sufficient rest.

Rest can serve as an effective therapy as it enables you to sleep; you cease from doing any activity that can cause stress and anxiety. Through lying down or sitting in an upright position with the feet placed above the ground, the tension or weight on the leg is eased. By and large, rest helps a lot in getting rid of this type of foot pain.

Use of Appropriate Shoes

Flat feet pain can be caused sometimes by wearing tight shoes and shoes that cause discomfort to the feet. 

You should always try to wear appropriate shoes or foot inserts that will make the feet less irritated. Rather than buying just any shoe, there are some healthy shoes for flat feet.  These include plantar fascutis, brooks, cobb hill, dansko, and Arcopedico among others. 

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Some of the factors to look out for when choosing shoes are the reels, crowding of the toes, softness, and comfortability. 

Homemade Treatment

You can try using homemade treatments like ice packs to prevent swelling or inflammation. You can also massage with oils like coconut oil, shea butter, and over the counter pain relief drugs like ibuprofen. Warm water can also be used to bathe the flat feet to reduce soreness.

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This treatment is effective in relieving flat feet pain quickly and easily.

Conclusion

If you experience severe pains for a long time, surgical treatment is advisable. You need to see a doctor to re-align the tendon to the arch and straighten the foot. Surgery is the last resort if flat feet pain is aggravated and can as well be avoided if it is treated early.

Finally, flat feet pain can become complicated if not treated with seriousness on time. You should, therefore, take note of changes in your feet. Eat a healthy diet as this can help to reduce the weight on the flat feet and take time out to go for medical check-ups.

What to do About Flat Feet Pain — Related FAQS

What’s Good for Flat Feet?

The following are good for flat feet: 

  1. Use orthotic devices and insoles
  2. Wear appropriate shoes
  3. Rest 
  4. Avoid high impact activities to reduce pain
  5. Avoid weight gain. This will help to reduce pressure on the feet
  6. Physical therapy
  7. Over the counter drugs like Ibuprofen can relieve flat feet pain
  8. Massage with oils like coconut oil, shea butter, etc.

Flat feet have their own peculiarity. Hence, the points stated above will help you live a healthy and pain free life with your flat feet.

How do You Massage Flat Feet?

Flat feet can be massaged by following these methods:

Method 1- Use a Golf ball

  • Get a golf ball or tennis ball
  • Place it on the floor
  • Put your foot on it 
  • Roll it with your foot 

This method requires that you exert a bit of pressure as you roll your foot on the ball. This will help to massage the arches and other parts of the foot.

Method 2- Heel Stretching

You can massage your flat feet by stretching the heels.  This involves the following steps:

  • Place the heel on a flat surface
  • In repeated turns, stretch it backward and forward
  • Bend the soles of your feet as you stretch to form a C- shape

You can repeat the process again. It helps the flat feet to be flexible and helps the arches to take its shape.

Method 3: Towel Curls

This method involves using a towel.

  • Place a towel on the floor
  • Put your feet on the towel
  • Using your feet, try folding the towel to form straight curls

It is a simple method. If done properly, it can help the arches regain its flexibility and repair the tendon tissues. 

Do Flat Feet Grow Worse Over Time?

Flat feet could grow worse over time when it is not treated. This is because it causes pain and weakens the tendons around the foot arches. It can also worsen the alignment of the ligament and lead to a permanent disability if it is treated with levity.  

You should therefore see a doctor for advice on what to do about flat feet so as not to incur complications and untold expenses. If it is discovered on time, treatment should begin as early as possible.

How Does Flat Feet Affect the Body?

Flat feet can affect the alignment of the body. It affects the general body posture while walking, sitting, standing, squirting, bending, running etc.

It is obvious as an individual carries out his daily activities. This is because the feet are an important part of the body. It can also affect the ankles, hips, thighs, and legs which can lead to pain, fatigue, distress, and bone dislocation.

It can also affect the body by causing swelling, irritation, and inflammations which might sometimes be painful.

How Do I Get an Arch Support for Flat Feet?

You can get home-made or readymade arch support for flat feet. They provide support for your arches. To make one you need:

  1. Scissors
  2. Quarter edge easy felt
  3. Shoe insoles

The steps involved in making an arch support for flat feet include:

  • Remove the insoles from your shoes
  • Measure the arch part which is usually at the center of the insole
  • Cut out a semi-circle of 3- inches from the easy felt
  • Place on the insoles to check if it fits
  • Trim the sides of the easy felt and attach it to the insole 
  • Make sure it sticks properly to the insole
  • Cut out a smaller semi- circle
  • Place on the top of the first semi- circle made from insoles
  • Put your insole back into the shoe and check if it fits.

Arch supports help to provide an alignment to flat feet. Repeat the same process for the other insole.

Do Ankle Braces Help Flat Feet?

Ankle braces can be used to provide support for flat feet. It realigns the talocrural, subtalar, and the inferior tibiofibular joints in the ankle.

Ankle braces help people with flat feet to gain stability as they walk, run, stand, or sit. It is also ideal for flat feet because it helps the arches to take shape. It relieves excess pressure on the arches of the feet.

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Also, it helps to position the arches rightly. This reduces the pain and discomfort that accompanies flat feet.

Flat feet Care

How to Wear High Heels with Flat Feet
Photo Credit: Albert Watson, wallpaperflare.com

Have you been wondering if you can wear high heels with flat feet? Well, if there are no underlying medical conditions and if it does not cause you pain, you can.

Flat feet, sometimes referred to as pes planus, is a condition of the feet in which the entire surface of the foot is in contact with the ground when standing.

Flat feet can be flexible or rigid. If a flat foot is flexible, the foot looks flat when the person is standing or when the weight of the body is borne by the foot. If a flat foot is rigid, the arch is always absent when the foot is bearing the body weight or not.

Flat feet are caused a lot of factors, but the primary cause is genetics. If your parents have flat feet, it is likely that you might develop flat feet too, whether they are present already or not.

Other causes of flat feet are injuries, muscle dystrophy (weakness), arthritis, weight gain, foot bone deformation, diabetes, pregnancy, among others.

How Can I Find Out If I Have Flat Feet?

There are several ways you can find out if you have flat feet. You can find out by doing some home tests or by seeing a podiatrist for proper examination.

If you want to find out if you have flat feet by yourself, you can do the following:

  • Wet both feet and stand on a wooden floor or cardboard. If there is no curved imprint at the inner side of your foot, you might have flat feet. The whole imprint of your foot will not show if you have a normal arched foot.
  • If you feel pain on your hips, lower back, calf, and the inner ankles after running, walking, or standing for a while, you might have flat feet.
  • If your shoes wear out on the inner parts of your feet, you might have flat feet.

When any of these tests are positive, it does not mean that you should feel anxious or emotional. Flat foot is not a deformity. There are diverse ways you can manage flat feet and engage in any activity you desire.

There are also treatment methods that can be used if the flat foot is accompanied by pain or if it is caused by a bone deformity.

How Can You Fix Flat Feet?

If you suspect that you have flat feet and it is causing you pain and discomfort, see a podiatrist. An evaluation will be performed on your feet to determine if you have flat feet, the cause of the pain. A procedure you could use to manage your flat feet will be suggested.

Some of the procedures used in the management of flat feet are orthotic insoles, therapy, feet exercises, change in shoes and lifestyle, and surgery if necessary.

How to Wear Your High Heels If You Have Flat Feet?

Wearing high heels is difficult but it is more difficult for people with flat feet. This, however, does not mean that you should not slip on a heeled shoe when an occasion calls for it. Below are the tips that can make heels wearable and a bit comfortable if you have flat feet.

Prepare Yourself

If you want to experience little or no pain while wearing high heels on a flat foot, the first step to take is to get prepared.

Put in some materials that will help you get through the day in your bag. Carry a flat foldable shoe, anti-blister cream for sore feet and toes, plasters for broken or damaged toenails and sticky plasters.

Choose the Right Shoe Size

The most common cause of foot pain when wearing heels is choosing the wrong shoe size. Foot size changes over time mostly after a major illness or after pregnancy.

It is, therefore, a clever idea to have your feet sized at least once every year. This is quite important if you buy most of your shoes online.

When buying shoes offline, wear shoes, and take a brief walk in them. This will enable you to discover if the heels are comfortable or likely to cause blisters and pain over time.

Knowing your correct shoe size at any particular time will help you to choose the right high heel shoe and be comfortable while wearing them.

Since flat feet can cause pain when you stand or walk for a while, it is best to step in the most comfortable high heel shoe you can get. Your comfort is more important than fashion and trends.

Choose Thick Heels Every Time

Do not wear thin heels and stilettos. They can be hard to walk around with. Great effort is put to remain balanced on heels and this might put a strain on your feet, ankles, hip, and back. The thicker the heel you choose, the better.

Also, you should also choose platforms and they should not be too high. 2½ -3 inches heels should be considered all the time.

Take Breaks Whenever Possible

Whenever you get the chance, always kick off your heels and stretch your legs, ankles and feet. This will make the pain bearable if there is.

Remember to carry a flat shoe every time, so that if the heels cause pain, blisters or dislocation, you can switch into something flatter and more comfortable.

You could look up toe and feet stretch exercises online. Carry out these exercises at any convenient time during the day.

Use Arch Support Shoe Insert

To make high heels not to strain the muscles of the feet to an extent that it causes pain, try using arch support shoe inserts. Also known as silicone gel pads, they can offer cushion, comfort, and support to the soles of your feet and prevent pain.

Buy Dr. Foot’s Arch Support for Flat Feet on Amazon

They can be used to prevent soreness of the feet caused by standing or walking for too long. It can also prevent your feet from sliding forward in your high heel, thus preventing blisters and toe pain.

Best High Heels For Flat Feet

Flat Feet Solutions

shoes for flat feet
Photo Credit: Elaine Smith, flickr.com

Flat feet (also known as fallen arches or pes planus) is a physiological disorder that occurs when the arch that is present in the foot flattens or collapses and is partially or completely touching the floor.

It might be present at birth or can be developed over time. Flat feet can be detected by visual tests, by x-ray and CT imaging.

If the pain is felt on the feet after long periods of standing, flat feet might be the cause. Sometimes it can be accompanied by back, knee and hip aches.

Watch a video on this topic below:

Flat feet in children are caused by abnormal joint formations and baby fat that is stuck between the bones.

They are usually flexible because they appear normal until the child stands and the feet bears weight. This flexible flat foot can become normal and becomes rigid as the child grows.

Adult flat feet are usually rigid and permanent and are caused by illnesses, injuries, accidents, high heel shoes, and autoimmune diseases.

Most times, flat feet do not cause pain or any symptoms, therefore it does not require treatment. If pain exists, some of these treatment options can be used:

  1. Supportive shoes
  2. Physical exercises and therapy
  3. Arch support orthotics and insoles
  4. Surgery

Supportive Shoes for Flat Feet

There are three categories of shoes for flat feet. They are:

Stability shoes

They are suitable for people that their body weight is shifting towards the inner part of the foot and those whose foot arches are collapsing.

Cushioned shoes

They are suitable for feet that have a high arch or that are rigid. If the foot shifts the bodyweight towards the outer ankle during physical activities (supination), then this shoe is most suitable.

Motion-control shoes

They are suitable for people that experience severe pains due to their flat feet after physical activities like walking and running.

Best Walking Shoes and Sandals For Flat Feet

Rockport Men’s Eureka Shoe

This shoe offers great comfort, cushioning, heel stability, removable footbed, and a wide toe box to enable forefoot flexibility.

The sole is made from rubber that provides superb cushioning, and the footbed is made from latex foam. It has a full-grained leather upper, with a moisture-absorbing mesh lining that makes the shoe breathable.

The interior is fully padded, and the EVA midsole provides great shock absorption and durability.

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CLARKS Women’s Sillian Bella Mary Jane Flat

It is made from 100% synthetic material and possesses and orthotic footbed that provides maximum support for overpronated and supinated feet. It is slim, soft, lightweight and is perfect for walking long distances.

The fabrics used in the design of this shoe is stretchy to enable easy and fast movements. It also possesses a flexible and breathable EVA sole and a removable orthotic insole for total comfort and support for achy feet.

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Best Running Shoes and Sandals for Flat Feet

ASICS Women’s Gel-Venture 6 Running-Shoes

This shoe is made with the forefoot and rearfoot GEL design that reduces the shock impact phase and helps the foot to revert to midstance.

The sock liner is removable to allow the insertion of an orthotic insole or arch support inserts.

It is designed to suit different types of terrain and to help make uphill and downhill movements less painful to the arches and ankles.

The sole is produced with the reputable ASICS High Abrasion Rubber (AHAR) for great durability, feet stability, comfort and cushioning.

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ASICS Men’s Gel-Contend 5 Running Shoes

It is designed to help people that have flat feet walk and run for longer distances. It offers superb stability and cushioning due to its unique design and premium materials used in its construction.

Its rearfoot GEL technology and the midsole made with AMPLIFOAM provides the needed cushioning and comfort needed to go the extra miles.

The breathable mesh liner, removable orthotic insole, and a solid abrasive rubber sole make the shoe durable, feel natural on the foot and has a great cooling effect.

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Best Work Shoes for Flat Feet

Skechers for Work Men’s Cottonwood Elks Slip Resistant Shoe

Designed to reduce pains experienced in flat feet when standing or moving for a long time. This leather shoe is slip-, oil- and chemical resistant.

It possesses a wide toe box to support forefoot flexibility and a well-detailed side and heel leather design to provide heel stability.

It has a padded collar and tongue and Memory Foam for great cushioning while standing. It also has a removable sole to allow the insertion of prescribed insoles.

It has a midsole with the great shock-absorbing ability and a slip-resistant nitrile rubber outsole.

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Best Hiking Shoes for Flat Feet

JOOMRA Women’s Minimalist Trail Running Barefoot Shoes

This shoe is designed to provide support and comfort during climbing and running on rough terrains.

It is most suited for lateral climbing, trail races, and fitness training. It is lightweight, fits snugly to the foot and is totally breathable.

Its rubber soles provide maximum support and balance in difficult terrains while its circular sole patterns provide proper grip on rough surfaces.

The insoles are removable and provide a great deal of arch support, shock absorption, and weight distribution.

It is also designed with heel counters that reflects light, making it suitable for night exercises.

Buy these Barefoot Trail Running Shoes on Amazon

Best Casual Shoes, Sneakers, and Flats for Flat Feet

Clarks Men’s Raharto Plain Oxford

This shoe can pass as a casual shoe and as a dress shoe too. The rubber soles provide traction and comfort in every step. It can also be used as a working shoe.

It is designed with premium leather and a synthetic sole. The footbed is removable to accommodate prescription insoles. It is ultra-lightweight, possesses smooth lining fabrics and soft paddings for optimum cushioning.

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JOOMRA Women Lightweight Sneakers

These lightweight 3D grid-pattern knitted shoes are designed to fit snugly on the foot like a sock and provide comfort during movement. The ultra-light synthetic outsole feels like a feather on the feet.

It is suitable for activities like walking, jogging and running and the knitted upper is breathable and will keep the feet cool during physical activities.

The tongue possesses an integrated collar that is low cut to take up the shape of the feet to provide all-day comfort.

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Skechers Men’s Afterburn Memory-Foam Lace-up Sneaker

This shoe is made with a flexible high-traction Articu-Lyte sole that offers great heel stability, arch support, and comfort during movements.

The tongue and collar are padded and the textile lining is breathable to cool the feet.

The insole is made with Memory Foam that provides great cushioning effects and comfort with added durability.

The leather is quite smooth and the mesh upper is perforated and stitched delicately to keep the feet comfortable while offering the needed support to supinated and overpronated feet.

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Clarks Women’s Breeze Sea Flip-Flop

This flip-flop is incredibly lightweight and its flexible EVA midsole and footbed make it as comfortable as ever.

The materials are manmade and the otholite footbed is proven to provide premium support to flat feet. The soft textile lining makes the shoe breathable and cools the feet.

The closure is adjustable to fit any feet size and provide extra visual satisfaction.

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Vionic Women’s Adilyn Slipper

These soft and supportive slippers are designed to provide the same orthotic support as flat feet shoes.

It takes up the shape of the feet and provides essential support for the feet in movement. It can be used as a casual, dress or activewear.

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Reef Men’s Fanning Flip Flop

This sandal possesses a contoured EVA footbed that provides maximum arch support and cushioning.

It is water friendly and suitable for any water adventure. Its heel bag is a full 360 degrees and offers heel stability and a great cushioning effect.

It has a bottle opener on the sole that provides the thirst-quenching technology (TQT) and is designed to provide comfort and relaxation of the feet in every step.

The compression-molded EVA sole and polyurethane-enclosed heel bag make the feet feel like it is walking on clouds.

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Factors to Consider While Choosing Running Shoes for Flat Feet

It is sometimes overwhelming to find the right shoes for walking, training and other physical activities. There are a lot of factors you could consider before buying shoes.

Comfort

Comfort is an important factor to consider while choosing shoes to help in the management and treatment of flat feet.

The shoes should be soft and provide enough cushioning when the foot hits the ground. It should also have soles that offer adequate arch support are not rigid.

Also, the shoe should have a wide toe box and a heel that is not floppy so that it will help the feet to properly distribute the force exerted on it by the bodyweight during physical activities.

Ensure to try out shoes first before buying them and in the presence of a shoe expert. Always buy shoes in the morning or midday before the feet get swollen from daily activities. Always make sure that the shoe can be returned if they are uncomfortable and do not properly fit.

Gait

This is simply the way the body moves when steps are taken. The gait is determined through a walking test and differs from individual to individual. The gait can be normal or abnormal.

Abnormal gait can be a result of an accident, injury, illness, bone deformation or muscle disorders. Flat feet can also cause abnormal gait especially if overpronation or supination is present.

When choosing a shoe for flat feet, gait should also be considered. If the flat feet cause the feet to move inwards, shoes that offer great arch support should be chosen.

Likewise, if the feet supinate, a shoe that has a superb cushioning should be chosen since ankle pain could be a great issue.

VIDEO: Normal Gait and Common Gait Abnormalities

This video explains the different types of gaits. it also differentiates the normal gait from the abnormal gaits.

Foot Shape

The structure and shape of flat feet are somehow different from that of normal feet. Flat feet are wider than arched feet and hence covers more space in a shoe.

It is therefore very important to choose wide shoes that will not squeeze the feet together and cause discomfort.

The proper shoes for flat feet should not have an hourglass shape like the shoes meant for arched feet. They should be straight and wide enough to accommodate the feet comfortably.

Material Used

Motion-control shoes used in the treatment and support of flat feet should be made with durable and strong materials.

It is targeted to help in the correction of muscular movements and as such should not be too flexible else it can’t achieve that purpose.

It should be strong enough to bear the forces exerted to the feet by the body and at the same time preventing the feet from moving in its original manner.

The shoe should be made with durable polyurethane materials, especially at the soles and arch support system.

Foam materials are also reputable for its strength, durability and superb cushioning effect. It is also advisable to look out for shoes produced with foam materials.

Design

This is the style that the shoe producer integrated into the shoe, putting into consideration a lot of purposes the shoe is meant for.

Some of the design attributes that are put into consideration in the choice of flat feet shoes are:

  • Midfoot stability
  • Rigidity at the sides
  • Shock absorption
  • Foam of dual-density in the soles for a proper rebound
  • Proper weight distribution
  • Rigid heel cups
  • Guiding rails for proper gait maintenance
Flat feet Care

How To Fix Flat Feet

Flat feet (pes planus) refers to a condition whereby the feet arches collapse and are in total or partial touch with the floor. It is also referred to as pes planus, pes valgus, fallen arches or pronated feet.

how to fix flat feet
Photo Credit: commons.wikipedia.org

The arches on the feet are flexible, put springs on our steps and help the feet to carry the weight of the body.

A flat foot changes the way the person walks and stands. The foot will shift toward the inner side while walking. This is called overpronation.

This condition is normal in babies and toddlers, but it disappears after two or three years. Sometimes, it is hereditary but there are several ways to fix flat feet.

What Are the Types of Flat Feet?

The two types of flat feet are:

1. Flexible flat feet

2. Rigid or Inflexible flat feet.

Flexible Flat Feet

This is a type of flat feet which is visible when a person stands and disappears when the person sits.

It is common in children and can disappear when they are about two or three years old.

Some children don’t outgrow the flexible foot and have flat feet in adulthood.

Children suffering from genetic disorders like Down’s Syndrome are more likely to develop this type of flat feet.

This type of flat feet cause no pain or show any symptoms. It does not require medical attention or physical therapy unless pain occurs after walking, running or sports activities.

This disorder can be corrected by stretching the calf muscles, rolling a ball under feet, feet clenching, walking and standing on the toes, and shoe modifications.

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Rigid Flat Feet

This happens as a result of disorders in feet development. The two main disorders that can result in rigid flat feet are:

Vertical Talus

This video explains how the change in position of the talus bone can cause fallen arches.

This occurs when the talus is pointing in the wrong direction and the bones that are supposed to be in front of it, is positioned above it.

A talus is a small ankle bone that is between the shin and the heel bone.

In vertical talus, the talus point towards the ground instead of pointing towards the toes.

After some time, thick skin patches will occur on the feet and cause difficulties when shoes are being worn.

Most times, the condition is treated by surgery from the age of 2-6 years. Corrective surgery can be performed in adulthood if the problem reoccurs.

This deformity has a less severe form called the oblique talus.

Tarsal Coalition

This happens when a joint is not formed but a rigid bone or fibrous material is formed instead.

When a rigid bone is formed instead of a joint, it is called a bony coalition while the forming of a fibrous structure is known as a fibrous coalition.

These bony coalition disorder form at birth and the two types of tarsal coalitions are the talocalcaneal and calcaneonavicular coalitions.

The talocalcaneal coalition involves the talus and calcaneus bones while the calcaneonavicular coalition involves the calcaneus and navicular bones.

What are the Causes of Flat Feet?

Causes of Flat Feet are:

  1. Bone deformation at birth
  2. Nerve disorders
  3. Rheumatoid Arthritis
  4. Inflammation of the tendons
  5. Pregnancy
  6. Diabetes
  7. Obesity
  8. Aging
  9. Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome
  10. Muscular dystrophy
  11. Cerebral palsy

Pronation is the ability of the feet arch to flatten and absorb shock. This occurs when the feet hit the ground while running, jumping, and walking.

In a flat feet condition, it overpronates. This makes the arch fall flat as the feet hit the ground.

Due to this, the fallen arches find it difficult to absorb the shock from body movements, thereby stressing the leg.

What are the Symptoms of Flat Feet?

The symptoms of flat feet are:

i. Tiredness

ii. Inflammation of the Achille’s tendons

iii. Achy feet and arches

iv. Backache

v. Foot pain

vi. Difficulty in tiptoeing

How Can You Fix Flat Feet?

You can fix flat feet using the following methods:

  1. Arch Exercises.
  2. Surgery.
  3. Going barefoot.
  4. Shoe inserts or orthotic insoles.

Arch Exercises

It is possible to correct flat feet through exercises that can fit into daily routines. These exercises are recommended for at least thrice per week.

It would take weeks of consistent workout before results are visible. Some of the exercises are:

Golf/Tennis Rolls

In a sitting position, place a golf or tennis ball under the left foot. Roll the ball under the foot especially on the arch, for three minutes while keeping a straight back posture and spine.

Repeat on the right foot.

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Heel Stretches

Rest your hands on a shoulder or wall and place a leg forward. Leave a leg stretched behind.

With both heels pressed firmly on the floor, push your body towards the wall. The leg extended backward should feel stretched and the front leg should be bent forward.

Maintain this stretch for thirty seconds and do it for each side four times.

Toe Raises

In a standing position, press the big toe on your left leg to the floor and raise the other four. Hold it for five seconds.

Relax all the toes, then press the four toes to the floor and raise the big one.

Repeat the exercise on the right foot. Do it 10 times for each foot.

Towel Curls

Put a towel under the feet. Squeeze up the towel by curling the toes while keeping the heels firmly on the floor.

Squeeze in as much towel as possible on the arch. Stay for five seconds before releasing the squeeze. Repeat fifteen times.

Stairs Arch Raises

Climb onto a raised platform on a tiptoe.  Then relax and drop the right heel below the platform level while using the left heel as a balance.

Rotate the left knee sideways so that the arch is curved inwards. Repeat this exercise while alternating the foot for at least ten times.

Calf Raises

Using a wall as support stands on a high tiptoe for five seconds. Relax and repeat for at least fifteen times.

Arch Lifts

Stand straight with the toes pointing forward and legs close together. Move the bodyweight to edges of the feet while curving up the arch and widening the gap between the legs.

Relax and repeat for twelve to fifteen times.

Surgery

This is usually the last option and is used only in extreme cases. Different surgical procedures can be used to correct fallen arches. Some of them are:

Tendon Transfer

This is done by removing and replacing an unhealthy tendon with a tendon taken from another part of the body.

If the tendon is healthy but inflamed, it is cleaned and attached to another healthy tendon.

Every muscle has an origin (starting point) and narrows down into a tendon that attaches to a bone.

During tendon transfer, the origin of the muscle, nerves connecting to the muscle and its blood supply are not tampered with.

The tendon attachment point to the bone is removed and attached to a different bone or tendon.

The Flexor Digitorum Longus tendon (FDL) is the tendon that bends the little toes and acts the same way with the posterior tibial tendon.

It could be used to replace the posterior tibial tendon.

Calcaneal Osteotomy

This is the cutting, adjustment or reshaping of the calcaneal (heel bone) in the feet.

After the surgery, metal screws or metal plates are used to hold the heels in place for 6 weeks.

Shoes and other pressures can be applied on the feet after 8 weeks. Recovery could be achieved fully after 12 months.

Lateral Column Lengthening (Evans Osteotomy):

This lengthening is done by inserting a bone grate on the lateral column.

A cut is made on the heel and a bone from the hip or a cadaver is inserted on the heel bone (calcaneus).

A metal plate and screw is used to hold the bones in place.

The bone graft will fuse with the heel bone as time passes.

This surgery is sometimes done alongside calcaneal osteotomy. The lesser the bodyweight is borne by the heel, the faster the recovery time.

Shoes can be worn after this surgery after 12 weeks and full recovery time is usually after one year and six months.

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Double or Triple Arthrodesis

This is the joining of one or more joints. This procedure helps to relieve pain, correct flat feet, arthritis, and genetic disorders.

It is normally the last option in flat feet treatment.

Triple arthrodesis is used to join the 3 main joints of the hindfoot. These are the calcaneo-cuboid joint, the talonavicular joint and the subtalar joint.

After administering an anesthetic, the surgeon will make a cut below the ankle on both sides of the foot.

All the cartilages on these joints are removed. Staples are used to making the joints stable and a bone graft is put on the spaces between the bones.

It takes around 8 weeks to start weight- and eighteen months to fully recover.

Going Barefoot

People generally believe that flat feet always need support. This is not entirely true.

When walking barefoot, the feet muscles become stronger and more active.

Because all the tendons in the feet and the arches move, going barefoot makes it more likely to have better stride in running and walking.

Taking shorter steps and a straight walking and running posture can help to strengthen the muscles of the feet.  

Shoe Inserts or Orthotic Insoles

This is designed to provide the user with arch support, odor protection, and moisture absorption.

It also helps to align the feet to a more comfortable gait. It also relieves pain, discomfort, and helps the user to walk longer distances than before.

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What are the Advantages of Flat Feet?

The advantages of flat feet are:

  1. They are more flexible than flat feet.
  2. They have more stability in combat.
  3. They adapt easily to uneven terrain.

What are the Disadvantages of Flat Feet?

The disadvantages of flat feet are:

  1. Foot pain and aches.
  2. Inability to properly distribute body weight.
  3. Plantar fasciitis (strain on the plantar fascia).
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To know all about flat feet, the causes and ways to manage them, check out these articles:

How To Fix Flat Feet — Related FAQs

Can flat feet be corrected in adults?

Flat feet can be corrected in adults. It can be done using insoles, foot tapings, foot strappings, medications for pain relief, braces, and in extreme cases, surgery.

You have to be diagnosed by a podiatrist to determine if you have flat feet. Your doctor will also find out if your flat feet are flexible or rigid.

When that is done, the type of treatment to be used in correcting your flat feet is adopted by your doctor.

However, flat feet in adults is commonly corrected with the use of prescribed orthotic insoles.

Can flat feet be corrected?

Flat feet can be corrected using exercises, physical therapy, orthotic insoles, stability shoes, and surgery.

The exercises should be done at least 3 times a week to achieve positive results. Some of the feet exercises are heel stretches, arch lifts, ball rolls, calf raises, stair calf stretches, toe raises, and towel curls.

If the flat feet are caused by accidents or injuries, physical therapy can be used to correct them. If they are caused by deformities from birth or, orthotic insoles or surgery can be used.

However, it is best to talk to a foot doctor who will carry out tests to find out the type of flat feet you have and the best way to correct them.

Can you rebuild arches in flat feet?

You can rebuild arches in flat feet using feet exercises and physical therapy. Flat feet is a condition where the arch of the feet falls and all the surface of the sole is in contact with the floor.

The cause of the flat feet has to be known before choosing the exercise to use and the duration. There are a number of factors that can lead to flat feet. Some of them are weakness of the foot muscles, stiff ankles, supination of the forefoot, weak calf muscles, and bad walking posture.

Some of the flat feet exercises are calf stretches, toe raises, towel curls, heel raises, and toe yoga.

How do I get arch support for flat feet?

You can get arch support for flat feet by using orthotic insoles. Some insoles are sold over the counter while others are custom made to suit your needs.

You need to diagnose yourself or get tested by a podiatrist to find out if you have flat feet. The test could be a footprint test, shoe inspection or imaging examination. Custom-made insoles are then manufactured using the measurement of your feet.

The designs are made to specifically support the arches of your feet, add stability and comfort too.

Can flat feet be fixed with surgery?

Flat feet can be fixed with surgery. It is usually the last resort for the treatment of flat feet.

It is also used especially when the flat feet cause severe pain and orthotics do not provide comfort.

If the flat feet are diagnosed to be caused by tendon damage, arthritis, and foot deformity, surgery can be used to correct it.

Flat foot surgery procedure is done by giving an anesthetic injection on the foot. This will help to reduce the pain felt during and after the surgery.

How do I know if I’m flat-footed?

You can know if you are flat-footed by wetting your feet and standing on a flat surface. If the outline is not narrow towards the midfoot, you may have flat feet.

You can also inspect your shoes. If the inner part of your shoe sole is worn out or is leaning inwards, you may have flat feet.

To be sure, you should visit a foot doctor for tests such as X-ray, and the tiptoe test. Remember that flat feet not accompanied by any form of pain and discomfort do not need medical attention.