What causes flat feet in adults
Believe it or not there are different types of flat feet, thats why some people may find different shoes and orthotics comfortable but someone else may find that they blister or even make the pain a lot worse.
Flat feet also known as Pes Planus, can occur with mobile feet, rigid feet, after trauma like an ankle break or even surgery.
Most common cause of flat feet in adults that I see in clinic every day is Post Tibial Tendon Dysfunction, sometimes referred to as Adult-acquired flat foot. This is where the tendon holding up the foot looses its strength and the foot collapses. It causes the arch of the foot to over pronate, and this in turn places strain on the ligaments and tendons in the ankle and sole of the foot.
A tight Achilles tendon can appear to make the foot look flat. When the achilles is too tight, the biomechanics of how we walk change causing the foot to roll inwards, inducing pain on the achilles and the heel.
Pregnancy can also cause the feet to flatten. In the third trimester when your body prepares for the delivery of the baby, there is increased elastin (elasticity) in the body, this combined with the extra weight of the baby caused the tendons to lose their strength and the foot collapses.
Symptoms of Flat Feet
Flat feet can be extremely debilitating if left untreated. We usually see patients attending clinic as a last resort when they’ve tried all the pharmacy insoles, specialist shoes and even taken time of work to just rest.
Flat feet can cause pain in the foot, arches, heels, calves, shins and even the knees and hips. More recent studies have suggested a correlation between flat feet and migraines.
Pain can radiate through-out the day, but most often it occurs first thing in the morning or after periods of sitting. The arches of the foot can appear swollen or puffy from inflammation of the tendons and muscles.
Treatment of flat feet is simple once the cause of the pain is established. We carry out a full biomechanical gait analysis with OPTOGait our computerised gait scan.
This offers the Podiatrist detailed information that can not be captured with the naked eye alone.
Treatment will include:
- Correct diagnosis and severity of the condition.
- Exercises that can be carried out at home
- Recommendations for footwear
- Manual therapy such as dry needling or tissue mobilisation maybe required with some patients.
- Custom orthotics provide the best support for the treatment of flat feet as they are prescribed to the exact mechanics of your feet. These can be claimed against most major insurance companies.
- Goal setting is also a major part of our consultations so that we can get you back to your daily activities and hobbies immediately.