Things you need to know if you have flat feet

Flat foot is a health condition that, if ignored in childhood, can lead to grave health problems in the later stages of life, said Dr Punit Kumar Jain, Principal Consultant- Orthopedics, Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Bagh. Defining it as a condition “where the foot has little or no arches,” the expert explained that when people with flat feet stand the “pad of the foot presses or touches the ground.”

If not treated timely, it can lead to long-term problems like “arthritis, a bone spur (bone growth), corns, and callosities at the point of deformity, and chronic lower back ache,” the expert told indianexpress.com, adding that flat feet can hamper certain daily activities, too.

“People with flat feet might face trouble in brisk walking, running, jogging, sports activities, hiking,” said Dr Atul Mishra, Director & HOD, Department of Orthopedics, Fortis Hospital, Noida.

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Causes

Genetics is a common cause of flat foot, however, it is not the sole reason. Experts list obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, aging, and pregnancy as some other causes, too. Dr Jain added that “post-foot injury, tendon injury, or foot fracture” can also cause flat feet. “In childhood, this can be because of some congenital problems like cerebral palsy,” he shared.

Although a person with flat feet might not necessarily face any pain, if it worsens then, “the patient can complain of muscle pains, foot pain in the evening hours, difficulty in walking long distances, and pain in the arch and ankle,” Dr Jain added, and further shared that some people can also complain of toe deformities such that the toes and the front of the foot point outside.

What is the right time to see a doctor if you have a flat foot (Source: Pixaby)

Treatment

With no preventions and natural treatments available, Dr Mishra told indianexpress.com that the best age to get treatment for a flat foot is before one attains puberty. “Early treatment helps the proper growth of bones and joints of the foot and ankle,” he added.

However, Dr Jain said that “if it is diagnosed at a higher age and the conservative treatment is not working then the patient can need surgical interventions to prevent the complications of flat foot.”

Dr Jain listed some ways to prevent the worsening of flat feet:

*The most common remedy is to wear corrective footwear which has complete arch support for the patient. One can buy readymade silicone insoles or get the patient’s foot study done to prepare a specialized silicon insole.

*Strengthening of the foot muscles is necessary. For this, certain foot exercises need to be practiced daily.

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