Pune, 15th September 2022: Flat feet or Fallen arches is increasingly noticed in many adults and even in children due to various factors such as family history, obesity, diabetes, and old age. Ones with flat feet will typically experience pain on the inner side of the feet associated with swelling mainly while walking and standing for long duration. Flat feet can cause joint problems, arthritis, low back problems, and if left untreated. Timely management can help one to ease the pain associated with flat feet and prevent from undergoing surgery.
Dr Vishwajeet Chavan, Orthopedic Surgeon, Apollo Spectra Pune, “Flat foot is commonly seen in children and adults. People with flat feet tend to have a medial arch lower than normal or will even touch the ground. “Children will have two types of flat foot. The arch appears when the child is not walking and flattens out when he/she starts walking. This means flexible or correctable flat foot and is not so serious. But, when the inside arch appears flat whether the child is walking or resting, it can be termed a rigid or non-correctable flat foot and can turn grave in the near future. Compared to the total population, 10-20 percent of people are found to have flat feet.
Flat feet are of 2 types – Flexible and Rigid (Non-flexible). It can present in early adolescence or later in elderly population. A child can have flat feet if anyone in the family has them or it can be due to additional bone in the foot. Adult acquired flat foot is usually due to wear and tear of a tendon in the foot. Other causes are obesity, diabetes, and previous injury. Flat feet are typically associated with excessive pronation of the foot. Because of their tendency to overpronate, flat feet are less able to absorb shock, placing persistent stress on the feet, ankles, and knees,” highlighted by Dr Shyam Thakkar, Foot and ankle Surgeon, Lokmanya Hospital, Pune.
Dr Chavan added, “The signs and symptoms of the flat foot are foot fatigue, pain while walking, and the pain can even spread to the arch of the foot, calf, knee, hip, lower back and lower legs. Timely management of flat foot is essential. Ones with flat feet have higher chances of joint degeneration or early onset of arthritis. One with a flat foot can be recommended to do an X-ray or CT scan to determine the cause of the pain and the condition of the tendons in the foot. Resting, icing, pain-relieving medications can do the trick.”
The diagnosis of flat feet in an early stage is important to prevent one from developing serious complications related to it. It is often misdiagnosed as increased uric acid levels or due to uncontrolled blood pressure or sugar levels. It can usually be self-diagnosed by looking at their own wet foot print while standing on a smooth surface. The treatment is usually in the form of strengthening and stretching exercises along with supportive customized insoles and well-fitted shoes. Losing weight can be beneficial in case of symptomatic flat foot along with other treatments suggested by the doctor. Tackling obesity and diabetes can reduce pain. Likewise, a well-balanced diet and exercise regimen will help to relieve pressure on the feet along with physiotherapy. However, some people may require surgical correction for re-aligning the bones of the foot into normal shape. If left untreated, the surgery required in later stages becomes quite expensive and may take longer recovery time,” concluded Dr Thakkar.