Flat feet occur when the arch of the foot flattens whenever pressure is placed on it. This condition, also called pes planus, is common, affecting around 20-30% of the population. Although pes planus isn’t usually dangerous, it can cause pain and make it more difficult for patients to participate in certain activities. Let’s discuss how flatfoot can be treated and when to come to the Victoria, BC, or Kelowna, BC clinic for treatment.
What Are Flat Feet and How Can They Be Treated?
The arches of our feet are important because they provide stiffness that helps us to move around more efficiently. They act like springs, pushing against the ground and transmitting the force created by our leg muscles. People who have flatfoot don’t have the normal arch in their feet. When they stand, the entire sole of the foot touches the ground.
Usually, this condition isn’t a cause for concern. In fact, all babies have pes planus at the beginning, and they only develop arches as they start to walk and run around. People who never develop arches or lose them over time don’t necessarily need treatment. However, they might benefit from medical intervention if they have pain related to pes planus.
What Causes Pes Planus?
Some people have flatfoot due to genetic factors. In this case, there’s no reason for concern, as there aren’t any structural or postural issues associated with the condition. However, patients sometimes develop flatfoot later in life due to an injury or because they are walking unevenly. At Island Foot Clinics, we often see people who have flattened or fallen arches due to their lifestyle habits.
People who are overweight place a lot of pressure on their feet, so the arches are more likely to sink. Similarly, women who gain a lot of weight during pregnancy might develop flatfoot. Those with broken bones or injured Achilles tendons are equally prone to this condition. Sometimes, flatfoot is related to issues like high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis, or diabetes.
Can It Be Prevented?
Pes planus can’t typically be prevented, particularly if it’s related to genetic factors. However, patients can minimize their risk of pain and related conditions by paying attention to their posture and gait, wearing high-quality shoes, and sticking to a healthy weight. These measures help to improve overall foot health and prevent excessive pressure.
Those who don’t take good care of their feet might develop other problems such as Achilles tendinitis, shin splints, bunions, hammertoes, and joint pain in the knees or hips. That’s why consulting with a foot doctor and leading a healthy lifestyle are important for people with flatfoot.
Do I Need to Go to the Kelowna, BC, or Victoria, BC Clinic?
Adults with flatfoot don’t necessarily need to see a doctor unless the condition is causing them pain. Some people live with pes planus all their lives without treatment. Others require medical intervention because they can’t take part in certain activities, or they’re worried about the effect of flatfoot on their posture and gait.
If your young child has pes planus, don’t worry. They are likely to grow out of it as they start to use their feet more and more. Once the child is six or seven years old, you might need to visit a foot doctor if they still haven’t developed any arches. It’s best to have the condition looked at because there could be postural issues related to it.
When you come to see us about pes planus, we’ll start by asking you questions about your condition and background. We’ll need to know whether you’ve had pes planus for a long time or whether it’s developed recently, what other foot conditions you have, and how long you’ve had foot pain. We might also ask you about your general health because flatfoot is sometimes related to medical conditions.
Once we understand your condition, we can determine how to help you. Sometimes, imaging studies are necessary because they can give us more insight into what’s going on. We often advise people with flatfoot to wear supportive shoes, and we sometimes recommend arch supports or orthotics. We can also help people to improve their gait and posture. Although surgery isn’t usually necessary, it can be a good option for those struggling with severe pain.
Wearing Supportive Shoes
People with flat feet need to avoid shoes that have absolutely no support. This is because they can lead to pronation, which occurs when the foot rolls inwards. Pronation puts stress on the ligaments and tendons and can lead to injuries. That’s why flip-flops, ballerina shoes, and other footwear with minimal support and thin soles is not ideal.
At the Kelowna, BC, or Victoria, BC clinic, we almost always recommend that patients with pes planus choose motion control or stability shoes. They are designed to provide support and control pronation, so they are great for those who don’t have a high arch. When exercising, patients must wear supportive athletic shoes that offer stability and cushioning.
Wearing Arch Supports or Orthotics
Sometimes, good shoes aren’t enough, and patients need even more support. Most pharmacies and supermarkets have a range of arch supports and insoles to choose from. These products can offer additional support and make it easier for patients with flatfoot to wear a wider range of shoes.
Although commercially available products can work well, people who suffer from significant pain related to pes planus might need custom-made orthotics. These devices are developed by a foot specialist, so they are tailored to the individual’s foot shape and postural problems. Orthotics can absorb shock, redistribute pressure, and improve stability and balance. They are great for athletes with flatfoot because they enhance athletic performance.
Gait Analysis and Postural Changes
Have you ever wondered whether you’re walking correctly? Do you think that your posture is affecting your overall health? If so, you might benefit from a posture and gait analysis at the clinic. We use advanced diagnostic tools to figure out how your body’s alignment is affecting the way you’re standing and walking. With this information, we can recommend interventions that improve your posture and relieve pain.
Sometimes, insoles or orthotics can correct gait problems because they help you to distribute your weight differently. Many athletic shoe manufacturers offer customized options for people with foot problems and flatfoot, so corrective devices can be built into the shoes. Other interventions such as physical therapy and corrective exercise also provide relief. We sometimes recommend Pilates because it targets muscles that help to improve posture.
People with flatfoot don’t typically need surgery. This condition isn’t dangerous, and it doesn’t cause significant pain on its own. However, patients who have pes planus as a result of a bone or ligament problem sometimes require surgical intervention. In this case, we will take detailed imaging studies and choose the most minimally invasive option possible.
People with flat feet often don’t have any symptoms, so they don’t need treatment. However, some patients develop foot pain related to this issue. They might need to wear more supportive shoes, purchase arch supports or orthotics, or change their posture and gait. Surgery is rarely necessary, but it can be a good option in extreme cases. Send us a message at Island Foot Clinics in Victoria, BC, or Kelowna, BC to book your diagnostic session.