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Can Orthotics Help to Alleviate Pain or Correct Flat Feet?

Can Orthotics Help to Alleviate Pain or Correct Flat Feet?

Flat feet, also known as fallen arches or pes planus, is a condition in which the arches of your feet are depressed, and most, if not all, of the sole is in contact with the floor. The condition is further divided into two sub-conditions known as and characterized by:

Flexible flat feet (FFF): Patients appear normal when seated or standing tiptoed, but their arches collapse when they stand up and apply weight to the soles of their feet.

Rigid flat feet (RFF): Patients have collapsed and flat arches regardless of the position that their feet are in.

What Causes Flat Feet?

The causes of flat feet can be divided into two categories: congenital and acquired. Congenital flat feet, also known as inherited or familial flat feet, is a condition that is present at birth and is caused by a genetic predisposition. Acquired flat feet, on the other hand, is caused by factors such as injury, disease, or degeneration. These factors can lead to weakening or stretching of the tendons and ligaments that support the arch, leading to the collapse of the arch. Other causes can be obesity, diabetes, arthritis, and old age.

Why Are Flat Feet Bad?

Flat feet can be bad for several reasons:

  1. Flat Feet Can Cause Overpronation: When the ankles roll too far inward, the soles of the feet become flat against the floor, which is called overpronation. Overpronation can lead to pain in the knees and ankles, as well as spinal misalignments and issues in the hips and lower back.
  2. Flat Feet Can Cause Plantar Fasciitis: Flat feet can cause the tendons in the feet to overstretch the plantar fascia, leading to a painful inflammation called plantar fasciitis.
  3. Back and knee pain: Flat feet can lead to problems with alignment in the legs, hips, and lower back, which can cause pain and discomfort in those areas.
  4. Difficulty standing, walking or running: People with flat feet may find it hard to walk or run for long periods of time, as the lack of arch support can put extra stress on the feet and legs.
  5. Difficulty finding comfortable shoes: People with flat feet may have trouble finding shoes that fit comfortably and provide the support they need.

Not all individuals with flat feet experience symptoms. However, if pain or discomfort is present, seeking treatment is advised.

Exercises for Flat Feet

There are several exercises that can help alleviate the symptoms of flat feet and improve the strength and flexibility of the muscles in the feet and legs. Here are a few exercises that can be helpful:

  1. Toe Raises: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and raise up onto your toes, then lower back down. This exercise can help strengthen the muscles in the feet and improve arch height.
  2. Calf Stretches: Stand facing a wall with your hands against the wall and one foot behind the other. Keep your front leg straight and your back leg bent. Lean into the wall and feel the stretch in your calf muscle. Repeat on the other leg.
  3. Towel Curls: Sit with your feet flat on the floor and place a small towel under your toes. Use your toes to scrunch up the towel as much as you can, then release. Repeat this exercise several times.
  4. Arch Lifts: Sit with your feet flat on the floor and place a small ball, such as a tennis ball, under your arch. Press down into the ball with your arch and hold for a few seconds, then release. Repeat several times.
  5. Ankle Pumps: Sit with your feet flat on the floor and lift your heels up, then lower them back down. Repeat this exercise several times.

Can Custom-made Orthotics Help to Alleviate Pain or Correct Flat Feet?

Orthotics can help with overpronation, a common problem in people with flat feet, by providing support to the arch and keeping the foot in a more neutral position. They help to redistribute weight and pressure on the feet, reducing pain and discomfort. They can also help to prevent or reduce the symptoms of conditions such as plantar fasciitis and heel spurs, which are common in individuals with flat feet.

Should You Purchase Custom-made Orthotics for Flat Feet?

Custom-made orthotics are a great option for people with flat feet because they are tailored to fit your specific needs. They are designed to provide targeted support to the arch which can help to reduce pain and discomfort.

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