What Should I Do With My Flat Feet?

By Matthew Camenzuli

Flat Feet (or pes valgus) is a common finding in many people, including in children. However, what is the real importance of having a strong arch in your foot, and is it ‘bad’ to have flat feet?

Our foot is made up of 3 arches: medial arch, lateral arch and the transverse arch. The one that is more often the focus of attention is the medial arch (arch between the ball of your foot and heel). Developing flat arches, or excessive pronation, has a strong genetic component – it is not necessarily something caused by you. When we examine a patient who has flat arches, we look at a number of important observations including arch height (mild to severe), bony alignment, heel placement/angle and whether the arch is very stiff or flexible, ankle mobility and the strength of muscles both in the foot and calf. Part of our assessment may include a biomechanics assessment of your feet and whole lower limb, where we will look at different activities such as hopping, walking and running mechanics.

Many people go through life without their flat feet causing them any problems however they can be a contributing cause to many other injuries. These include:
• Plantar fasciitis
• Achilles Tendinopathy
• Shin Splints
• Patello-femoral knee pain
• Lower limb stress fractures
• Knee, lower back and hip pain

There are ways to treat flat feet and your physio will choose the most appropriate avenue for you.
• Deep muscle retraining – this treatment establishes a strong focus on the muscles that help support the arch of the foot
• Taping – there are many good taping techniques that help passively correct a flat foot for short term management of associated injuries.
Many of these techniques can be easily applied at home. They range from a very rigid taping to a supportive flexible taping.
• Foot Orthoses – these in-shoe devices are used extensively in sport and daily living. They provide an easy way to support the arch whilst wearing shoes. Orthotics however does not permanently fix the medial arch, rather control symptoms when wearing footwear by supporting the arch. This option is often the most popular for long term management
• Podiatrist – in more severe cases, a referral to a podiatrist may be appropriate. We can find the best one for you and write you a referral.

If you have any concerns that your flat feet are the cause of a problem you have feel free to get in touch with your local Physiohealth clinic to have an assessment.
This entry was posted in Articles, Common Injuries, Exercises, Football Ankle & Feet, General Ankle & Feet, General Exercises, Gymnastics Ankle & Feet, Running, Running Mobility/Stretches, Taping Ankle & Feet, Triathlon, Triathlon Ankle & Feet. Bookmark the permalink.