What are the Symptoms?
One of the surest signs that flat feet may need to receive medical attention is when foot pain is experienced consistently. Many people suffering from this condition find it difficult to stand on their toes, and some suffer from prolonged swelling on the inside of the ankle. In some cases, the turned ankles can cause lower back pain. Other sure indications of flat feet are shoes that wear unevenly and shoes that collapse toward the inside of the foot. Unless foot pain is experienced, medical treatment is not recommended.
What Are The Main Causes?
Most babies have "pes planus" because the arches develop gradually during childhood, but in some cases, the arches simply never develop at all. Older people can also develop flat feet if their arches fall due to the weakening of the tendons that runs along the inside on the ankles. In some rare cases, foot pain can result in children when two or more of the bones in the foot fuse together and cause flat feet. Sometimes physical injuries can cause the foot tendons to become inflamed, eventually causing the arches to fall. The main reasons for developing flat feet later on in life are obesity, arthritis and severe foot injuries. Unfortunately, there is very little that can be done to prevent this condition.
Can It be Treated?
Most people with flat feet do not experience undue discomfort because of the condition, but foot pain can often be relieved by wearing shoe inserts that supports the arches. A large percentage of people suffering from flat feet also have a shortened Achilles tendon and this can be remedied with exercises designed to stretch the tendon. In a very small percentage of cases where patients experience severe pain, surgery to the tendon may become necessary.
Experts agree that any measure that will help the foot become stronger can only be beneficial and helps to prevent foot pain. Walking barefoot, especially in sand, helps the feet to become used to an ever-changing environment, and it encourages the various ligaments and muscles in the feet to become stronger. Another exercise that is said to be beneficial is to run on one's toes for as long as possible and to spend time spreading the toes as wide as possible, all in aid of strengthening the muscles and tendons in the feet.
Some medical experts point out that flat feet can lead to the onset of arthritis and a new surgical procedure is used to restore the arches to the feet. This is done by making an incision along the side of the foot, followed by the introduction of an insert in the bones of the ankle, thereby restoring the natural arch. Unless severe foot pain is experienced, experts warn that radical treatments can lead to unpleasant long term complications.