It is easy to think of flat feet as just a physical quirk because it is such a common development. Some people have pronounced, arches to their feet while other have a much flatter sole because those arches simply didn’t develop. Because the condition is so common, some may dismiss the phenomenon as a harmless genetic trait that has little to no bearing on the health and posture of the individual. The problem with this attitude it that it ignores some of the knock-on effects that can occur.
Is having flat feet a serious condition?
Flat feet are not considered to be serious as there are no immediate health concerns that are particularly troubling, but that doesn’t mean that they should be completely ignored either. The NHS use the phrase “usually nothing to worry about” – the word “usually” indicating that in some rare occasions, there are issues that can lead to discomfort and other problems.
These fallen arches can lead to overpronation of the feet, where the foot rolls inward too much, and this can increase the risk of injury and make walking uncomfortable. The pain that can occur as a result of this condition can also be seen further up the leg and into the joints, perhaps up as far as the lower back. Once this pain begins to set in it can cause some major problems in terms of well-being and mobility. By then, the issue is less likely to be attributed to the shape of the foot, but it is still the underlying cause.
Problems arise when flat feet become worse and are untreated
Flat feet can be easily lived with if this pain and overpronation are not apparent, but there is also the risk that the condition will worsen with time as the arches fall even flatter. If there is a clear physical deterioration, stiffness or weakness in the feet and increased pain, it may be time to seek medical help to try and correct the issue to stop it from getting any worse. Solving the problem can be as simple as taking pain relief, finding more supportive footwear or wearing orthotics in shoes, which again highlights the simplicity of the condition.
The problem comes when these therapeutic measures fail and physiotherapists are unable to deal with the condition adequately. At this point, sufferers may be referred to an orthopedic surgeon. Surgeons can work to reshape the foot by addressing the are that is causing the problem. For some, the fallen arches are due to problems with the connective tissue, so they may need to be repaired. Other times it is due to misshapen or fused bones.
Flat feet are not a serious problem, but they still need to be dealt with properly
The common nature of flat feet and the simplicity of some of the treatment options means that it is too easy for people to simply live with the stiffness, pain and discomfort that may come with them. Simple corrective measures and supportive shoes from an early age can help to stop a simple misshapen foot becoming a more serious problem in later life.