Flat Feet / Over-Pronation
Flat Feet: Flat feet, also known as fallen arches or pes planus, is a condition in which the arches of the feet are significantly reduced or absent, causing the entire sole of the foot to come into contact with the ground. Flat feet can be congenital (present from birth) or acquired due to factors such as injury, aging, obesity, or certain medical conditions. In some cases, flat feet may not cause any symptoms or require treatment. However, they can lead to foot pain, discomfort, and an increased risk of developing other foot problems.
Over-pronation: Over-pronation is a biomechanical abnormality that often accompanies flat feet. It refers to excessive inward rolling of the foot during the walking or running gait. When the arches collapse and the foot rolls inward excessively, it can disrupt the body’s natural shock absorption mechanism and place additional stress on the feet, ankles, knees, hips, and lower back. Over time, this can sometimes lead to various musculoskeletal issues.
Hypermobility: Hypermobility refers to an increased range of motion in the joints, which can affect multiple joints in the body, including the feet. People with hypermobility have joints that are more flexible and can move beyond the normal range of motion. While some degree of joint mobility is normal, excessive hypermobility can lead to instability, pain, and a higher risk of injuries, including sprains, strains, and dislocations.
Podiatrists and Treatment: Podiatrists are healthcare professionals who specialise in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of foot and ankle disorders. They play a crucial role in managing conditions such as flat feet, over-pronation, and hypermobility. Here’s how podiatrists can help:
- Evaluation and Diagnosis: Podiatrists can perform a thorough examination of the feet, including a gait analysis, to assess the severity of flat feet, over-pronation, or hypermobility. They may also request imaging tests like X-rays or MRIs to gather additional information.
- Custom Orthotics: Podiatrists can prescribe custom-made orthotic devices, such as shoe inserts or arch supports, to provide support, improve foot alignment, and alleviate pain associated with flat feet and over-pronation. These orthotics are designed to distribute forces evenly across the feet and correct any biomechanical abnormalities.
- Physical Therapy: Podiatrists may recommend specific exercises and stretches to strengthen the muscles and improve the stability of the feet and ankles. Physical therapy can help address pain, improve balance, and prevent further complications.
- Footwear Recommendations: Podiatrists can provide advice on appropriate footwear that provides proper arch support, cushioning, and stability for individuals with flat feet, over-pronation, or hypermobility. They may suggest shoes with motion control features or certain running shoes.
- Medications and Injections: In some cases, podiatrists may prescribe medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to manage pain and reduce inflammation. In certain situations, corticosteroid injections may be administered to relieve severe pain and inflammation.
- Surgical Intervention: If conservative treatments fail to alleviate symptoms or if there are other underlying foot conditions causing significant issues, podiatrists can discuss surgical options. Surgical procedures can correct foot deformities, reconstruct the arches, or stabilise joints to improve foot function and reduce pain.
It’s important to consult a podiatrist for a proper diagnosis and personalised treatment plan tailored to your specific needs and condition.