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What are Flat Feet?

by MASS4D® Insoles March 11, 2018

When you have flat feet, you will notice the absence of a well-formed curve or arch in the middle of your foot. You will also notice your foot flattening on to the ground anytime you put weight on it.

A flatfoot posture is typically responsible for a number of foot conditions that can cause pain anywhere across the bottom of the feet – most often, the heel and arch.

Any added stress on flat feet, such as ill-fitting shoes or hard training surfaces, can make this pain worse.

With your feet guiding the movement of your whole body, you can expect a flattened arch to create problems not only in the foot, but also in the way your lower body moves.

This increases your chances of developing common health complaints such as low back pain or knee pain.

For athletes, having flat feet can further add to the stress resulting from quick or sharp movements during a game. This raises the risk of developing common conditions such as plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis and knee injuries.

 
Flat Feet
Flat feet can lead to a number of problems, if left untreated. 

Functions of a healthy arch


Your foot arch runs from the heel to the forefoot and should ideally be curved.

There is a reason why you should pay attention to your foot arch; a healthy arch serves many important functions that help the feet function efficiently.

The primary function of your arch is to support the weight of your body during activities such as standing, walking, running or jumping. Without this support, there would be excessive pressure placed directly on your feet.

A healthy arch also helps absorb shock forces that are created upon foot contact with the ground. These forces are transferred through the arch structure to minimise impact on the foot and lessen the likelihood of injury.

If a person has foot posture problems, the feet may not be able to absorb these forces properly. For example, with flat feet, the plantar fascia ligament, which is responsible for stabilising the foot arch, stretches excessively.

This causes the arch to flatten completely or almost completely onto the ground, which leads to improper distribution of weight in the feet. As a result, the feet are not able to absorb shock forces from the ground properly, which may cause pain along the bottom of the foot.

Since shock forces tend to be higher during sports, without an arch, your feet would have no protection from the repeated stress of the foot hitting the ground while training. This is why having healthy arches should be a top priority for athletes.

Foot posture examination in sports can help athletes understand how their foot posture affects pressure distribution to the feet, walking stride, stress levels on the lower body and overall movement.

This can also help identify any underlying causes of postural misalignment and lower body conditions. Based on this information, sports science professionals and physiotherapists can recommend training and active rehab programmes that are personalised for the athlete.


Foot Pain Relief, Injury Prevention, Better Posture and Sports Performance in One Insole     know more


What happens to your body with flat feet


Since your feet guide the movement of your whole body, having flat feet can cause considerable changes in the rest of your body.

When the foot arch is no longer visible, your feet do not move the way they’re supposed to and the rest of your body tries to adapt to this unhealthy movement.

With a flattened arch, your foot has a tendency to excessively roll inwards. This forces your legs to twist inwards as well, placing unnecessary stress on the ankles, knees, hips and lower back.

As a result, you may start experiencing pain and discomfort in your muscles and joints over time. You’ll find this pain becoming intense after engaging in activities that involve a lot of physical movement.

Flat feet also cause problems in the way your body is aligned, having a visible impact on posture – the knees appear inwardly bent, the hips forward-tilted and the lower back overly curved.

If left untreated for a long period of time, such posture problems may cause joint pain, arthritis and muscle tension because of the strain on your body from trying to adapt to the lack of foot support.

Since the ankle moves beyond its healthy range of motion, flat feet are known to increase the chances of ankle sprains and falls. This can be especially harmful to the elderly population because of the damaging effects such falls can have on the body.

Unhealthy foot posture, such as flat feet, means there is also an uneven distribution of weight that can cause pain in different areas of the foot. In other words, the chances of your feet hurting while running or playing sports increase when you have poor foot posture.

There may also be an increased loss of energy and fatigue which can affect your overall performance during a game.

How are flat feet caused


You may have flat feet because of a family history of flat arches; it is common for this condition to be passed down from generation to generation.

This is the reason why flat feet are sometimes found in young children above the age of 10 years.

Obesity is another factor responsible for flattened arches; having excess weight can weaken the muscles supporting the foot arch, causing it to flatten over time.

The extra weight carried during pregnancy is known to have the same effect on the arches of the feet. Plus, the release of the hormone relaxin during the last trimester can lead to an increase in the flexibility of ligaments all over the body, including the feet.

Weakening of the arch muscles can also happen because of normal wear and tear that occurs with the ageing process. This increases your foot’s tendency to roll inwards.

With age, there is also a possibility of the ligaments and tendons in the foot not stretching or contracting like they would in a normal foot. This can cause loss of elasticity.

For example, if the plantar fascia ligament, that runs through the bottom of the foot, loses elasticity, it may not be able to support the foot arch properly. This could cause the foot arch to collapse under bodyweight, which can create abnormal movements in the foot and ankle.

In some cases, conditions such as diabetes can damage the nerves required for movement; this impacts the way your foot functions, leading to foot posture problems over a period of time.

What to do about flat feet


Treatment programmes for flat feet normally include a combination of strengthening and stretching exercises together with the use of insoles.

An example of an arch strengthening exercise is the towel scrunch which is a good way of building strength in flattened arches. They’re simple to perform and don’t require much except for a towel.

Place your feet on a towel and start grabbing it with your toes until you reach the edge.

Tightness in the calf muscles can also gradually lead to flat feet because of limited movement of the foot-ankle structure. It would be worth practising calf stretches in order to loosen up tight calf muscles.

Foot exercises help in the long-term treatment of the foot because just like the rest of the body, our feet also require maintenance from time to time.

Additionally, it would be worth investing in a pair of MASS4D® Insoles that can provide corrective support to fallen arches or flat feet. 

MASS4D® Insoles help position your feet in a manner that favourably supports the rest of the body all throughout the day. By maintaining full contact with your feet at all times, these help regulate the movement of your feet and lower body.

Moreover, MASS4D® Insoles enhance the strength of your arch to prevent it from collapsing; this improves shock absorption in the feet.

This is necessary to protect you from foot conditions or injuries that develop as a result of foot posture problems such as flat feet.

MASS4D® Insoles can be used as a way to redistribute pressure in the feet which helps in reducing stress in painful regions.

The biggest advantage of wearing such insoles is that you can continue walking and moving around while your feet are treated for flat arches.

MASS4D® can also be worn as a preventive measure against common painful foot conditions that are caused as a result of foot posture problems such as flat arches.

You will notice a visual change in your overall posture within weeks of wearing your insoles.

The reason why it is always a good idea to combine different treatment methods is because you’ll be able to achieve quicker results.

For instance, you can wear insoles the whole day and practise foot exercises before going to sleep.

This should bring better results because both these treatments work on improving not only the symptoms, but also the root cause of the problem – flat arches.

So, consider including MASS4D® Insoles in your treatment programme for flat arches if you want to walk better and with more confidence in every step.  


Foot Pain Relief, Injury Prevention, Better Posture and Sports Performance in One Insole     know more


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