Flat feet What are flat feet? Understanding this problem

20 de February de 2020

The flat feet are perhaps the problem most widely known by the population. In every family there is at least one person who suffers from flat feet and complains of pain when walking or standing for long periods of time. We explain what this problem is and how to treat it. Flatfoot is a condition in which the plantar arch is lower than normal compared to a well-formed foot.

This flattening of the arch causes increased stress on the plantar fascia. plantar fasciaThe plantar fascia is not supported laterally, causing the muscles and tendons to work harder than normal to maintain balance and propel the gait.

Among newborns, the proportion of flat feet is very even between boys and girls, while among adults it predominates in women, mainly after pregnancy or during menopause.

Fortunately, flatfoot can be corrected relatively relatively easily and the person can lead a normal life following the specialist’s advice. Do you have flat feet or do you think you can have them? We will explain how to know if you suffer from this condition and what are the treatments to correct them.

What is flatfoot?


Flatfoot is a physiological condition in which the foot is plantar vault is lower than normal in height. Arch drop can also cause a widening of the midfoot area, so that the footprint will look like that of a“fat foot” compared to the footprint of a foot with a well-formed arch.

Internally, the tissue responsible for forming the arch is the plantar fascia. plantar fasciaa flexible connective tissue that runs from the heel bone to the ball of the foot, where the pads of the toes are located.

The fascia is responsible for absorbing the impact of the foot against the ground when walking and reusing this energy for the next step, as well as protecting the metatarsal bones against possible extreme flexion of the toes in a dorsal (upward) direction.

What are the causes of flat feet?


In 90% of the cases, flat feet are congenital, that is, they are born with this condition. However, it should be clarified that all children are born with what is called physiological flat feet. physiological flatfootthat is, their plantar arch is flat due to a great flexibility of the fascia and muscles of the foot.

By 3 months of age and in some cases during early growth, the plantar fascia and these muscles will acquire the correct tone and shape and the physiological flatfoot condition will disappear. physiological flatfoot.

In some adults who grew up without this problem, flatfoot flat feet may appear due to a problem in the posterior tibialis posterior musclewhich causes an unwanted relaxation of the muscle that supports the plantar arch.

What are flat feet. Understanding this problem


What are the symptoms of flat feet?

In addition to being obvious to the naked eye that the plantar arch is non-existent or very low, there may be symptoms related to this problem such as:

  • Pain in crotch and leg muscles. As the weight of the body falls towards the inside of the foot, the musculature of the inner side of both legs is strained to keep the body in a firm upright position, which eventually leads to tendon inflammation and pain.

In addition, the calf, ankle and flexor muscles of the toes suffer great stress when trying to maintain balance while walking.

  • Pain in the back of the foot. In flat feet, the fascia does not absorb well the impact against the ground when walking, which causes greater stress on the bones of the dorsum of the foot and possible osteoarthritis due to the friction between them.

Many people with flat feet report circulation problems and numbness in the legs when walking or standing for when walking or standing for long periods of time.

There may also be pain in the kneesThe knees may also be sore, as they become out of alignment and turn inward, giving the appearance of having ‘X’ knees.

How is a flat foot diagnosed clinically?

medical diagnosis of flat feet
is based on footprint studies to determine where pressure is, or is not, exerted when stepping, as well as through the Jack’s testto see if the arch is formed correctly when the big toe is lifted.

It is also possible to make the Tiptoe Test (Heel Rise Test), standing on tiptoe to see if the arch is formed and to what position the heel moves. If a flat foot is detected, the doctor will perform a biomechanical examination to determine whether the arch is flexible, semi-flexible or totally rigid.

The flexible flatfoot tends to correct itself with growth, while the semi-flexible flatfoot semi-flexible flatfoot will correct with relatively simple treatments such as the use of insoles and exercises to strengthen the foot muscles.

In the rigid flatfoot it is likely that the talus is vertical and not horizontal, as it should be, or two metatarsal bones are fused at birth and prevent the arch from forming correctly.

Therefore, cases of rigid flatfoot will certainly require corrective surgery.


trustworthy medical information stamp clinica san romanArticle prepared by Clínica San Román

Date of publication 20-2-2020


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