Flat Feet and Your Body
By Krista Elliott
Your poor feet are perhaps the most abused and neglected parts of your body, and there are a wide range of issues that can arise with them. One of these issues is having flat feet, or in medical terms, pes planus. Despite sounding like a far-off nebula, pes planus is a surprisingly common condition, with about 20 percent of the population having some degree of it.
How Can I Tell if I Have Flat Feet?
The tricky thing about flat feet is that it's not always obvious to the eye. When your weight is off of your feet, you may appear to have a perfectly normal arch. However, when you stand, that's when your arch flattens out. Your feet may appear to spread a bit. And, if you squat down and try to insert your index finger under your arch (or ask a friend to do it if your balance is not the best), you'll find that there is not enough room under the arch to accommodate your finger up to the first joint. Your doctor or chiropractic provider can also help you determine if you have flat feet.
Are Flat Feet Harmful?
You may think flat feet only affect your feet, and may only make it tricky to buy shoes. However, having flat feet can affect your entire musculature and skeletal system. As your arch flattens out, your knees roll inward. The result? Instability in the ankles, strain on your knees, and an imbalance in your hip flexors. This affects your entire gait which, in turn, can have detrimental effects on the muscles in your back and the alignment in your spine.
So What Can I Do About Flat Feet?
Treatment for flat feet is non-invasive and conservative. First of all, regular chiropractic care from the professionals at The Joint Chiropractic can help treat any subluxations or misaligned joints that have resulted from your flat feet. Then, to prevent further issues, a supportive orthotic will help to keep your arches (and knees, and hips) in the correct position.
When not wearing orthotics, it is best to still choose a supportive shoe with adequate arch support. Many running shoes are built specifically for flat feet or "overpronation," and have robust arch support. For casual shoes, look at the inside of the shoe to see if there is a mound where your arch would sit. Many casual shoes like ballet flats or flip-flops have little to no arch support, so only wear those sparingly, and not if you'll be doing a lot of standing or walking.
With sensible precautions and the right treatment, your flat feet will be able to carry you through life, problem-free!