The human foot is a very complex structure, which, in terms of its functional features and anatomical structure, is a kind of the pinnacle of evolution, if, of course, you believe the works of the unforgettable. Choose walking shoes for flat feet.
When walking, a person’s foot performs two functions – it provides support and absorbs shocks. Therefore, in the process of bipedal locomotion formation, the foot acquired a complex arched (or vaulted) structure. With the development of flat feet, the shock-absorbing function is lost, which over time leads to serious consequences.
Due to the arched shape of the foot, support during movement falls only on the heel bone in the back and on the base of 1 and 5 toes in front. Thus, the longitudinal (along the inner edge) and transverse (along the base of the toes) arches of the foot are formed. This foot structure provides an even load on the joints and spine, especially when walking on uneven surfaces. With the development of flat feet, the foot is gradually deformed and flattened. Flat feet is a dangerous disease, because as it develops, it entails diseases of the joints and spine.
There are the following types of flat feet :
- transverse – the transverse arch of the foot is smoothed, the foot becomes wide (found mainly in adults);
- longitudinal – the height of the arch of the foot decreases, the foot becomes longer (more common in children and adolescents);
- combined – there are two types of foot deformities at the same time.
In addition, there are such types of flat feet as:
- congenital – associated with anomalies in the development of the skeleton, is quite rare;
- acquired – arises as a result of exposure to diseases or external factors;
- traumatic – formed after foot injuries (fractures, ruptures of ligaments and tendons)
- paralytic – appears after paralysis of the muscles of the foot and lower leg;
- rickets – arises as a result of rickets, when the bones soften, and under the influence of the load the foot is deformed;
- static – develops due to heavy loads on the foot. It is usually most commonly seen in women.
The causes of flat feet.
Distinguish between internal and external causes of flat feet. Internal reasons include:
- comorbidities, especially rheumatoid arthritis, which causes inflammation of the ligaments, cartilage, and ligaments that support the foot. Arthritis not only causes pain but deforms the foot.
- injuries that change the muscle tone of the ligaments. Their tears and other injuries make the foot flattened, sedentary and lethargic, especially if the injury occurs in the middle of the foot (Lisfranc joint), as well as fractures and dislocations of the foot have the same effect.
- genetic predisposition.
External factors include:
- prolonged physical activity on the ankle as a cost of the chosen profession.
- obesity, hormonal imbalance, pregnancy (as a result of which the center of gravity shifts), carrying weights.
- improperly fitted shoes. Either a completely flat sole or high-heeled shoes cause disturbances in body dynamics and overstrain the muscles of the foot. As well as wearing tight shoes and shoes with a narrow toe.
- insufficient physical activity, physical inactivity, forced standing for a long time.
- age-related changes in muscle tone.
All of the above factors can be corrected by lifestyle changes. It is necessary to take care of your health, and especially of the health of your feet, observing the hygiene of careful selection of shoes.
Signs and degrees of flat feet
Transverse flat feet are characterized by the following symptoms: pain in the calf muscles and feet; hallux valgus; thickening of the periosteum in the area of the head of the 1st metatarsal bone (lump at the base of the thumb); the formation of corns and deep corns; muscle cramps; the appearance of edema; shoes of the usual size become tight.
For longitudinal flat feet, the following symptoms are characteristic: rapid fatigue of the legs, inability to walk for a long time; swelling of the legs, especially in the evening; change in gait; turn of the foot and heel outward with the formation of the so-called flat-valgus foot.
Diagnosis of flat feet
A typical method for diagnosing flat feet is pornography, i.e. obtaining a graphic print of the foot on a special apparatus. The imprint is made after a thorough visual examination, palpation of the problem foot, and taking an anamnesis by an orthopedic doctor. An important point is also the measurement of the external parameters of the foot to calculate the longitudinal and transverse arch index.
Treatment of flat feet
The methods of conservative treatment described below apply only to grade I flat feet, transverse flat feet II and III degrees can only be treated surgically.
So, physiotherapy exercises, massage, warm foot baths; walking on tiptoes; walking with support on the outside of the feet; the use of orthopedic insoles, instep insoles, and special orthopedic shoes.
The last point is especially important, so let’s take a closer look at it! In orthopedic shoes, there are special insoles that ensure the correct functional position of the foot when walking, and the sole has excellent shock absorption properties. Thanks to these features of the shoe, foot fatigue is prevented while reducing the load on them; deformity of feet and joints is prevented; the damping functions of the foot are improved, the load on the spine is reduced. The use of individual orthopedic insoles provides the maximum therapeutic recipe. Such insoles can be equipped with additional elements (for example, pronators) and take into account all the individual features of the structure.
Prevention of the development of flat feet
In order to prevent the development of flat feet, you should follow a few simple recommendations: control body weight; walk barefoot more often on surfaces with different structures – grass, pebbles, sand, etc .; avoid wearing tight tight shoes and high-heeled shoes; use orthopedic insoles during pregnancy; choose shoes made of soft leather with flexible soles.