Collapsed arches are also known as flat feet. This is a condition in which the sole of the feet is flat. The sole doesn’t have an arch or the curve, and hence it pretty much seems like a duck’s feet.
There may be many reasons for collapsed arches such as after-injury result, aging, or some people are born with flat feet.
Whatever the reason is, flat feet are always painful, and somehow it limits the person from doing activities like walking, jogging, and running. The pain can be felt in the arch, heel, or the overall sole area. In severe cases, the pain even reaches the hip, low back, and cervical spine.
There is a very easy way to confirm if you have flat feet. Dip your foot in water and then place it on a surface. If the footprint looks like a box, then you have a flat feet problem. A podiatrist is a professional who handles all feet problems.
Flat Feet Evolution
You may always question that exactly which factor caused flat feet in the human race. Well, the closest reason is the changes in the environment we live in. We like our ancestors don’t run barefoot, we don’t go out on terrains, hills, and our soles don’t touch any of the dirt, grass, or unexpected terrains.
Some of us barely walk without slippers, and we try to give our feet as much comfort as possible. This environment we live in and these different kinds of footwear such as heels we wear, all these contribute to disturbing the natural structure of our soles, and hence flat feet are a result of the evolution.
If we talk specifically, then high heels shorten the Achilles tendon and compromise dorsiflexion. Flip-flops affect the windlass mechanism, and arch supports limit proprioceptive input. The intrinsic musculature and ligaments get weak, and hence the arch doesn’t stay any strong that results in flat feet.
That is why taking the help of professionals comes mandatory. A podiatrist also helps with diabetic foot care and provides needed medication and support.
Solutions for Flat Feet
There are various tendons at the heel and foot bones, and these tendons together form the arch. A moderate or normal arch means all these tendons are arranged and joint properly. But a fallen arch means that these tendons are loose enough, and their poor formation leads to flat feet.
There are various things you can do to improve your arch condition-
Arch Strengthening Exercises
There are specific exercises that promote the tightness in the tendons and improve the overall condition of the sole. A podiatrist describes these exercises, and how to do them rightly. People often visit the podiatry clinic or hospital and receive a massage from the professionals as well.
These professionals also run various programs in which they work on intrinsic muscles that are found on the bottom of the foot or at the sole. These programs work to strengthen these muscles that help in forming that arch. Grabbing motion is one example of these exercises such as picking up anything using your toes.
There are shoe inserts for people with flat feet. These inserts support the arch in a way that it raises the flat part of the feet. These inserts are made in a way that keeps the bone structure in a better position, raising the arch, and work as structural support.
As we stated that our comfortable lifestyle contributes to conditions lie flat feet. So you need to get out of your comfort zone and walk barefoot for a few minutes every day. This would make the foot muscles stronger and the activeness would stabilize the foot more.
For those who are not improving with exercises and have a severely flat foot, the condition may need to get surgery. Experienced podiatrists perform the surgery, and the severity depends on the person’s condition and age.
- In an implant, the surgeon implants the support in the back of the foot.
- A realignment surgery involves tendon transferring where bones are cut in a way that supports the arch.
- If someone has very severe or the end-stage flat feet condition, major realignment or joint fusions may be needed.
Generally, a person with collapsed arches should try to improve the condition with basic exercises. He should also visit a podiatrist regularly, and participate in their programs. Those who have diabetes should also consult the professional and follow the recommendations accordingly.