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The flat feet are when the arch flattens. It is a very common disease that occurs when this arch does not develop during childhood. In some cases, flat feet can occur in adulthood due to an accident or age.

Generally, it is a bilateral disorder ; that is, it only affects one of both feet. Of course, in certain cases it can also occur in both.

What is flat feet?

It is known as such a disorder characterized by the lack of longitudinal arch in the foot. It is a very common disease, affecting around 20% of the Spanish population.

From the moment of birth until the baby begins to walk, it is normal for his feet to have a flat appearance due to the presence of adipose tissue that is located in the plantar area. From the age of two, the feet progressively adapt to walking; and, from the age of three is when the internal arch begins to form, ending its development around the age of eight.

There are two types of flat feet that are easily identifiable.

  • Flexible – This is the most common type. As its name suggests, the foot is flat when it is resting on the ground; however, when you lift it, the arch will re-form. In the vast majority of cases, this disorder begins during childhood and, over time, progressively worsens. Complications are very common, such as deformity in both the tendons and the ligaments present in the arch.
  • Rigid: unlike flexible flat feet, this type does not present a plantar arch under any circumstances, whether the feet are flat on the ground or raised.

In addition, four degrees of classification of flat feet can be differentiated .

  1. It is the mildest category of all, in which the footprint shows both the central and external areas, as well as a small part of the internal border.
  2. The second degree refers to the fact that the plantar print shows that the foot rests slightly in the internal area.
  3. The third degree of flat feet occurs when the inner edge rests completely on the ground.
  4. The most serious of all, which is characterized because the foot rests integrally on the inner side of the foot.

Causes of flat feet

This condition is given by several causes; We explain them below.

  • Genetic predisposition: the vast majority of people who suffer from flat feet do so due to a genetic condition.
  • Poor fetal position: Another probable cause of this disease is a poor fetal position. During the gestation period, the fetus adopts a certain position to adapt to the shape of the mother’s uterus, keeping the legs bent. Thus, when it is born and during the first months of life, the baby has curved legs and the feet adopt an inward position, which somehow predisposes them to suffer from flat feet.

Symptoms of flat feet

Almost 100% of people affected by flat feet do not feel pain. However, as we have pointed out, this condition can lead to various complications, such as a tear or inflammation in the tendons or ligaments of the arch , which can cause pain.

Some of the most common symptoms of flat feet are: swelling in the ankle area, difficulty standing for a long period of time, and numbness in the upper part of the foot, as well as in the toes.

Diagnosis and treatment

The diagnosis of flat feet is made from two years of age . And it is that until that age it is not possible to determine whether or not the child has this condition since during the first 24 months of life an adipose tissue forms on the soles of the feet. Once this time has elapsed, it gradually disappears.

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Diagnosing flat feet is relatively straightforward. The doctor must check whether the inner arch of the foot makes direct contact with the ground or not. If so, the patient in question suffers from flat feet. Some of the most common medical tests to confirm the diagnosis with CT, MRI or X-ray. If the foot presents an abnormal increase in the height of the arch, we would be talking about cavus foot .

Treatment of flat feet

Regarding the treatment of flat feet, in the vast majority of cases it is recommended to use orthopedic shoes or appropriate insoles for this condition . They are not treatments that cure the disease, but they do significantly facilitate walking.

In addition, if pain occurs, the administration of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen , is recommended .

A good recommendation for those with flat feet is to go to the physiotherapist . A set of exercises are performed to strengthen the muscles and somehow stimulate the formation of the plantar arch: walking on tiptoe, grasping objects with the toes, walking on the heels, muscle stretching of the lower limbs and gait coordination .

In the most serious cases of flat feet, it is necessary to resort to surgery , which can help repair the damaged tendon and correct the position of some joints.

Can flat feet be prevented?

The truth is that there is no type of prevention for this disease. The vast majority of people with flat feet are due to an inherited condition. However, there are a series of very useful exercises to develop the curvature of the longitudinal arch of the foot.

  • Walking: it is advisable to spend a few minutes every day walking on tiptoe. It is a very simple but at the same time very effective exercise, which strengthens the tendons and joints of the curvature of the feet. It should be done barefoot and for a straight section.
  • Walking barefoot: another highly recommended tip is to walk barefoot on uneven terrain, such as the beach.
  • Toes: To exercise the muscles of the feet, another highly effective exercise is to grasp objects using the toes.
  • Footwear: of course, using the right footwear is essential. It must be made with natural materials to promote perspiration, and be comfortable and flexible; it must also guarantee good adherence to the ground.

Flatfoot in adults

Although it is not very common, this disease can also occur in adulthood; In the vast majority of cases, flatfoot arises from injuries or unusual stresses on the skin . They can also be caused by diseases such as arthritis .

The development of flat feet is relatively common in pregnant women as a result of increased levels of elastin. It is important to note that if this disease arises during adulthood, there is no possible cure; flat feet remain forever.

How to live with flat feet?

In the vast majority of cases, this disease does not interfere in any way with the daily activities of those who suffer from it. However, there are a series of tips and advice that are worth taking into account to improve the symptoms of this disorder.

First of all, it is very important to get as much rest as possible. Second, it is advisable to do physical activities, but they should be low impact, such as walking or swimming.

Third, pain relievers can be very helpful in relieving pain. And finally, in the case of people suffering from obesity, it is advisable to lose weight to reduce the strain on the feet


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Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of ​​Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.

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