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Learn how to deal with Flat Feet

FixItFriday: SQUATS Expert Ismat Khoja shares information on handling Flat Feet/Pes Valgus.

The arches of the foot aims to bear body weight and as a
shock absorber in any weight bearing activity such walking, running, jumping, squatting etc. The arches of the foot are fully developed by the age of 7. Condition with no or reduced foot arch is known as flat fleet.

What are the possible causes?
It can be structural or non structural.

Structural flat feet can be present congenitally (by birth) due to disturbed alignment of the bones of the foot or the knees, which changes the entire dynamics.

Non-structural flat feet or acquired flat feet can be due to
muscle weakness of intrinsic and stabilizers of the ankle
joint when bears weight of the feet.

Flat feet are also seen in individuals with conditions such as shin splint, knocked knees, plantar fasciitis, pathologies
related to patellar alignments.

How to identify flat feet?
While walking, the impression of the wet feet on the floor
shows the weight-bearing pattern on the foot. Flat feet will
have an impression of the entire feet on the floor while
normal feet with arches will have a specific pattern of weight bearing.

How do we treat the condition?
1) Work on intrinsic muscle strengthening.
Towel gathering, toes curling, marble exercises are basic
exercise for strengthening the intrinsic muscles. Children of the age group 1-6, should walk bare feet on different
surfaces as it help in developing their arches.
2) Use of proper arches and shoes.
Your physiotherapist shall help you with the assessment of
your foot and design a proper arch with an appropriate arch according to the severity of the condition. Uses of arches aims align the foot in best possible way. Medial arch wedge support is commonly used.
3) Work on strengthening the calf and other leg muscles.
There are possibilities that the culprit joint is not the foot
but knee or hip which alters the entire mechanics of the
lower limb ending up with flat feet. It is important to identify
the possible weak muscles of the knee and hip as well to
treat the condition. Calf strengthening is of utmost
importance. Heel raises, toes walking, walking on uneven
surfaces are some of the few exercises.

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