Our Clinics

Metroplitan LA
1832 W. 7th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90057
Tel. (213) 484-0040

West LA
11540 Santa Monica Blvd.
Second Floor - Suite #203
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Tel. (310) 477-9210
 
flat feet

flat feet is a formal reference to a medical condition in which the arch of the foot collapses, with the entire sole of the foot coming into complete or near-complete contact with the ground.

In some individuals (an estimated 20?30% of the general population) the arch simply never develops in one foot (unilaterally) or both feet (bilaterally).

Flat feet of a child are usually expected to develop into high or proper arches, as shown by feet of the mother.

Because young children are unlikely to suspect or identify flat feet on their own, it is a good idea for parents or other adult caregivers to check on this themselves. Besides visual inspection, parents should notice whether a child begins to walk oddly or clumsily, for example on the outer edges of the feet, or to limp, during long walks, and to ask the child whether he or she feels foot pain or fatigue during such walks.

Children who complain about calf muscle pains or any other pains around the foot area, may be developing or have flat feet. Pain or discomfort may also develop in the knee joints.

Going barefoot, particularly over terrain such as a beach where muscles are given a good workout, is good for all but the most extremely flatfooted, or those with certain related conditions such as plantar fasciitis.

Flat feet can also develop as an adult due to injury, illness, unusual or prolonged stress to the foot, faulty biomechanics, or as part of the normal aging process. This is most common in women over 40 years of age. Known risk factors include obesity, hypertension and diabetes. Flat feet can also occur in pregnant women as a result of temporary changes, due to increased elastin (elasticity) during pregnancy.

Many medical professionals can diagnose a flat foot by examining the patient standing or just looking at them. On going up onto tip toe the deformity will correct when this is a flexible flat foot in a child with lax joints. Such correction is not seen in the adult with a rigid flat foot.

An easy and traditional home diagnosis is the "wet footprint" test, performed by wetting the feet in water and then standing on a smooth, level surface such as smooth concrete or thin cardboard or heavy paper. Usually, the more the sole of the foot that makes contact (leaves a footprint), the flatter the foot.

In more extreme cases, known as a kinked flatfoot, the entire inner edge of the footprint may actually bulge outward, where in a normal to high arch this part of the sole of the foot does not make contact with the ground at all.

Most flexible flat feet are asymptomatic, and do not cause pain. In these cases, there is usually no cause for concern, and the condition may be considered a normal human variant. Flat feet were formerly a physical-health reason for service-rejection in many militaries.

However, three military studies on asymptomatic adults, suggest that persons with asymptomatic flat feet are at least as tolerant of foot stress as the population with various grades of arch. Asymptomatic flat feet are no longer a service disqualification in the U.S. military.

Rigid flatfoot, a condition where the sole of the foot is rigidly flat even when a person is not standing, often indicates a significant problem in the bones of the affected feet, and can cause pain in about a quarter of those affected.

Treatment of flat feet may also be appropriate if there is associated foot or lower leg pain, or if the condition affects the knees or the lower back. Treatment may include using Orthoses such as an arch support, foot gymnastics or other exercises as recommended by a podiatrist/orthotist or physical therapist.

In cases of severe flat feet, orthoses should be used through a gradual process to lessen discomfort. Over several weeks, slightly more material is added to the orthosis to raise the arch. These small changes allow the foot structure to adjust gradually, as well as giving the patient time to acclimatise to the sensation of wearing orthoses.

Once prescribed orthoses are generally worn for the rest of the patient's life. In some cases, surgery can provide lasting relief, and even create an arch where none existed before.

Falt Foot Test on Wet Sands


Adult Flat Foot


This article is copied and/or modified from an article on WikipediaŽ - the free encyclopedia created and edited by online user community. Although the vast majority of the WikipediaŽ encyclopedia articles provide accurate and timely information please do not assume the accuracy of any particular article. This article is distributed under the terms of GNU Free Documentation License.