Do you have flat feet? Are you worried by the thought that flat foot signifies a lifelong pain down your waist? Do normal shoes leave your feet feeling sore? It is time to free yourself from all the worries as the information provided in this article will educate you about the anatomy of flat feet along with essential tips to buy the right type of shoes for flat feet.
What Is Flat Feet?
Flat foot or fallen arch is a common foot deformity that is medically known as ‘pes planus’ and is characterized by the presence of flat arches of the foot. This means that the entire bottom region of your bare foot is touching the ground. As opposed to contrary belief, it is completely normal to have a flat foot.
It is extremely common in infants and toddlers and is a resultant of the loose tendons that hold the foot joint firmly in place. As the children get older (around 2 to 3 years old), they develop arches. However, in some cases the arches is never formed and such individuals continue to suffer the discomfort of having flat feet for the rest of their lives.
Anatomy Of Flat Feet
The anatomy of foot is extremely complicated for it consists of bones, ligaments, muscles and tendons. Ligaments are soft tissues that serve as a junction between two bones. On the other hand, tendons join the muscles with the bones. The ligaments and tendons are made up of fibers which are known as collagen.
Achilles tendon is the essential tendon for activities such as walking and running. It connects the calf muscles to the heel bones resulting in the action of rising up on your toes. There is another tendon, known as posterior tibial tendon that joins the muscles of the calf to the base of the foot.
This provides firm support to the arch making it easier to turn our foot inward. When the tibial tendon is damaged, this offsets the complications experienced in the condition of pes planus. In other cases, failure of the ligaments supporting the arch may result in the occurrence of a flat foot.
What Are The Complications Of Flat Feet?
In most cases, flat feet are painless. However, some individuals do complain about soreness and sharp pain radiating from the feet till the waist region. The common complications are listed as follows:
- Lower pain radiation from the foot till the waist.
- Sore and achy feet after a long walk or run.
- Swelling on the bottom region of your feet.
- Difficulty in smooth foot movement.
- Normal shoes may seem unevenly.
What Are The Causes Of Flat Feet?
The most common causes of flat feet are listed as follows:
- Family history
- Weak arch
- Nerve disorder or problems
- Stretched or damaged tendons
- Over-pronation during running marathons
- Wearing shoes that do not offer correct arch support
How To Test Yourself For Flat Feet?
The easiest test to self-diagnose the presence of the flat feet condition can be done by following the steps below:
- Step 1: Soak your feet in water.
- Step 2: Place your wet feet on a concrete region where visible footprints can be seen.
- Step 3: Now carefully step away from your footprints. If you have complete imprints of the base of foot you have flat feet.
What To Look For In Shoes For Your Feet?
An estimated 20% of the adult population has flat feet. This highlights a key prospective target audience for the individuals in the shoe-making business. The gap has been identified and perfectly filled for there are various types of flat feet shoes now available in the market. They understand the anatomy of flat feet and ensure that they offer comfort and soothing experience in your daily routine. Some of the essential requirements and equipments for flat feet shoes are:
- Arch support that reproduces normal foot curve – The arches serves a shock and weight absorber when your feet touch the surface. People who do not have an arch usually exert pressure on their foot with leads towards tendon damage. In order to avoid this situation, artificial arch supports functions as spring to distribute the weight evenly on your foot. Find out more.
- Shoes with raised insoles – There are various shoes that have raised insoles that build an artificial foot rest. Higher insoles provide support to the middle-foot which proves to be beneficial for flat feet. Find out more
- Various medical orthotics – These are medically prescribes equipments and appliances that raise the middle-foot to form an artificial cushioning curvature as found in normal feet. Find out more
What Types Of Shoes Are Best For Flat Feet?
The two main types to consider when buying shoes are as follows:
- Stability Control Shoes – These types of shoes have a lining of foam at the instep which cushions the arch region. This also offer support and comfort to the flat feet as the soft region makes it comfortable to fit the low arch.
- Motion Control Shoes – This is a blessing for runners that have low arches and usually indulge in rigorous over-pronation. The support provided on the side of the arches also makes running and long walks a comfortable experience.
Before buying your shoes you need to understand the shape and size of your feet. By focusing on the physical aspect of your feet you can easily select a comfortable shoe. The various types of shoes that you can buy for ensuring that your flat feet are at ease are listed as follows:
- Cross-training shoes – These are the best shoes for flat feet for they are designed in a manner to support smooth side-to-side movement. The runner shoes on the other hand concentrate on the forward motion which does not compliment the anatomy of a flat foot resulting in soreness and severe aching.
- Tennis shoes – The tennis shoes have a similar mechanism like the cross-training shoes and ensure that your low-arch foot fits perfectly. You need to understand that flat feet are more prone to stress due to the absence of an arch which serves as a natural shock absorber. The arch support provided in the tennis shoes functions as an artificial shock absorber.
- Running shoes – You must understand that flat feet are more sensitive and prone to tendon damage and stretching. Thus, it is absolutely essential to wear shoes according to the ruggedness and smoothness of the terrain.
- Trail running shoes – These shoes are designed to make off-road walking and running a pain-free and comfortable experience. They have outsoles which offer stability and protection to the bottom of your feet.
- Road running shoes – These shoes are manufactured for even or slightly irregular hard surfaces. They are equipped with a cushion that offers stability when pressure is exerted by your foot when running on hard and rigid surface.
- Walking shoes – You should go for walking shoes that offer motion control which provide support to the low-arch. The mid-foot is also more stable due to the cardboard extending at the base of the shoe.
7 Essential Tips For Buying Shoes For Flat Feet
The perfect shoes will provide the essential support, stability and comfort that will alleviate the pain and other negative symptoms associated with flat feet.
Here are some essential tips to consider when purchasing shoes for flat feet:
- Shop late in the day – It is advisable to go shopping for the perfect pair of shoes later in the day for research studies suggest that your feet swell up during the day. This will cause hindrance in figuring out the exact shape and size of your feet.
- Wear your shoes at home before going to jog – This is to ensure that your shoes fit you like a glove. Also it is advisable to go for a short run before heading off for a long run to see how your feet respond to the strenuous exercise and stretching. If you notice redness or blisters, then the shoes are not right for your foot anatomy.
- Leave space equivalent to one thumb space between shoe and big toe – This makes sure that your feet have enough room to be flexible during running and jogging. This also helps to relieve pressure that is a common problem in tight shoes.
- Make sure you buy shoe size according to your larger foot – Researches highlight that most people have different foot sizes. It is wise to go for size that fits your larger foot for this will serve to be more comfortable.
- Wear socks and try on shoes you are planning to buy – This will also help you in buying shoes that fit you perfectly even when you are wearing socks.
- Measure your shoe size while standing – This will give you accurate measurement of your shoe size.
- Have two types of running shoes – By wearing different running shoes on alternating days you will give your feet a break.
As a matter of fact, most of us tend to neglect the comfort of our feet by compromising on any shoe wear that looks pretty, gorgeous or perhaps with a good bargain price in this modern society. Still, taking care and protecting the feet is important to alleviate any potential problems in the later part especially if you have flat feet. Therefore, the next time you want to buy shoes for flat feet, make sure that you keep in mind all the tips provided in this article.