Is having flat feet bad?
Flat feet is a foot posture deformity that is one of the common foot problems men and women face. What happens in flat feet is that the arch of the foot flattens partially or completely on the ground.
But many people continue to live seemingly healthy and active lifestyles despite having flat feet. In fact, some individuals may feel that having flat feet has not limited their athletic ability or potential. So this begs the question, is being flatfooted really bad?
What Happens When You Walk With Flat Feet?
As mentioned earlier, flat feet is a foot posture problem, and will likely have an impact on the rest of the body. This is best explained by understanding how a person walks with healthy feet as compared to how one would walk with flat feet.
When a person with healthy feet walks, the heel hits the ground first, followed by the outside of the foot. The weight moves from the outside of the foot to the inside, so that the heel and the forefoot are in contact with the ground in a standing position. To take a step, the weight will transfer to the forefoot and then the big toe joint, which creates a spring-like effect.
The distribution of weight in flat feet is different. The heel strikes the ground first like a healthy foot, but because there is little to no arch in the foot, the bottom surface gets in partial or complete contact with the ground. This causes uneven distribution of weight where more pressure is on the inside of the foot. So to lift the foot, all the weight is on the big toe joint, which puts stress on it.
Foot Problems Caused by Flat Feet
As the big toe joint bears more weight in flat feet, there is constant stress on it which can lead to inflammation and pain. In the long term, the pain and swelling can limit the range of motion in the big toe joint, which affects one’s walking patterns. So it’s no surprise that people with flat feet tend to develop problems of the big toe joint such as bunion formation.
In addition to this, the risk of developing plantar fasciitis is higher. As the foot arch collapses, the plantar fascia ligament, which is responsible for supporting the arch, stretches excessively. The constant stress on the ligament can cause inflammation and pain. Heel spurs, pulling sensation in the heel, and pain in the arch of the foot are some of the symptoms of plantar fasciitis.
Impact On the Body Posture
It’s important to recognise that the feet are the foundation for the body. So if the foundation is weak, the structure will be affected. When you have flat feet, the foot arch collapses while standing or walking, which is known as hyperpronation.
Flatfoot posture causes inward twist of the shin and thigh bones. Because the shin and thigh bones have moved away from their healthy position, there is excessive stress on the ankles, knees, and the hips. This knock-off effect moves up to the lower back, causing excessive curving and joint stress. So it is possible that poor posture, lower back pain, hip pain, IT band syndrome, knee pain, calf tightness, shin splints, and/or ankle sprains can be caused by flat feet.
So, Is Having Flat Feet Really Bad?
Flat feet is a foot deformity which should be examined and diagnosed by an expert so that a personalised treatment plan can be made as soon as possible. A person with flat feet is at greater risk of developing the conditions mentioned above. So yes, having flat feet can be bad for you.
Note that the treatments that worked for your friend or colleague who has flat feet may not work for you. This is because feet are unique, and there can be many causes and risk factors of flat feet. So a treatment plan for someone who has flat feet and plantar fasciitis will differ from a treatment plan for someone with flat feet and constant knee pain.
The use of MASS4D® foot insoles as part of a complete treatment plan for flat feet can be beneficial in a number of ways. MASS4D® provides the greatest support to hold the feet in their best posture at all times - standing, walking, or running. This promotes the alignment of the feet and the body, and aids in pain management for a number of conditions.
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