If you walk on a pool deck with wet feet and the footprints you leave behind are the entire width of your feet—instead of the front and back parts being connected with a strip about half that width—then you probably have flat feet. Now, this condition is technically considered “abnormal,” but it isn’t all that uncommon. In fact, it is estimated that up to 30% of the general population have flat feet.
There are certain things you should keep in mind and know if you have a flatfoot condition, including the knowledge that there are many people out there who have the same issue. Here are 7 more things to consider:
- Your feet move a little differently. It’s entirely possible you’ve never noticed, but your feet undergo a rolling motion during the ground portion of every step you take. This biomechanical process starts when your heel strikes the ground, continues through the final push of your toes, and is called pronation. The inward rolling motion is supposed to be around 15%. Most people with flat feet have an excessive roll called overpronation.
- Your shoes have an interesting wear pattern. As noted earlier, you can tell whether or not you have flat feet by the footprints you leave when taking a normal step. Another way is by looking at the soles of your footwear. Due to overpronation, the bottoms of your shoes will be worn more heavily on the inner edges than the outer ones.
- There’s a way to control overpronation. We can prescribe custom orthotics to prevent overpronation (which can be the source of pain in the feet, ankles, knees, hips, and even lower back). These medical devices are customized to work with your unique feet and restrict the excessive motion.
- Shoe choices matter. If you are a runner with flat feet, you should pay close attention to the running shoes you buy. A good rule of thumb is to pick up your footwear in a store that caters to runners. The associates in these places are usually experts in pairing runners with the shoes that will work best for their running styles. If you are picking some out on your own, though, stick to models that are labeled as being “stability” or “motion control” running shoes.
- Recognizing flatfoot symptoms is important for getting help. Knowing and recognizing symptoms like foot pain, fatigue (especially during and after physical activity), and swelling along the inside of the ankle will allow you to know when to contact our Berkeley office for treatment.
- You might not have noticeable symptoms. Whereas there are many men and women who experience difficulty and pain from flat feet, this is not always the case. It is important to know that even though there are no current symptoms, issues can still arise. With this in mind, you need to pay attention to how your feet (especially your arch and heel areas) are feeling. If problems develop, come see us.
- Conservative treatment is often effective. One of the good things about a flatfoot condition is the fact we can usually address symptoms and problems without needing to use surgery. Rest, ice, medication, stretches, and orthotic devices are all options we may include in your treatment plan.
Something to consider even if you don’t currently have flat feet is that you can still develop a case of acquired adult flatfoot deformity. This particular condition develops as your posterior tibial tendons—which play a major role in supporting your foot arches—begin to weaken.
If you would like more information on flat feet or need professional treatment, we are here to help. Call our Berkeley, CA podiatrist office at (510) 647-3744 or send us a message online right now!