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Flat Feet

Flat feet (also called pes planus or fallen arches) is a term commonly used to describe lowering of the long inner arch of the foot which is often confused with excessive or abnormal pronation. Abnormal pronation is one of the most common mechanical causes of pain in the foot.

Flat feet indicates that little or no arch is present.
The true ‘flat foot’ is very rare. In fact, less than 5% of the population have flat feet with no arch present whatsoever.
It is quite normal for small children to have flat feet, however the arch usually develops as they get older.
It’s not how high or low your arch is off the ground but how the foot functions during standing and moving.
Flat feet is often confused with excessive pronation of the foot where the foot “flattens” when bearing weight.
This excessive inward motion of the foot can create an abnormal amount of stretching and pulling on the ligaments and tendons as well as stress on the bones and joints. Excessive pronation may also contribute to injury and pain in the ankle, leg, knee, hip, and lower back.

Pronation is the natural motion of the foot as it roles inward after the foot makes contact with the ground. It gives the foot the opportunity to act as a shock absorber for the body and adapt to the contour of the ground. Too much pronation will cause the arch of the foot to flatten excessively placing stress and pressure on soft tissues and bones. Early signs of over pronation related foot problems are muscle fatigue when walking or standing and tired aching legs. In young children some of the early signs of over pronation are not wanting to walk and always wanting to be picked up and carried. Abnormal or excessive pronation over time can lead to numerous problems including plantar fasciitis, metatarsalgia (forefoot pain), mortons neuroma, Achilles tendoniitis ankle pain, shin pain, knee pain, chondromalcia patallae, hip and lower back pain.

If the pronation is more prevalent on one side, there can be a resultant un-levelling of the pelvis and a functional scoliosis (curvature of the spine). Tilting of the pelvis places tension on muscles and connective tissues, not surprisingly, this can eventually lead to chronic back problems.

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