What is Flatfoot and Why you Should Care

What is Flatfoot and Why you Should Care

Flatfoot aka pes planus is a condition in which the longitudinal arch of the foot flattens. The most common cause is dysfunction of the posterior tibial tendon. The posterior tibialis muscle runs from the back of the calf and inserts into the medial(inside) of the foot. Flatfoot may also be caused by conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, stroke and diabetes. Symptoms of flatfoot include pain and swelling on the inside of the foot, loss of the foot arch, weakness and inability to stand on the toes, and tenderness of the midfoot especially when under stress during activity.

Treatment options include:

1. Rest
2. Immobilization
3. Orthodics for arch support
4. Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatories
5. Exercises:

Calf Stretch:

calf

• Stand facing a wall with your hands on the wall at about eye level. Put the leg you want to stretch about a step behind your other leg.
• Keeping your back heel on the floor, bend your front knee until you feel a stretch in the back leg.
• Hold the stretch for 30 to 45 seconds. Repeat 2 to 4 times.
• Repeat the exercise with the back knee bent a little, still keeping your back heel on the floor. This will stretch a different part of the calf muscles.

Towel Curl:

towel

• While sitting, place your foot on a towel on the floor and scrunch the towel toward you with your toes.
• Then, also using your toes, push the towel away from you.
• Make this exercise more challenging by placing a weighted object, such as a soup can, on the other end of the towel
6. Massage: To decrease fascial restrictions and adhesions, increase circulation, massage compensating structures, stretch shortened muscles
7. Surgery: If conservative efforts are not effective, surgery may be needed

Katherine Batho, RMT

References:

http://www.healthlinkbc.ca/healthtopics/content.asp?hwid=aa4617spec

http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1236652-overview#a4

http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/flatfoot-pes-planus-topic-overview

http://www.aofas.org/footcaremd/conditions/ailments-of-the-midfoot/Pages/Progressive-Flatfoot.aspx