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Flat Feet

This week's question

I have flat feet, is there anything I can do?

My answer - When talking about flat feet, there are generally 2 subtypes or categories of flat feet. The first, is structural. This means that the bones and ligaments have developed in such a way that the foot is flat. It is flat whether you are standing, sitting, lying down or doing a cartwheel. For people with structural flat feet, they generally cannot tolerate any type of arch support in their feet, as it is pushing on the structures of their feet which do not move.

This subtype is relatively rare and occurs in certain conditions from birth, or later in life when a functional flat foot has actually changed the structure of the foot.

The second type, which is much more common is a functional flat foot. This means that the structures of the foot developed in such a way that there is (or can be) an arch, but that it collapses in certain positions. In many people with functional flat feet, an arch can be seen when they are sitting with their feet dangling, but in standing it seems to just disappear.

In these cases, generally what has happened is that the muscles that support the arch of the foot are not strong enough, so when faced with trying to support body weight, they collapse to the ground in hopes of finding some stability.

In many cases, a functional flat foot can be "reversed" by training the arch muscles to create an arch that can withstand the force of body weight.

When this is done, you can prevent a "functional" flat foot from turning into a structural one.

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