About thirty per cent of the population have flat feet (also known as fallen arches) and the majority of people just leave the condition untreated. But there is no need to live with the pain! The below explains what are flat feet, and provides tips for treatment and home remedies which will reduce pain and keep you moving.
What are flat feet?
Flat feet affects the arch in your foot - it can happen in just one foot but it is most common in both.
It is caused by the arch in the foot simply not developing properly during childhood, this is totally normal and may never cause any problems. Additionally, flat feet may develop over time as wear and tear causes the arch to weaken and drop.
The symptoms of flat feet range from mild discomfort all the way to severe pain. If left untreated it could lead to complications including knee and hip problems, spinal issues, extreme foot pain and more.
The below tips will help manage the symptoms of flat feet. Combining all of these remedies together can be quite simple, and can improve your overall foot health and posture.
Insoles and arch supports for flat feet
Shown to be one of the most effective ways to treat flat feet - wearing the right set of insoles, both at work and during exercise, will not only relieve discomfort and pain, but (combined with stretches and exercises) can lead to a long-term improvement of the condition.
With a huge range of insoles available it’s hard to find the right one for you. These are the main features you should look for in a quality pair of insoles for flat feet:
- A slim comfortable design that fits into your current shoes.
- A graduated arch support that is strong and not too high, with a small amount of flex under pressure.
- Durable and firm design suitable for all day wear.
The ErgoPad Weightflex 2 insole is designed to provide excellent arch support all day, and is ideal for people suffering from flat feet.
Flat Feet: treatment and home remedies
Most people with Flat Feet will find that regular stretches go a long way to improving recovery after exercise and relieving pain after extended periods of time standing. Some great exercises are:
- Heel stretches
- Tennis/golf ball rolls
- Calf raises
- Towel curls
- Stair arch raises
- Arch lifts
For those who have a more progressed form of flat feet, an injury to the foot, or are in constant pain, it is recommended to speak with a physiotherapist, orthotist or osteopath.
How shoes can help flat feet
A correct fitting pair of shoes is important for overall foot health and flat feet are no exception. Generally, people with flat feet require a wider fit shoe and should try to avoid a pointed or narrow toe. The ideal shoe has a low heel, cushioning, heel support and a firm sole to prevent the foot from rolling inward. Finally, avoid high heels as they put too much pressure on the front half of the foot.
Visiting a shoe store which analysis your walk and fits you with the right pair of shoes, will help reduce pain and discomfort. Especially with exercise sneakers.
Lifestyle and fitness
Being overweight puts you at a higher risk of developing and exacerbating flat feet, as well as those with sedentary lifestyles and low amounts of exercise.
Losing weight, regularly exercising and resting properly after high levels of exertion are simple steps that will have a long-lasting effect not only on your feet, but your health in general.
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