You may have noticed that babies usually have relatively flat feet, with a minimal or non-visible arch. In fact, flat feet are normal up until the age of two or three, after which they can be problematic. In this short article brought to you by Podiatry Centers of Maryland, we explore flat feet and the importance of arches in the feet. If you have concerns about your foot arches or are experiencing foot pain or discomfort, then consult with a licensed podiatrist, or foot doctor, as soon as possible. Residents in the area can call Podiatry Centers of Maryland to schedule a flexible appointment.
The arch of the foot refers to the curved shape in the middle portion of the foot. It is formed by the arrangement of bones, ligaments, and tendons, which work together to create a supportive and flexible structure. The foot’s arch serves multiple functions, playing a vital role in maintaining balance, absorbing shock, and facilitating movement.
As we mentioned in our introduction, we are not born with foot arches. Arches in our feet begin to take shape as we engage in walking and other weight-bearing activities as children. By the age of 5 or 6, most of us will have developed noticeable arches in the feet. However, the development of the arches is influenced by various factors, including genetics, muscle strength, ligament flexibility, weight-bearing activities, and more.
It's important to note that everyone's arches vary in shape and height. Some individuals have high arches, while others have low arches or flat feet. These variations can impact foot function and contribute to specific foot issues or conditions.
In individuals with a high arch, the curve along the inner side of the foot is more pronounced than usual. Feet with high arches tend to be rigid and may have less shock-absorbing capacity, making them prone to excessive foot supination and increased pressure on specific areas of the foot.
On the other hand – or foot – there is the low arch, also known as flat feet or fallen arches. A person with flat feet has minimal or no visible curve along the inner side of the foot. This can occur when the arch collapses or fails to develop fully, resulting in inward rolling of the foot which can cause problems with foot alignment and balance.
Having flat feet can make it more challenging to find comfortable footwear. Flat feet are not just a matter of style and appearance though. They pose some serious risks. For instance, flat feet can strain the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the area, resulting in pain during walking, running, or prolonged standing. They also have reduced shock-absorbing capabilities, increasing the risk of stress fractures or other injuries. The altered foot mechanics can even potentially lead to secondary issues in the knees, hips, or lower back.
Fortunately, there are treatment options for flat feet. Some conservative measures include properly fitting footwear or orthotic inserts to provide arch support, exercises to strengthen the muscles of the feet, and physical therapy. In rare cases, a podiatrist in Greenbelt may recommend surgical intervention.
For the most accurate information regarding foot arches and flat feet, you should consult with a skilled podiatrist. Podiatrists, or foot doctors, are extensively educated and trained to diagnose and treat foot conditions like flat feet. If you live in the area, you are welcomed to call Podiatry Centers of Maryland to schedule an appointment with a licensed podiatrist.