In order to walk effectively, feet need to be rigid to support the body. The way the foot maintains its firmness when walking is through the ‘medial arch’.
The medial arch is a natural arch on the inside of your feet, formed by bones and supported by ligaments, muscles, and tendons. The arch is not present at birth, and forms by around the age of 3.
Flat foot is a condition where the arch on the insides of the feet fall in. This can be caused by ligament laxity (looseness), intrauterine crowding (problems with development in the uterus), abnormal bony alignment, or muscle tightness.
Types of flat foot
There are two types of flat feet:
In ‘flexible flat foot’, when standing still, the arch falls in and is not rigid, but once walking, the arch returns and is rigid. This does not require treatment and should not cause future injury.
Pathological flat foot occurs when the arch is never present, even when walking. This form of flat foot may cause pain all the way up the leg; in the ankle, knee, hip, or even back. This should be addressed to prevent future problems.
How flat foot is treated
There are a few ways of treating pathological flat foot, and the choice of treatment depends on the cause. Some treatments may include:
- The use of orthotics (in-soles) as prescribed by a podiatrist
- Stretching exercises to relax tight muscles
- Providing advice for appropriate footwear that will support the arch
If you have any concerns regarding your child’s foot development or positioning, it may be beneficial to book in with a Physiotherapist to gather some further information.
We have face to face Physiotherapy appointments available in Toowoomba and can provide telehealth Physiotherapist consultations all over Australia. Call Therapy Alliance Group on 1300 661 945 to discuss your child’s needs.