You may have heard people talk about this podiatric condition, but there is a really good chance you have never heard it referenced by its actual name. Pes planus is the medical name given to having flat feet, and this is one of the more common conditions of the feet. Here is a look at some of the things you should know if you or your child has one flat foot or two flat feet.
What is pes planus?
In the most general terms, flatfoot is a condition that means the arch of the foot does not arch upward as it normally does. Instead, the arch is lowered to a point that the arched area sits closer, if not directly on, the ground when an individual is standing. Flatfoot is actually considered a mild deformity by a lot of medical experts because the arches never actually develop as they should. Babies all have flat feet when they are born, but the arches should develop by the time the child gets older and is mobile on their own.
Does flatfoot cause problems?
The most common problem people have with flatfeet is pain associated with the condition. People tend to have pain in their feet after they have stood for a while, and some individuals will even have pain in their ankles. Older people with flat feet may actually develop hip or knee pain because of the undue stress on these joints relative to pain and lack of support in the feet. Another secondary complaint is having issues with shoes fitting properly on the feet. Some people will develop problems with the feet leaning to one side or the other when they walk.
How is flatfoot treated?
Most podiatrists will recommend orthotic inserts to provide arch support for the feet at the arch point. These orthotics gently force the arch upward so this point of the foot is raised to a more appropriate position. If orthotic treatment is done early in life, the foot may gradually start to arch upward as it should. For those who seek treatment for the condition later in life, it is less likely that the foot will change in shape, but the custom orthotics can help prevent pain and undue stress on the rest of the joints. Physical therapy can help alleviate some of the pain associated with the condition, and in the most severe cases, surgery may be necessary. Speak with a podiatrist for more information.