Men's Articles

Caught Flat-Footed


What exactly is flat feet? Almost everyone is born with flat feet. It is only around the age of six that arches begin to develop. About one in five people never develop normal foot arches. This could be hereditary. To check if you are flat-footed, podiatrists usually make patients go through a wet footprint test whereby you dip your foot in water and make a wet print on the ground.

For a foot with a normal arch, the print shows three separate wet spots made by the heel, ball area and the lateral side of foot. If only the ball and the heel areas leave marks, you have a high-arched foot. Conversely, a flat foot leaves a huge footprint with no gaps between the areas. The foot has 28bones and 35 joints. Hereditary flat feet are caused by bone misalignment or loose ligaments, where the joints are unable to hold the arch in position.

The arch works like a spring. It lengthens and springs back to position to aid motion like jumping and running. Without this spring mechanism, the body has to work harder to get the feet off the ground. Hence, flat-footed people tire easily when playing sports. The spring action of the arch also helps to reduce the impact on contact with the ground. Thus, a flat foot is incapable of absorbing shock. The shock is then transmitted to the rest of the body and heel pain, and stress fractures in the shin bones and lower back may result.

Flat-feet - known medically as pes planus - can also be acquired if one is on one's feet too often. Excess stress causes the arch to flatten over time. Conversely, those with hereditary flat feet may never experience discomfort if their lifestyle is sedentary or if their body adapts to the condition well. Flat feet cannot be cured unless one undergoes surgery to correct the foot structure. Even then, it can't be guaranteed that an arch will form and the surgery is fairly complicated.

 

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