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“Flat feet” is a popular reference term for the medical condition describing feet with collapsed arches. Flat-footedness is caused either by the body’s inability to develop arches or by weak muscles that fail to maintain arches. While flat feet are usually painless, the ankles develop problems from turning in to compensate for the lowered arch. Proper shoes help the ankles to support the body and reduce leg pain associated with the condition.
The foot is composed of of 26 bones held together by 33 joints. The bones and joints, along with more than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments make up what is commonly called the arch of the foot. The arches provide a spring-type system to assist in moving the body, as well as absorbing its weight over any type of ground surface. People with flat feet require walking shoes that incorporate arch supports that replicate the foot’s normal curvature. Shoes can be tested by placing the fingers inside and pushing down. There should be firm support rather than soft cushioning. The fingers are then slid to the center of the shoe to feel the incline in the insole material. Flat feet require a shoe with such a built-in arch. Most shoes made specifically for walking by companies such as Asics, New Balance and Saucony have a built-in arch.
By David B. Ryan
Originally Published By Livestrong.com