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“Flat feet” or fallen arches, is when the base of your feet drops so the complete sole of the foot has contact with the floor or bottom of the shoe when standing or walking. The “normal” or ideal foot has a raised arch on the inside of both feet. The correct way to measure this is in a weight bearing position.
Roughly 20-30% of the population’s arches don’t develop completely, on either or both feet. Children and infants don’t have arches, but as they grow and the foot is utilized more, the arch will form, strengthen and develop. Your feet are designed to adapt. I have seen photo’s of a lady that wore ballet type shoes her entire life and her feet became deformed in the shape of the shoes. It amazed me that the feet would take on this round shape, and will conform their shape to the shoes you put them in. Wearing shoes like sandals and slippers that offer no arch support can end up flattening your arches. Flat feet may also be due to wearing high heels.
( The Achilles heel shortens and tightens making the ankle not bend properly and leaves the arch to pick up the slack. ) Having flat feet doesn’t reduce running speed, or hamper effectiveness of your feet, but may cause discomfort. When there’s no arch in your foot, the natural shock absorption is missing and the of other parts of your feet have to compensate. This will create discomfort in the legs or back thanks to the load on the calves. Fallen arches can also lead straight to Plantar Fasciitis, which can occur when the base of the feet stretches too far and starts to tear or becomes inflamed. In a number of cases of flat feet, the base of the foot will become stiff. Flat feet have also been associated with pronation, or the foot turning too far inward. The foot naturally makes this movement while walking, however it is thought to be an illness when the foot rolls inward too far, throwing your feet out of whack and alignment.
What can be done about your flat feet? Arch supports can provide help with the foot pain linked with low or no arches. Arch supports raise the fallen arch and support the foot in the position it was intended to be in. Your weight is also shared correctly across your feet. It’s critical to get your arch supports fitted as you stand in a weight bearing position. Most podiatrists measure your feet when you lay down and then they cast your feet. This does not correctly allow for your weight bearing position. Only VFAS (vertical foot alignment system) used by the foot alignment clinic is able to correctly measure and correct your stance in a weight bearing position. Supports acquired over the Net or in a pharmacy don’t take under consideration your private foot makeup in a weight bearing position.
Your shoe size isn’t your arch size. You can both wear a size nine shoe, but have drastically different desires in arch supports. When you go to the foot alignment clinic, do not forget to bring in the shoes you wear the most. You do not have to live with foot, leg and back stiffness! Get back to enjoying those activities you used to like doing.