What are Fallen Arches ?
The arch creates a space between the inner side of your foot and the floor. It is a key part of the structure of the foot and ensures that we use each part of the foot the way the body intended – in other words we don’t put more pressure on one side than we do the other.
The height of the arch varies between people, but a low arch or no arch at all can cause problems. Feet with fallen arches are often called ‘flat feet’, the inner of the foot is flat and the foot may roll over to the inner side, known as pronation.
It is possible to carry on as normal when you have flat feet – some people won’t experience any pain. Others however will suffer from pain and other associated symptoms.
Symptoms of Fallen Arches
Symptoms do depend on the severity of the condition. There can be a combination of the following:
- Uneven weight distribution – also known as over or under pronation.
- Pain at the inner side of the ankle.
- Pain in the arch.
- Pain in the calf, knee, hip, back.
- Stiffness in the foot.
Causes of Fallen Arches
Flat feet can be hereditary and present themselves at birth. For others the condition can occur as a result of mistreating the feet – for example wearing high heels for prolonged periods of time, or wearing shoes with no support.
Flat feet or fallen arches can also result from:
- Weakened muscles in the foot due to ageing
- Weakened muscles in the foot due to injury
Relief and Prevention of Fallen Arches
For most people, the prevention or relief of fallen arches can come from proper footwear. Look for shoes that have support and stability through the arch – this will often be specially listed but will also be referred to as a moulded sole. There are also insoles that offer increased arch support. There is also the option to have custom orthotics, or insoles, built to uniquely fit your feet.
In severe cases, surgery is an option in order to stabilise the bones and improve the structure of the foot.