The foot contains 25 percent of the bones of the entire body. It contains 26 bones and 19 muscles. There are more nerve endings on the feet than on any other part of the body.
Believe it or not, people who don’t wear shoes have far healthier feet, less deformity and greater mobility of their feet than those who wear them. A good exercise that also acts as a massage for your feet is walking barefoot on a sandy beach – if the sand is clean and there are no dangerous objects on the beach. Walking on dry and warm sand stretches every muscle of the foot.
Acquired and congenital flat feet
Flat feet can be genetically predetermined (congenital, e.g. from birth) but also acquired (occurring during life, e.g. adults, increased exposure to weight-bearing).
Acquired feet deformities occur most often due to excessive weight that foot needs to carry. It occurs by lowering the arches of the feet, which lead to a structural change of the feet and cause the formation of flat feet. Flat feet are caused due to the disproportion between the weight our feet carry and the strength of the feet. What happens is that first, our muscles get weak, then ligaments, and at the end, the ratio and shape of the bones of our feet change.
Congenital deformity of the foot is more difficult to treat because in this case, the position of the ankle joint is different from birth. These are structural anomalies that have occurred with the formation of baby’s organs in the stomach. The deformity can also occur if the fetus in the abdomen is in an incorrect position so there is a pressure that is applied to the feet.
What are the most sensitive periods in our lives for our feet?
The risk of flat feet in children is particularly pronounced in the first to the second year of life. Activities that carry the risk of lowering the feet arches during this period are getting up, standing, and starting walking. These are the cases where a baby is trying to get on its feet prematurely when its foot muscles are not yet ready.
In pre-school, school age, and puberty, when they suddenly grow and gain weight, there is a possibility of this deformity. Children with flat feet often complain of pain in the feet, lower part of legs (due to stretching of certain muscles) and the knees. They can’t walk for long, and they may have spinal pain.
Flat feet in pregnancy are also common, all due to the sudden change in the weight. Women are thought to have four times more feet problems than men. This is logical because of the frequent wearing of tight and uncomfortable footwear, as well as high heels.
Also, carrying a heavy load continuously (heavy backpacks) can cause the foot to deform. While running, the pressure on our feet can be four times greater than when we walk. That is why we must have the appropriate footwear most (if not all) the time.
How to know if you have a foot deformity?
The foot that has begun to lower or which is already lowered will be recognized by the footprint on the flat surface. If you walk barefoot and your feet are wet, you will notice that the flat feet on the asphalt footprint have a fully lowered arch. Take a look at the sole of your shoes because that is the easiest way to see if your foot is normally in the correct position while you are walking.
The orthopedist will determine the position of the Achilles tendons and heels on examination. Through this examination, you will know at which degree is your foot lowered. Through various positions of your feet, the doctor will determine the type and degree of deformity, and therefore further therapy. When it comes to flat feet, treatment is always more successful if started at a younger age.
Bio: Nemanja is editor-in-chief @ WalkJogRun. You can find him on Twitter.
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