If you take a close look an adult foot (from the inside) you will notice an inward/upward curve at the center. This curve is known as an arch, and it’s formed by tendons in the foot and lower leg attached at the heel and foot bones. When these tendons pull and attach normally, the foot forms a normal arch. When the tendons don’t pull together properly, they don’t form any arch. This results in flat feet popularly known as fallen arches.
How to Test Yourself for Fallen Arches
You can test yourself to see if you have flat feet or fallen arches by using a simple home experiment. First, dip your feet in water. Then step on a hard flat surface, like a dry floor or a piece of paper on the floor, where your footprints will show. Step away and examine your foot prints. If you see complete/full imprints of your feet on the floor, you may have fallen arches. However, it’s important to seek a second option from a podiatrist if you suspect you have fallen arches so they can properly diagnose and treat you.
Main Causes of Fallen Arches
Fallen arches in adults are caused by several things. Below are some of the most common causes:
- Abnormalities present from birth
- Torn or stretched tendons (resulting from foot injuries or foot strains)
- Inflammation or damage of the PTT (posterior tibial tendon). The PTT is responsible for connecting the middle of the arch to the ankle and lower leg
- Dislocated or broken bones (also as a result of injury)
- Health problems like rheumatoid arthritis
- Nerve problems
- Other factors like diabetes, obesity, aging and pregnancy (these factors are known to increase the risk of fallen arches)
Treatment of Fallen Arches
Fallen arches are usually treated using stretching exercises, physical therapy and medication (to reduce inflammation). In extreme cases however, surgery is recommended.