Flat feet and overpronation

Flat feet and overpronation

Flat feet, also known as ‘fallen arches’, lack the natural arch that most feet have, leaving most of the foot in contact with the ground in a normal standing position.

Many people with flat feet do not experience any ill effects but others suffer pain in the feet, ankles, knees, hips or even the back. Often this is because the lack of an arch causes the feet to fall inwards as a person walks, which is known as overpronation. This can cause an abnormal gait whereby the knees to come together or brush against each other as the person walks, putting abnormal strain on the joints of the legs and back. You may have noticed when walking behind someone that they appear to be walking only on the insides of their feet – this is over pronation.

While in extreme cases fallen arches may require an operation, the most usual course of treatment focuses on management of the condition by a qualified podiatrist. Corrective measures they employ include physiotherapy to stretch the muscles and ligaments of the legs to prevent the feet from falling inwards, wearing special inserts inside the shoes to lift the arches, and wearing supportive, well-fitting shoes. If you are a keen runner who suffers from over pronation, many manufacturers produce special training shoes with pronation control. Wearing ill-fitting or poor quality shoes without adequate support can exacerbate the condition.

If you suspect you have fallen arches visit your family doctor and ask to be referred to a podiatrist for an evaluation.

Remember, it’s your life, your future, Your Health First.