01 Dec What Causes a Fallen Arch?
A fallen arch is known by many names. You may know it more commonly as “flat feet” or even the medical name “pes planus”. The condition is incredibly common with one study suggesting that almost 25% of people have some form of flat feet. The same study also identified african americans as 3 times more likely than caucasians to have flat feet. In many it causes almost no problems – but for some its an excruciatingly painful condition that stops and robs them of the things they enjoy most in life. For those suffering from painful feet, which, affects almost 1 in 5 people in America by some estimates, a deep understanding of what causes a fallen arch, how to fix fallen arches and an outline of where to get fallen arches surgery is essential for getting back on track.
Arches of the foot
When we stand normally we do not put pressure on the entire base of our foot. There are a number of “arches” to the foot which limit excess pressure on the sole. These are known medically as:
- The “anterior transverse arch” (the arch at the front of your foot just beside the ball of it)
- The “medial longitudinal arch” (an arch on the inside of the sole of your foot)
- The “lateral longitudinal arch” (an arch on the outside of the sole of your foot)
What is a fallen arch?
A fallen arch, or flat foot, is where the longitudinal arches described above are abnormally flattened. People who have flat feet, therefore, have more of the sole of their feet touching the floor than normal.
What causes a fallen arch?
The loss of the longitudinal arches that lead to lots of problems in patients has a simple cause. The arches are formed by the tendons of the foot which are held tight and cause the foot to bend forming the arch. Therefore, anything that damages these tendons will cause a fallen arch. Similarly, is these tendons never become tight then the arch will never form. Some of the reasons for a fallen arch are listed below:
- Hereditary: some people may get fallen arches from their parents! The genetic material they inherited may mean these tendons aren’t tight and they have a natural flat foot
- Injury to the tendon: others such as athletes may injure the tendon, resulting in loss of the arch
- Pregnancy: Surprisingly, the extra weight associated with pregnancy can put extra pressure on the feet and slump the arches resulting in flat feet.
- Age: As we get older, the tendons in our body naturally lose some of their ability to remain tight, often resulting in a fallen arch
How to fix fallen arches?
Lots of people aren’t troubled by flat feet and don’t get any symptoms. But for those with constant pain that isn’t fixed with painkiller, insoles or other treatments fallen arches surgery at a specialist clinic may be an option.