How do you know? Have you noticed when walking with wet feet across concrete or sand that your foot’s impression doesn’t appear to have an arch? Or have you had a doctor, podiatrist or certified pedorthist tell you have flat feet?
Your foot actually has three arches that help support and redistribute your body’s weight when standing, providing strength and stability. The arches also absorb the force of your body’s weight when walking and running. Your arches have to be sturdy and flexible to adapt to the various surfaces we walk on, as well as to the stresses we put on our feet.
What Are Flat Feet?
When we’re an infant and toddler, we normally have flat feet since our feet develop during this timeframe. However, some people just don’t develop arches. For others, as we get older, the arches can fall from a traumatic injury to the foot or ankle, or from the everyday stress on our feet. People with flat feet or fallen arches may have no arch or arches that are very low.
Some risk factors that may increase your likelihood of developing flat feet include:
- Family history of fallen arches
- Posterior tibial tendon tear or dysfunction
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Nervous system or muscular diseases, like cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy or spina bifida
People with flat feet often have overpronation, or excessive pronation. This condition causes the heel or ankle to tip inward when you’re standing or walking. The muscles in your lower legs will pull and your knees will turn inward (also called knock-kneed). Plus your feet may point outwards.
While some people with flat feet or very low arches may experience no problems, most people will have decreased stability in the knees, a shorten stride and poorer balance. Eventually, they’ll suffer from knee, hip and lower back pain. Overpronation also can lead to heel pain, arch pain, plantar fasciitis, heel spurs and tendonitis.
Because of the uneven distribution of bodyweight, you may find that the heel of your shoes wears out more quickly and more on one side than the other.
What Can You Do?
First, you should have your feet and gait evaluated by a certified professional to determine if you do have flat feet or overpronation.
If you do suffer from flat feet pain:
You should wear supportive, well-fitted shoes. Refer to our Shoe Fitting Guide for more information. Also, extra-wide fitting shoes can improve symptoms.
Custom orthotics, like the ezWalker® Performance Insole, provide the arch support you need to correct overpronation and flat feet or fallen arches. These insoles strategically raise the medial, lateral, and trans-metatarsal arches of your feet to provide you with proper bio-mechanical support. Your feet will be guided to walk from lateral heel to medial forefoot. And since your feet will be better biomechanically aligned, each step will be controlled throughout the gait cycle, reducing the stress and strain on your feet, knees, hips, and/or lower back. ezWalker® Performance Insoles will help you maintain balance, stability, and proper posture – while providing pain relief.
Since the introduction of the ezWalker® Performance Insole in 2008, many people have reported improved foot health. Most cases show improvement in about one year, although there has been proven in as little as six months.
Because … when your feet feel good, you feel good.