Q: I recently visited a podiatrist because of foot pain. He told me that I had “flat feet”. He didn’t offer too much more information. What exactly does that mean? Is that a hereditary condition? I found that it is uncomfortable to wear heels. Is there anything I can do for it?
A: Dear Reader,
“Flat feet” is a generalized and often over used term. I apologize on behalf of the podiatry community for the lack of information and treatment options provided to you. First off, what does the doc mean by flat feet and how does this translate into the pain you are feeling. Flat feet (pes planus) is a term used for when the medial arch of your foot is lower than normal. A good way to tell if you have flat feet, besides stepping on the Dr. Scholl’s kiosk at your local pharmacy, is to step into the sand barefoot and look at your imprint, or your wet footprint on the floor. The picture is an example of normal low and high arched feet. Or simply stand barefoot if there is no or very little space between your foot and the floor at the medial side (midline of your body); then you have a flat foot. There are many reason or causes for flat feet. To answer your question yes there is a hereditary component, but it can be partially or completely environment as well. Some people have flat feet as a child, these people can usually look around the family and see the trait in other family members. That means the structure of your foot is positioned for you to have a lower arch. Some people have hereditary factors that contribute to developing flat feet later in life. Double jointedness or ligament laxity may add to your likelihood of developing flat feet. Some causes are completely environmental, injury to a bone or tendon that supports the arch, being overweight, or chronic poor shoe gear.
Check out one of my blog about shoe selection for your foot type.