Flat feet are a serious problem that can cause serious and irreparable damage to health. However, it is often ignored. Some people don’t want to go to the doctor, others think it’s okay. Meanwhile, experts say that in general, you can recognize flat feet on your own. On what grounds can this be done? aif.ru told director of the Podiatr company, executive director of the Association of Medical Centers and Doctors Olga Chizhevskaya.
1. Moving to familiar distances has become difficult
Previously, it was possible to walk several kilometers without much difficulty, but now it is possible to overcome no more than one kilometer. And all this because of the pain in the feet. The cause of pain is the increased load on the foot due to the deterioration of its depreciation properties. From the foot, the pain spreads to the calf muscles and is accompanied by cramps in them. Over time, the pain intensifies, and the distance traveled decreases.
2. There were swelling of the feet and ankles
Due to the redistribution of the load on the foot, blood circulation worsens. Venous outflow suffers to a greater extent. At the same time, the pressure in the veins increases, and the liquid part of the blood in the form of edema accumulates in the soft tissues. With a pronounced neglected flatfoot – a decrease in the height of the arches of the foot – edema from the foot and ankle joint extends to the entire lower leg.
3. The veins of the lower leg have expanded
This pathological condition is called varicose veins, or varicose veins. With venous congestion, blood from the deep veins of the lower leg is discharged into the superficial ones. Crowded with blood, they become dense, twisted.
4. Pain in the knees
Due to the deterioration of the depreciation properties of the foot, the load on the entire musculoskeletal system increases. One of the first to be affected are the knee joints, which provide movement and maintenance of the body in a vertical position. With increased load, the cartilaginous tissue of the knee joint is destroyed. There are painful sensations, the range of motion in the knee is limited.
5. Back pain appeared
Similar changes occur in the cartilage of the intervertebral discs of the lumbar spine. The destruction of the cartilage leads to a decrease in the height between the vertebrae. Nerve roots are infringed in the intervertebral foramen.
6. The foot visually became larger
Normally, the foot grows up to about 20 years. It is possible to increase it not only due to growth, but also due to a decrease in the height of the arches with flat feet. For this reason, the foot becomes flattened. With transverse flat feet, it increases in the lateral direction, and with longitudinal – in the anteroposterior. And if there is a subjective sensation of an increase in the foot in adulthood, this is a cause for concern.
7. Shoe size has increased
Subjective sensations find objective confirmation. It used to be comfortable in old shoes, but now it’s cramped and you need to buy shoes one size larger. Although with isolated transverse flat feet, the anteroposterior size of the foot may decrease.
8. Shoe soles wear out in unusual places
Usually it is washed on the heel or on the toe. It is on these places that most of the load falls while walking. With flat feet, the load is redistributed to the inner edge of the foot. As a result, the outsole mostly wears out here.
9. The appearance of painful corns
These are areas of excessive keratinization and thickening of the skin. They form in places of greatest friction, mainly on the heels. But with flat feet, the configuration of the foot changes. Due to the increased area of support, corns appear on most of the surface of the sole. Often they can be found on the back and plantar surface of the fingers.
10. The appearance of a characteristic bone at the base of the first finger
This is a sign of valgus deformity of the big toe, when it deviates outward in the articulation between the I metatarsal bone and the phalanx. As a result, this place sticks out in the form of the notorious bone. Here inflammation develops with pain, swelling and redness of the skin.
11. Ingrown toenail
When the first finger is displaced, the nail plate grows into the soft tissues of the nail bed. This is manifested by inflammation of the soft tissues of the nail phalanx with redness and pain. In the absence of treatment, an infection joins, inflammation becomes purulent.
12. Hammer toe deformity
With flat feet, the tone of the foot muscles changes. This leads to excessive flexion in some interphalangeal joints and extension in others. As a result, the fingers become like small hammers or the beak of a bird. Hammer-shaped deformation, as a rule, the second or third toes are exposed.
13. Pain in the heels
This is a sign of plantar fasciitis, more commonly known as a heel spur. Plantar fascia is a bundle of tendon fibers that covers the foot from the plantar surface. Due to the increased load on the foot, the plantar fascia becomes inflamed at the point of contact with the calcaneus. A painful outgrowth forms on the corresponding area of the calcaneus.
14. Difficulty squatting
Due to the deterioration of the supporting function of the foot, it is difficult to maintain balance while squatting. In such an uncomfortable position, it is easy to fall forward or on your back.
Based on these signs, one can only suspect flat feet. And in order to refute or confirm the diagnosis, an objective diagnosis is needed. It includes radiography, MRI of the foot, the study of footprints. But whatever the result, all of the above signs indicate that the load on the foot needs to be reduced.
For this, full contact orthoses are recommended. These are individual orthopedic insoles. They are made of polymeric material according to the patient’s foot. Thanks to them, made according to individual characteristics, the load on the foot is reduced, pain and swelling go away, and the process of walking is facilitated.