As the cases of coronavirus continue occurring around the world , we are seeing an increase in people with "Flintstone" feet and I believe it is also a consequence of the pandemic. What is it? Do you have it?
It's FLAT FEET! About 1 in 4 people in the US has flat feet, Pes Planus in medical terms, also referred to as Fallen Arches or Pronated Feet. Simply stated, flatfoot is when the sole of your foot is in full contact on the ground. It's called "Flintstone" feet because of the prehistoric family cartoon living before shoes were invented.
What Causes Flat Feet?
The cause of flat feet is usually genetics, age, weight, etc., and can create painful body issues. Most recently, Podiatrists are seeing an increase due to the months and months of living and working from home barefoot or wearing flip-flops. As the ligaments stretch out, the arches begin to fall. Tendinitis and plantar fasciitis are also being diagnosed more than ever.
Simple lifestyle changes like wearing supportive shoes at home is a must and insoles that will lift the arch to engage and strengthen the core can all help treat flat feet. Even athletic sneakers are better than going barefoot. If you are going out walking or running, invest in a good supportive shoe. Your feet need it.
Why Is Your Arch Important?
The arches add elasticity and flexibility causing the middle of the foot to spread and close. Arches help absorb shock and are key to the foot's strength and body balance. Arches also help distribute weight evenly around the entire foot. When the foot is flat, the rest of the body has to make up for no arch and adds additional burden on the feet, knees, and back creating inflammation and pain.
If there is pain in the foot, ankle, or other body areas, flat feet could be the reason and you should be seen by a Podiatrist. They will determine if your arches have fallen and suggest treatment options.
If pain caused by flat feet is ignored, it could become worse over time. Walking and other activities could become harder to participate in, the body's balance will be affected and the pain will appear in other parts of the body, including muscle, joint and tendons. Bunions, calluses, plantar fasciitis, hammer toes, blisters and other painful problems will increase. Athletes will experience shin splints and stress fractures.
So wake up and put on those supportive shoes, yabba dabba doo.
Dr. Jeffrey S. Hurless
DPM, FACFAS Board Certified Foot & Ankle Surgeon/Podiatrist
Medical Director, HealthyFeetStore.com