No treatment is required if flat feet do not cause problems. Well-fitted shoes, especially extra-broad fitting types of shoes can help. For people suffering from over-pronated feet, a special insole, which prevents feet rolling over too much, can ease the problems. These specialised insoles can be advised on by a chiropodist or a physiotherapist. These insoles are also called orthotics and are available in pharmacies. A more permanent solution is a customized orthotic, whereby an orthotic is specifically designed for your foot. Measurements for this type of insole are taken, by your chartered physiotherapist, from a plaster cast of your foot or by stepping into a foam box. These are then sent on to a lab where the custom insole will be created.
If pain occurs, rest, ice and over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, or NSAIDS (e.g. ibuprofen) can give temporary relief. Children with an abnormal foot that has not developed properly may require an operation to straighten the foot or to separate bones that have fused. Luckily operations are rarely needed as these are rare causes of flat feet in children. Other actions that can help include wearing footwear with lower heels and wide toes, losing weight if appropriate and doing appropriate exercises that strengthen muscles in the feet which can include walking barefoot, exercises called toe curls (flexing the toes) and heel raises (standing on tiptoes).
Heel cord stretching exercises
These stretch and lengthen the Achilles tendon and posterior calf muscles. Your physiotherapist is best for advising on appropriate exercises.
How to do:
Stand facing a wall with your hands on the wall at about eye level. Put the leg needing stretching about a step behind the other leg. Keeping the back heel on the floor, bend the front knee until you can feel a stretch in the back leg. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat 2 to 4 times. You should aim to do this exercise 3 to 4 times a day. Your local Chiropody Service
Our Chiropodist James Pedley can also advise on flat feet in adults and children; to book his clinic for adults or children call 04493 34591. a His Clinics is every Tuesday and Thursday at Whelehans Pharmacy Pearse St.
This article is shortened to fit within Newspaper space limits. More detailed information and leaflets is available in Whelehans
For comprehensive and free health advice and information call in to Whelehans, log on to www.whelehans.ie or dial 04493 34591 (Pearse St) or 04493 10266 (Clonmore). Find us on Facebook.