Having a diagnosis of “pes planus” means you lack an arch in the foot, which is why your foot is completely flat against the floor when you stand. Having flat feet can cause a multitude of issues, including foot or ankle pain, knee pain, hip pain, and back pain.
Some do not experience any pain with flat feet, but for those who do, the most common areas of pain are the ankles and knees. Flat feet are defined as lacking an arch of the foot. When the arch is absent, the alignment of the ankle, knee, and hip changes, causing alterations in your body mechanics, or how you move. These deviations in your mechanics can cause pain. Most likely, patients experience the pain in their ankles or knees first before discovering the cause of the pain is the flat foot.
Many times people are born with flat feet. However, there are various factors that can increase the chances of flat feet in those who were not born with them. These factors include obesity, injury to the foot or ankle, rheumatoid arthritis, and aging.
Think of the legs like chains – the hip, knee, ankle, and feet being different links on the chain. When one of the links throughout the chain is “weak” or injured, it predisposes the rest of the links for injury.
Your therapist at Specialized Physical Therapy will perform a thorough evaluation of your posture, alignment, and mobility. Your physical therapist will be able to determine if you have flat feet by observing your feet in stance. He or she will also examine the ankle, knee, and hip joints to determine the effects of the flat feet on the rest of your body. Your therapist may also ask to look at your work and casual shoes to determine whether they are the right fit for you.
Treatment and Exercises
After a thorough evaluation, your physical therapist will create a comprehensive and personalized treatment program to address your symptoms. The program will include exercises aimed to get you walking without pain. Your therapist will also look at your shoes and may suggest orthotics or different styles of shoes to make you more comfortable and support your feet more effectively to get you moving again without pain.