Do you know according to research conducted in 2007, around 26.2% of people have flat feet? Flat feet are characterized by collapsing the foot arch to the extent that it comes in complete contact with the ground. It is one of the most common deformities in adults as well as in children.
But have you ever wondered what actually causes flat feet? Well, according to experts, there could be more than one reason for it. Just like most other things, flat feet is also a medical condition that is caused by multiple factors.
Here in this article, we are going to present you with 8 Major Causes of Flat Feet.
Let’s start with the causes responsible for flat feet in children (specifically from the time of birth)
Just as we mentioned earlier, there could be more than one reason for flat feet. In children, these causal factors vary from genetics to some accident or injury. However, it is important to note that most of the children have flat feet till the age of 3 (delays can also occur so there’s no need to worry if your kid is having flat feet by the age of 3 or 4)
There are two major kinds of conditions that lead to flat feet in children. These conditions are based on muscle tone.
Low muscle tone
In this condition, the ligaments are too stretchy and flexible that allow the bones and muscles to move more than the normal range, i.e. Ehlers–Danlos syndrome.
High muscle tone
In this condition, the Achilles tendon is shorter than the normal length that caused more rigid stretching.
Let’s discuss the causes in detail.
Genetics plays a highly crucial role in physical development. Most of the medical conditions present today have a genetic aspect related to them. Flat feet, too, is one of the most common medical conditions that is caused by genetics.
The most common genetic conditions related to flat feet include:
- Calcaneovalgus (excessively bent up calf bone)
- Dyspraxia (a developmental condition that slows down the physical development in infants)
- Congenital vertical talus (congenital flat foot)
- Hypermobility (abnormally increased joint mobility)
- Ehlers –Danlos syndrome (joint hypermobility, abnormally elastic skin and fragile tissues)
- Tarsal Coalitions (fused foot bones)
Lack of movement
Another contributing factor to flat feet in kids is lack of movement. It actually could be a side effect of any hereditary condition that leads to slow growth in children. When the growth is delayed, the crawling and walking get affected ultimately leading to no or less movement.
Lessor no movement can be regarded as one of the causal factors of flat feet, however, the prevalence is much lesser than the hereditary causes.
Just as in children, flat feet can be caused by multiple factors in adults. However, the ratio of flat feet is much higher in adults than children due to numerous reasons. Flat feet most commonly occur in women above the age of 40 and in people with obesity.
Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction
PTTD is a medical condition that affects one of the most crucial tendons of the foot; the posterior tibial tendon. That’s from where its name is generated. If a person has flat feet caused by PTTD, he/she may feel pain in the foot or along the back calf.
The tendons present in the foot are mainly responsible for supporting the arch. If the tendons are torn or get injured, it can lead to a collapsed arch. This way, the person can acquire flat feet that is painful, especially when walking or standing.
According to research, obesity is one of the most common causes of adult-acquired flat feet. As the body gain weight, the pressure on the feet increases. This increased pressure can cause the arch to collapse, ultimately leading to flat feet.
The arches are responsible for bearing body weight and also act as the shock absorbers. When the strain increases on arches, they can collapse.
The next major cause of flat feet in adults is diabetes. Most people are aware of what diabetes is and how it can affect your body. A person who is diabetic has a higher chance of developing foot problems and infections.
People with diabetes usually have less feeling or sensation in their feet, making the condition worse because they’re unable to sense the problem at the initial stage. This complexity can cause chronic bone damage and even lead to a severely deformed foot that may need surgery.
Injuries are one of the common causes that lead to physical disabilities. Flat feet can also be caused by injury, regardless of how major or minor it is. If the injury affects the tendons in your foot, there are higher chances of the arch collapsing.
Lisfranc injury is the kind of injury that affects the middle of the foot. This is highly painful and can cause serious trouble for the bearer.
Apart from injuries, a severe workout can also cause flat feet. That is why sportsmen and athletes have a higher rate of flat feet than other people
Women gain weight during pregnancy, which is the sole reason why most women experience flat feet during pregnancy. However, this condition is temporary and the flat feet come back to their original shape once the delivery is carried out.
Flat feet during pregnancy can be hurtful for many as the strain on the feet increases. Foot massage is the best remedy to relieve the temporary pain and to lessen the strain.
Arthritis is one of the painful body conditions and people who have experienced it, know it very well. Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the types of arthritis that can cause flat feet. In this arthritis, the cartilage becomes inflamed and causes the foot to lose its arch.
Rheumatoid is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks and inflames the joints, especially the foot joints.
Aging is another factor leading to flat feet. As the body grows older, its connective tissues lose flexibility. This too can lead to a flattened arch. Moreover, the tendons supporting the arch can also become weak as the person grows older. Both of these conditions ultimately lead to flat feet.
Marfan’s syndrome is a genetic disorder that affects the connective tissues. It is usually diagnosed in the late 30s as the body starts to grow older.
Leg length inequality
Last but not least is this condition in which one leg is bigger than the other one. This can cause the longer leg to put more pressure on the foot in order to compensate for the inequality. This way, one foot can become flattened while the other remains normal.
Regardless of what caused the flat feet, if you’re having any inconvenience with it, you need to consult a doctor. It’s better to treat the condition before it becomes worst.
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