Flat feet damage ligaments and muscles by not providing the needed shock absorption that the feet need when walking. When injury or trauma tears these bands, the arch falls or flattens. Balance and motion decreases and the tendons do not pull together adequately. Sprains can lead to the weakening of these muscles so that the sufferer requires surgery or braces. Plantar fasciitis is another disease responsible for weakening the tendon that leads to flat or fallen arches.
The most important tendon is the plantar fascia which stretches from the front of the heel to underneath the toes. The next important is the spring ligament which prevent the ankle from dropping too far. The plantar ligaments aid in the rotation of the foot as a person walks.
Without these ligaments and tendons to stabilize the foot, the arch falls, and a person walks funny. To perform the task of walking, the ankle and leg work together. The tendons pull on the bones that raise and lower the arch. In a normal foot, when the foot first strikes the floor, the tibialis anterior turns the ankle so the person doesn’t trip. This pull also stabilizes the leg. People with congenital disabilities often have this from birth as do people with cerebral palsy or Down’s syndrome.
Flat feet put undue pressure and stress on the ligaments because the tendons and ligaments do not work as one. Each lift of the foot requires another stretch to stand or walk. This ailment often happens to the elderly especially if the trauma happens many times. Arthritis is another cause of flat feet. Pregnant women may also develop this condition as the added weight of the unborn child will act like obesity.
Preventative measures include physical therapy to restore the range of motion and the stretch of the ligaments and muscles, wearing the right size shoe, orthotics or shoe inserts. Resting, and applying ice packs to the foot can help to relieve the inflammation that causes the pain. Stretching the ligaments and muscles will help to alleviate the symptoms if they are not too severe. Use drugs like ibuprofen for the pain. Maintain good health care and avoid becoming overweight, and other risks like high blood pressure and diabetes. Avoid exercising on hard surfaces. Listen to your body. If the foot hurts, seek out an expert that will give you an answer.
In extreme cases, surgery repairs the ligaments or fuses the bone and the ligament so the joint works properly.