?Pes Planus? is the medical term for flat feet. It comes from Latin, Pes = foot and Planus = plain, level ground. Very few people suffer from this condition, as a true flat foot is very rare. Less
than 5% of the population has flat feet. The majority of the Australian population, however, has fallen arches (an estimated 60-70% of the population) known in the medical profession as ?excess
pronation? or over-pronation. Over-pronation means the foot and ankle tend to roll inwards and the arch collapses with weight-bearing. This is a quite a destructive position for the foot to function
in and may cause a wide variety of foot, leg and lower back conditions.
Flat feet don't automatically mean you have a problem. The problem can be divided into a flexible flat foot or rigid flat foot. The rigid flat foot is one that does not change shape when the foot
becomes weight bearing. i.e. it does not go through the excessive motion of pronation. Generally speaking this foot does not provide too many problems. The flexible flat foot is the type that when it
becomes weight bearing the foot and ankle tends to roll in (pronates) too far. This type of person will often say I have great arches but when I stand up much of this arch disappears as the foot
excessively pronates When the foot is excessively pronating and causing problems like sore ankles, feet or knees when standing or exercising then arch support is extremely important to restore the
If you overpronate, your symptoms may include discomfort in the arch and sole of foot, your foot may appear to turn outward at the ankle, your shoes wear down faster on the medial (inner) side of
your shoes. Pain in ankle, shins, knees, or hips, especially when walking or running are classic symptoms of overpronation. Overpronation can lead to additional problems with your feet, ankles, and
knees. Runners in particular find that overpronation can lead to shin splints, tarsal tunnel syndrome, plantar fasciitis, compartment syndrome, achilles tendonitis, bunions or hallux valgus,
patello-femoral pain syndrome, heel spurs, metatarsalgia.
A quick way to see if you over-pronate is to look for these signs. While standing straight with bare feet on the floor, look so see if the inside of your arch or sole touches the floor. Take a look
at your hiking or running shoes; look for wear on the inside of the sole. Wet your feet and walk on a surface that will show the foot mark. If you have a neutral foot you should see your heel
connected to the ball of your foot by a mark roughly half of width of your sole. If you over-pronate you will see greater than half and up to the full width of your sole.
Non Surgical Treatment
Studies have shown that the most effective way to dexrease a high Q angle and lower the biomechanical stresses on the knee joint is to prevent excessive pronation with custom-maflexible orthotics.
One study found that using soft corrective orthotics was more effective in reduknee pain than a traditional exercise program. A more recent study showed that Q angle asymmetries, secondary to
excessive pronation affecting knee alignment, can be effectivecontrolled or corrected utilizing custom-made, flexible orthotics. Another project involving meof a running club determined that 75% of
those using orthotics eliminated or greatly reduced pain in the feet, ankles, shins, knees and hips
Stand with your heels together and feet turned out. Tighten the buttock muscles, slightly tilt your pelvis forwards and try to rotate your legs outwards. You should feel your
arches rising while you do this exercise.
Stand facing a wall and place hands on it for support. Lean forwards until stretch is felt in the calves. Hold for 30 seconds. Bend at knees and hold for a further 30 seconds.
Repeat 5 times.
While drawing your toes upwards towards your shins, roll a golf ball under the foot between 30 and 60 seconds. If you find a painful point, keep rolling the ball on that spot for 10
Big toe push:
Stand with your ankles in a neutral position (without rolling the foot inwards). Push down with your big toe but do not let the ankle roll inwards or the arch collapse. Hold for
5 seconds. Repeat 10 times. Build up to longer times and fewer repetitions.
Place a ball between your foot and a wall. Sitting down and keeping your toes pointed upwards, press the outside of the foot against the ball, as though pushing it into the
wall. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times.
Stand on one foot on the floor. The movements needed to remain balanced will strengthen the arch. When you are able to balance for 30 seconds, start doing this exercise
using a wobble board.