?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.
Although there are many factors that can contribute to the development of these conditions, improper biomechanics of the body plays a large and detrimental role in the process. Of the many
biomechanical elements involved, foot and ankle function perhaps contribute the most to these aches and pains.
When standing, your heels lean inward. When standing, one or both of your knee caps turn inward. Conditions such as a flat feet or bunions may occur. You develop knee pain when you are active or
involved in athletics. The knee pain slowly goes away when you rest. You abnormally wear out the soles and heels of your shoes very quickly.
Firstly, look at your feet in standing, have you got a clear arch on the inside of the foot? If there is not an arch and the innermost part of the sole touches the floor, then your feet are
over-pronated. Secondly, look at your running shoes. If they are worn on the inside of the sole in particular, then pronation may be a problem for you. Thirdly, try the wet foot test. Wet your feet
and walk along a section of paving and look at the footprints you leave. A normal foot will leave a print of the heel, connected to the forefoot by a strip approximately half the width of the foot on
the outside of the sole. If you?re feet are pronated there may be little distinction between the rear and forefoot, shown opposite. The best way to determine if you over pronate is to visit a
podiatrist or similar who can do a full gait analysis on a treadmill or using forceplates measuring exactly the forces and angles of the foot whilst running. It is not only the amount of over
pronation which is important but the timing of it during the gait cycle as well that needs to be assessed.
Non Surgical Treatment
No matter what the cause in your case, over pronation can be remedied in several ways. Those who are overweight should consider permanently losing weight to naturally alleviate pressure on the
ligaments and heel of the foot. Also, you should consult a podiatrist to examine your posture and movement habits. You may be reinjuring yourself due to poor alignment without even knowing it. If you
also have lower back problems, this could be a sign of over pronation as a result of misalignment.
Many of the prevention methods for overpronation orthotics, for example, can be used interchangeably with treatment methods. If the overpronation is severe, you should seek medical attention from a
podiatrist who can cast you for custom-made orthotics. Custom-made orthotics are more expensive, but they last longer and provide support, stability, and balance for the entire foot. You can also
talk with a shoe specialist about running shoes that offer extra medial support and firm heel counters. Proper shoes can improve symptoms quickly and prevent them from recurring. Surgery can
sometimes help cure and prevent this problem if you suffer from inherited or acquired pes planus deformity. Surgery typically involves stabilizing the bones to improve the foot?s support and