Oct 31, 2021
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Diagnosis: flat foot

Diagnosis: flat foot

The foot is very complex. Its vault is built of 26 bones connected by 33 joints, which are strengthened by numerous muscles, ligaments, tendons and cartilage. From the colossal load, the joints of the foot are gradually destroyed, and its arch sags.


The feet could be compared to the foundation of a multi-story building or the wheels of an SUV. They bear the weight of the body, and this is a very serious burden!

So that the feet can cope with it, nature designed them according to the principle of springs – we rely on their front sections and on the heels, and the rest of the bones, together with the joints connecting them, form an arch curved upward. It is she who plays the role of a natural shock absorber, softening our every step.

However, over time, the feet spread out. And walking turns into a series of concussions and blows that are transmitted along the spine to the brain, as well as internal organs. Because of this, the vertebrae and the small joints connecting them are injured, osteochondrosis develops, and a headache occurs. The joints of the legs are also subject to constant injury, which also begin to hurt – first only the feet, and then the legs and knees.

By itself, flat feet do not go away, do not correct, but on the contrary – they are gradually aggravated. The fact that the process has gone quite far is evidenced by the deformity of the big toe with a “bone” that has come out, which gives a lot of unpleasant sensations. Another problem provoked by flat feet is dry calluses (corns). They form on the soles at the base of the toes and above their joints, causing significant discomfort.


Normal footwear is not suitable for problem feet – only orthopedic ones! Although it costs more than usual, the state allocates funds for the purchase of such boots for those whose flat feet progresses, making it difficult to move.

The likelihood of acquiring flat feet exists among those who spend a lot of time on their feet. When walking, the foot is in contact with the ground for 0.6 seconds. If you walked 1.5 km, then with a weight of 70 kg, your legs withstood a load of 120 thousand kg. How can the foot not flatten out here?

The main requirement here is convenience. And although today it does not exclude elegance at all, there should not be any narrowed noses and “hairpins” here. The heel is needed not just low (no higher than 2-4 cm), but a special design – with an extended inner edge, the heel is hard, with extended inner and outer edges to fix the joints of the foot in the desired position. Fullness – sufficient so that the leg is not cramped. The sole is rigid with a built-up roll of the foot in the forefoot.

Plus a special insole, which, if necessary, can be removed by replacing it with an individual orthopedic one. There are models of insoles with a massage effect, which are made reversible: in the usual position they are just insoles, but if they are inserted upside down, the massage surface turns out to be on top. This design not only supports the foot, but also corrects flat feet through reflex stimulation.

Reliable fixation of the foot with ease of putting on is achieved through the use of Velcro. Another option is a combination of zipper and laces. The lacing is adjusted to the leg once, and then you use the zipper for convenience. Previously, all orthopedic shoes were made to order, but now you can buy ready-made ones: not only orthopedists, but also famous designers work on its models, and therefore it looks much prettier than custom-made.


Orthopedic shoes create comfort for problem legs, but do not correct foot deformities. This task is solved by special insoles.

The orthopedic insole does not look like a regular insole – it has a more convex shape. This is achieved by supporting the three arches of the foot: inner (instep support), outer and transverse. In fact, the orthopedic insole performs the same spring function that the flat foot has lost. As a result, gait becomes light, back and lower back pain is reduced, and the legs are less tired when walking.

In 3% of cases, flat feet are inherited, and in the rest it is an acquired problem, caused mainly by uncomfortable shoes and increased stress on the joints of the foot due to excess weight or standing work.

It’s easier, of course, to buy ready-made insoles. It is more convenient with them than without them, but they do not solve individual problems of the foot. After all, the finished insole is averaged – it is intended for everyone who has a foot of the right size. And everyone’s legs are different, and the degree of flat feet is also different, so only those devices that are made for this particular leg have a therapeutic effect.

Previously, their production took a lot of time, but now orthopedists have switched to new technologies that allow making insoles on the foot in the presence of a patient. The whole process from inspection on a special device – a plantoscope – to receiving a finished order takes 10-20 minutes. In this case, special semi-finished insoles with a layer of thermoplastic are used. Having picked up a workpiece suitable for the type and size of feet, the future insoles are heated with a hairdryer and, using a special rubber band, are modeled directly on the client’s feet – first on one and then on the other.

It often happens like this: put on shoes with insoles, and you are uncomfortable. It doesn’t matter: thermoplastic allows for remodeling, and not just once, but as much as necessary. The insole can be reheated and re-fitted to the foot for complete comfort. The service life of individual insoles is from 2 to 5 years: it depends on the intensity of wear and the load on the feet.


Bare foot prints. It is enough to look closely at the wet footprints on the floor after a shower, or even better – on the sand, to make everything clear. The ideal foot rests on the outside edge, heel and toes, while the inside forms a bridge-like arch. If the foot looks too wide, the diagnosis is clear – flat feet!

The outline on the sheet. If you wish, you can carry out express diagnostics of flat feet, as orthopedists do. To do this, spread a large sheet on the floor, take off your shoes, grease your feet with fat cream and stand on the paper. Having received the prints, the specialists connect the upper and lower edges of the notch on each sole with a straight line. Perpendicular to this line, draw another so that it intersects the notch on each track in the deepest place.

• Does the narrowest part of the foot take up a third of the length of a perpendicular drawn? This is the norm!

• Half? Flat feet!

• Less than a third? The diagnosis will be different – a hollow, that is, an overly convex foot with an increased height of the longitudinal arch, which is also not a gift – it hurts to walk, the legs get tired quickly, the gait is disturbed …

Revision of footwear. By the way it gets in the process of wearing, where and how it gets lost, it is easy to draw a conclusion about the state of the foot. If the heel is clipped on the outside edge, and the toe on the inside, then everything is in order. With flat feet, the inner edge of the sole and heel wears out faster, and with a hollow foot, the outer edge of the sole is most worn out.

Maxim Polyansky

Photo: Adobe stock

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