Pes planus or flat feet is a postural defect in which the arches of the foot collapse and the foot no longer has a normal raised arch while standing. This results in the entire sole to come in nearly-complete contact with the ground. Pes planus is normal during child growth, but, if the condition does not subside over time, it can persist throughout the adult life and pose certain developmental problems. While normal flat feet do not require treatment, prolonged feet and ankle pain due to this problem have to be addressed. Physiotherapy can be an effective solution to pes planus. Here are a few treatment methods physiotherapy uses to cure patients:
1. Manual Therapy
Also known as manipulative therapy, this technique is used as a means of inducing a healing effect and relieving pain in the affected part of the body. This includes massage therapy, which is the stimulation of soft tissues of the body. In the case of pes planus, the feet are gently massaged to produce a therapeutic feeling. It helps in alleviating the discomfort caused by the daily activities such as walking, running or even standing.
2. Dynamic foot Posture Exercise
Gentle exercises are used to ease the discomfort of the feet and improve the flexibility of motion. Some of the simple exercises used for treating pes planus are:
Toe clawing – Bend the toes of the feet completely. Remain in this position for some time before relaxing again. Repeat this process about 10-15 times, thrice a day for best results.
Toe spreading – Pull the toes away from each other and then towards one another. This aids in flexibility and ease of motion.
Foot closing – Form a fist with your feet, then open it.
Active foot rolling – Roll your foot into different alphabet shapes such as “O,” “C” or “S.”
3. Electrotherapeutic Modalities
Heat and cold therapy are used to provide relaxation and relieve foot pain. Modern and tech-enabled methods such as ultrasound, shockwave therapy and TENS enhance the effects of rehabilitation. Shock waves are high-frequency waves which are introduced to painful areas of the body (in this the foot) to relieve pain.
4. Biomechanical Analysis
Physiotherapists may also recommend biomechanical analysis to perform an in-depth study of the patient’s walking patterns and running style to identify any problems and find respective solutions. Techniques such as running analysis, walking analysis and footwear analysis are used. Poorly designed footwear can aggravate the cause of flat feet. Hence, your physiotherapist may recommend the best type of footwear suited to your feet to relieve pain.
Also called foot orthoses, orthotics are custom foot supports designed to fit your feet perfectly and aid in walking. Insoles are placed inside your shoe to provide support and flexibility to your flatfoot. Wearing such medically prescribed equipment assists in speedy recovery. They also decrease the overall stress experienced by your already painful feet.
If you are experiencing long-term pain in your feet or ankle and difficulty in walking, consider visiting our physio clinic. Our physiotherapy staff has more than 30 years of combined clinical experience. We offer a variety of services to treat pes planus. With a high customer satisfaction rate, we are confident to get you back to your best.