Relieve Health Group

Relieve Health Group

Flatfoot, also known as pes planus or fallen arches, is a common condition where the arches on the inside of your feet are flattened, allowing the entire soles of your feet to touch the floor when you stand up. A common and usually painless condition, flatfoot can occur when the arches don’t develop during childhood. In other cases, flatfoot can result from injury or from the simple wear-and-tear stresses of age.

Flatfeet can sometimes contribute to problems in your ankles and knees because the condition can alter the alignment of your legs. If you aren’t experiencing any pain, no treatment is usually necessary for flatfoot. However, some people experience discomfort and pain, often in the heel or arch area, possibly accompanied by swelling along the inner side of the ankle. This is what is referred to as symptomatic flatfoot.

The study titled “Kinematic differences between neutral and flat feet with and without symptoms as measured by the Oxford Foot Model” delves into the differences between neutral feet (those with normal arches) and flat feet, both symptomatic and asymptomatic. The researchers aim to understand why some people with flat feet experience discomfort while others do not.

Traditionally, standing posture has been used to assess these feet. However, this study suggests that examining foot motion during dynamic activities such as walking, which place greater demands on the feet, may be more relevant. This is because when we walk, our feet are subjected to forces many times our body weight, and the way our feet handle these forces can greatly affect whether or not we experience pain.

The Oxford Foot Model, a multi-segment kinematic model, is used in this study to measure the foot motion. This model allows for the measurement of the movement of different parts of the foot independently, providing a more detailed and accurate picture of foot motion than previous models.

This research could have significant implications for the treatment and management of flatfoot. If it is found that certain patterns of foot motion during walking are associated with symptomatic flatfoot, interventions could be developed to modify these patterns and potentially alleviate symptoms. This could include exercises to strengthen certain muscles in the foot, orthotics to modify foot motion, or even surgery in severe cases.

Moreover, understanding the differences in foot motion between neutral feet and flat feet, both symptomatic and asymptomatic, could also help in the early detection of potential problems. For example, if a child with asymptomatic flatfoot is found to have a pattern of foot motion similar to that seen in symptomatic flatfoot, interventions could be implemented early to potentially prevent the development of symptoms.

In conclusion, this study represents an important step forward in our understanding of flatfoot. By moving beyond simple assessments of standing posture and examining the complex motions of the foot during walking, we can gain a deeper understanding of this condition and how to best manage it. Whether you have neutral feet, flat feet, symptomatic or asymptomatic, understanding the mechanics of your feet can lead to better foot health and overall well-being.

To read the full journal article, head to

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