Pronated/”Flat” feet, Plantar Fasciitis and Shin Splints

The colloquial “flat feet” refers to a poor alignment of the tarsal bones within the foot and a lack of strength and integrity within the connective tissue (ligaments/fascia) allowing the arch to rest in a flatter position. This is termed excess pronation. Some pronation, or downward movement, of the arch of the foot is necessary when walking and running for shock absorption. If there is already too much pronation at rest, the shock transfers to the ankle joint, shins and knees. It can cause problems such as shin splints, patella-femoral pain and Achilles tendinopathies, as well as plantar fasciitis. Shin splints is a common term which encompasses irritation of the muscular attachments onto the tibia (the shin bone) at varying levels of severity, even to the point of developing stress fractures. Like patella-femoral pain syndromes and Achilles tendinopathies, shin splints are commonly associated with exercise and loading. Physiotherapy management includes education on self-management, strengthening and stretching exercises, adjusting exercise load and type as required and electrotherapeutic modalities. One of the key components for addressing flat feet, and these associated problems, is correcting foot position.

Plantar fasciitis can develop as an “independent issue”, but will sometimes develop along with Achilles tendinopathies. The plantar fascia is a broad, thick connective tissue similar to tendon, which supports the arch of your foot. With repetitive strain, the insertions of the fascia to the bone at the base of the heel and just inside the foot can become painfully inflamed. If this is left untreated you can even develop bony heel spurs. Like tendinopathies, plantar fasciitis is frequently associated with changes or increase in your normal exercise, especially if you increase the plyometric load – i.e. increase jogging or high impact aerobic type exercises. There are an extremely high percentage of people who suffer plantar fasciitis also having “flat feet”.

At Claremont Physiotherapy we can provide orthotic inserts to correct your foot position and advice about appropriate footwear for different activities. If necessary we will assist you in finding a podiatrist to help manage your feet.

For more information on the conditions we treat and services we offer, or to book an appointment call
(08) 9386 9961 or email us at reception@claremontphysio.com.au

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