Are you worried that your feet seem to collapse or go really flat when you stand?
In the past, flat feet when standing had been seen as a potential problem. Now we understand that the most common compensation movement of the foot is to roll in which flattens the arch.
Almost everyone has some structural misalignments (knock knees, bowing or turned lower legs, etc) and our body naturally compensates by using the muscle flexibility and strength and joint mobility.
To check first if you feet really are flat we look at the arch height when it’s non weight bearing and when you’re standing on your toes to see if the arch remains flat. Not surprisingly often the arch is normal.
If it's not the arch shape, what then are the key things we look for? We need to assess how well your feet function by measuring how your body weight is transferred through each foot. This shows how high pressure or timing of that pressure being placed through the wrong area, can cause injury. For more information see May the Force Be with You.
However, some people’s feet develop such a flattening of the foot that the flattening itself stops normal function. This can happen through significant misalignments, adaptations and changes over time or the biomechanics of the joints. This places so much strain on muscles and ligaments that the foot begins to completely collapse. If it is not addressed it can lead to marked arthritis, tendon damage and a situation that can seriously limit mobility.
The Richie Brace
In the early stages orthotics with the correction mostly in the rearfoot, combined with a strengthening exercise program can be very effective. However, if the foot has really collapsed a Ritchie Brace is the best option.
The Ritchie brace works well during rehabilitation because it allows the ankle joint to still move while correcting the position of the foot and the destructive forces caused by the foot collapsing.
Severely injuring your ankle by rolling over on the foot, (ankle inversion injury) can lead to ligament injury and the ankle being unstable. A different version of the Ritchie brace is available to provide great stability. This can mean the difference between doing the activities you love, such as playing sport, or just being a spectator because of pain.