Flat feet, or fallen arches in the foot, are very common in children and adults. The majority of flat feet are flexible and function very well. a flexible flatfoot can become painful when it is associated with calf muscle tightness. Calf muscle tightness can cause the foot arch to flatten. A flat foot can also cause calf tightness. Which ever comes first, calf tightness and flat feet aggravate each other and they both coexist in almost all instances of painful flat fee.
Calf tightness keeps the heel from touching the floor in a normal foot and promotes toe walking. Toe walking is tiring and as body weight increases, the heel is forced down. As the Achilles tendon and calf muscles are much stronger than the small ligaments supporting the arch of the foot, the small ligaments stretch out and the arch collapses from the stress. Once the arch collapses, the front of the foot and the toes bend upwards and outwards allowing the heel to touch the floor. This causes damage and pain to the foot.
Normal ankle movement during walking and sports activities stretches the calf muscles. A flat foot can decrease ankle movement during the same activities and put less stretch on the calf muscles allowing them to become tight.
The stress on the arch of the foot increases with calf tightness and forces the front of the foot to move upwards and outwards. This stress can cause pain from the stretching of the inside of the foot (plantar fascitis) and jamming of the outside of the foot. Increased stress over time leads to arthritis of the foot.
As discussed above, tight Achilles' and calf muscles can cause flat feet even in normal feet from the stretching of the weaker arch ligaments. For this reason, the foot is more at risk of further flattening with older calf stretching techniques.
Due to poor results with older stretching techniques, surgery was commonly performed to lengthen the calf muscles in painful flat feet. ArchSafe Plus™ devices help you lock the arch and prevent stress on the arch allowing better and direct stretching of the calf muscles. A supple calf will decrease the stress and pain in the foot without surgery.