Congenital or acquired foot deformities constitute a more or less pronounced deviation from the normal foot shape. They fundamentally impair body statics. Knee problems and other complaints often result. In order to prevent the condition from deteriorating, it is important to treat the cause. In most cases there is an underlying foot instability, which can be significantly improved through strength, coordination and mobility training.
Splayfoot is the term used to denote the spreading of the metatarsal bones. Over time, the sinking of the transverse foot arch leads to foot complaints with widening of the forefoot. Load-dependent pain is the main symptom. This occurs primarily while walking and standing, and decreases at rest. Foot widening leads to complaints when wearing shoes.
Millions of people experience foot pain in their lifetimes, but many assume foot aches and pain are a normal part of aging. However, podiatrists across the nation agree that foot pain is never normal, and every type of foot pain deserves to be assessed and diagnosed. Here are some common symptoms that may signify your metatarsal bones are spreading and you have developed splay foot:
1-Your shoes feel tighter and more uncomfortable than they ever have before
2-You can physically see that your feet have become wider
3-Your foot pain is worse when you’re walking or standing, and the pain decreases when you’re at rest
4-You find yourself walking on the outside edge of your feet rather than pushing off from your big toe while taking steps
5-Your shoes lean to one side when you place them on a flat surface or they wear down more quickly on the outside edge, which indicates you may be walking improperly to avoid splay foot pain
6-You suddenly begin developing calluses or pressure sores from walking with your weight distributed differently than usual
7-Months or even years after your foot pain begins, you start to develop deformities like claw toes, hammertoes or bunions (all of which can form when your weight distributions shifts to other parts of your foot and puts strain on different bones, joints and ligaments than usual)
usually develops due to years of improper strain on the foot.
Splayfoot is not caused by a lack of exercise, but usually by wearing unsuitable shoes and especially shoes with heels. Wearing high-heeled pumps increases front-foot load by a factor of five.
Connective tissue weakness (especially among women, who have a genetic predisposition) is another reason for increased width of the front of the foot.
Often, the affected individual rolls over the outside edge of the foot while walking. The right way would be to ‘push off’ over the big toe. Poor footwear or hard surfaces are usually the reasons for an ‘incorrect rollover’. Stiff shoes greatly limit the foot’s freedom of movement. The foot musculature grows increasingly weaker as a result and one begins to compensate with an unfavorable ‘rollover’ while walking. As a result, the foot keeps getting weaker, the transverse foot arch becomes insufficient and splayfoot develops.
A failure to address and treat foot malpositions and their causes usually results in pain and wear in the feet, and later in other joints as well.
Orthopaedic insoles are often prescribed. This can provide short-term foot relief, but is not a good solution over the long term in most cases since passive support is provided for the feet so that the muscles keep getting weaker. This does not improve the foot malposition over the long term. Quite to the contrary, the foot gets accustomed to the insoles and the pain often returns as a result.
Those who depend exclusively on passive insoles are not doing anything about the cause of an acquired foot malposition. Usually the foot musculature is severely weakened and foot mobility is restricted. Then, when the weakened feet are also supported by insoles, the foot moves even less freely and the foot musculature is weakened further. This causes the foot malposition to deteriorate further.
In the course of life, this leads to a risk of pain caused by excessive strain on the weak foot musculature, knee damage caused by incorrect force transmission while walking and standing, the development of a painful heel spur, inter vertebral disc and back problems due to the disruption of movement patterns and inadequate dampening of impact because the arch of the foot has sagged.
Foot Strengthening :Splay Foot Exercises There are several simple exercises patients with splay foot can do to help strengthen their feet and prevent pain. They include:
Toe Pick Ups: Commonly used to help relieve bunion pain, toe pick ups can help splay foot symptoms, as well. The exercise consists of picking up small objects such as pebbles, marbles or tiny toys with your toes and depositing them in a bucket or other container.
Arch Strengthening Caterpillar: Recommended by Erika Bloom from the Erika Bloom Pilates Plus center in New York City, the arch strengthening caterpillar exercise begins by lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor about two feet from your butt. Lift both foot arches and pull your toes back toward your heels. Relax your arches and slide your feet slightly back toward your butt. Repeat the process, allowing your feet to inch closer and closer to your glutes in a caterpillar motion. Once your feet are nearly touching your butt, repeat the sequence in reverse, slowly moving your feet away from your butt in the same caterpillar motion.
Arch Raises: Sit in a chair with your back straight, your knees bent in a 90 degree angle and your feet flat on the floor. Raise the arch of one foot off the floor without curling your toes or lifting your heel. (It’s much harder than it sounds!) When done properly, you should feel muscle strain in your foot, lower leg and thigh.
Alphabet Writing: You can strengthen your entire foot by imagining a pencil in between your toes, pointing the toes outward and “writing” the alphabet in the air in front of you.
Walking Barefoot: It might sound counterintuitive, but frequently walking on natural surfaces like sand, smooth pebbles and grass can actually help strengthen your feet and legs and assist your body in returning to its natural gait. In fact, barefoot parks and trails designed specifically for shoeless users are becoming a popular healthy living trend for those very reasons.
Strong calf muscles help support your feet while lowering your risks of muscle fatigue, weakness and cramping.