Hypertension, Obesity And Other Risk Factors For Flat Feet
There are various factors that can contribute to developing flat feet.

Obese people and those with hypertension are at increased risk of developing fallen arches or flat feet.

Do you know that hypertension or obesity are the risk factors of flat feet? Yes, that’s true. Let’s understand how being obese or having high blood pressure contributes to developing flat feet as well as the consequences of having a flat foot.

How to determine if you have flat feet? Stand and check how the underside of your foot connects with the ground. If most or the entire underside of your foot touches the ground, you have flat feet. In that case, you must consult a doctor and seek timely intervention.

The arches support the weight of your body, but excess weight or obesity puts additional stress on them, thus increasing the probability of developing flat feet. People with hypertension are also at increased risk of developing fallen arches or flat feet as it can cause posterior tibial tendon dysfunction, according to Dr Prithaviraj Deshmukh, Orthopedic Surgeon, and Pain Management specialist at Nexus Day Surgery Center, Mumbai.

Symptoms of flat feet

In most cases, having flat feet does not cause any symptoms. However, some people with flat feet may experience foot pain, particularly in the heel or arch area. The pain can intensify when engaging in activities. It may also lead to swelling along the inside of the ankle.

Risk factors of flat feet

There are various factors that can contribute to developing flat feet. These are

  • Obesity
  • Hypertension
  • Pregnancy
  • Diabetes
  • Trauma to the feet
  • Genetic factors
  • Weak arches
  • Foot and ankle injuries
  • Arthritis
  • Tendon overuse
  • Developmental anomalies in childhood, with age, or after pregnancy.

How hypertension and obesity lead to flat feet

“Having high blood pressure can cause damage to blood vessels throughout the body including those in the feet. This can reduce the blood supply to the muscles and ligaments that support the arches of the feet, which ultimately results in a flat foot,” explains Dr Abhishek Kumar Mishra, Orthopedic Surgeon, Apollo Spectra Delhi.

Being obese or having excessive body weight means increased pressure on weight-bearing joints including the feet. Over time, the tendons and ligaments in the feet become weak, ultimately losing their elasticity and leading to flat feet. One may also experience posterior tibial tendon dysfunction which can trigger joint and ankle pain and make one prone to injuries, Dr Mishra adds.

Long-term effectsof having flat feet

Having flat feet may not cause any discomfort initially in some people, but this can put an excessive pressure on the joints, bones, muscles, and tendons of your foot, leading to inflammation in the arch and ankle.

Moreover, it can result in lack of stability that may contribute to pain in the knees, hips, or lower back. Having a flat foot can also cause posterior tibial tendon dysfunction, leading to unbearable foot and ankle pain. This can make walking or doing any activities difficult. When this happens, seek medical help immediately.

Tips to keep in mind

The experts suggest essential tips to prevent hypertension and obesity, and to avoid related complications such as the flat foot.

  • Do regular exercise to maintain a healthy weight and improve cardiovascular fitness. This will help reduce both obesity and hypertension risks.
  • Eat a balanced diet that includes whole grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables. This helps control both hypertension and weight gain.
  • Maintain good posture through exercises like yoga. a
  • Incorporate activities that strengthen muscles. This may help prevent or alleviate symptoms of flatfoot.

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