A N affection of one or both feet that is very often mistaken for rheumatism and treated with rheumatic remedies for a long time without relief, is flatfoot or broken arch. To obtain the strength necessary to enable the weight of the body to be carried in a light, graceful and easy manner, the foot is not placed entirely on the ground, but an are or arch is formed by the bones being held in a certain position by the ligaments. Rapid growth of fat with gain of weight, long standing on hard pavements, and much walking cause these ligaments to lose their efficiency and the arch gives away and flatfoot results, as in Figure 1.
The presence of flatfoot may be determined by wetting the sole of the foot and placing it on a dry planed board. The imprint will show the entire surface of the bottom of the foot, while if there is no flatfoot, the imprint will show only the toes, ball and heel of the foot, and the outer edge, the whole having the effect of a crescent, the arch as in Figure 2 not touching the board.
Symptoms. The symptoms of flatfoot are pain and tiredness any~ , where from the ankle to the hip. Great discomfort is felt if standing is continued over a great period of time. Possibly the pain is most severe in the calf and the big ligament at the back of the ankle. Symptoms are less pronounced in the morning, and in fact in early cases all of the pain will be felt on going to bed, and excepting for a sense of stiffness, the troubles will have disappeared until the causes are again at work.
Treatment. The simplest method of repairing a broken arch is by the use of pads made of some non absorbable material and with density enough to give support. Many times if the arch is properly supported it will regain its tone and the pad may be dispensed with. Metal plates are much better and are for sale at any first class shoe store.
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