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The arch of the foot is the slightly curved area between the heel and the ball of the foot. Some people have excessive arching of the inner arch of the foot, which can lead to a range of orthopedic problems, from occasional pain to permanent structural changes.
Some people are naturally born with a high arch. But for others, the hollow foot is a symptom of an underlying condition, often neurological in origin, such as :
Hollow feet in children should automatically lead to a consultation with a physician who will perform a medical and neurological examination and refer you to the health care professional most likely to help you.
You can check for sunken feet by standing on a large piece of paper with wet feet. Let the moisture from your feet soak into the paper, then remove your feet from the paper.
If the imprint left on the paper is only on the front and heel, with nothing in between, you have hollow feet. If there is only a thin impression in between, you have moderately high arches.
Difference between hollow foot and standard foot
A health professional such as a podiatrist or a pedorthist will be able to make plantar impressions during a podiatric assessment and tell you whether you have a hollow foot, a flat foot or a standard foot. In addition, he or she will be able to make you custom-made orthopedic insoles if necessary.
High arches can cause a variety of foot conditions, depending on the height of your arch and whether there is an underlying problem. Most of these problems are related to the way that high arches affect the way you walk and stand.
If the foot has a tendency to collapse outward as well, it is called a varus hollow foot. Unlike the flat foot, the hollow foot is very rarely valgus, meaning that it will not tend to collapse inward.
People with a high arch are susceptible to developing plantar fasciitis. This is an inflammation of the plantar fascia, which is a ligament that connects your heel to your toes and supports your arch.
The pain is described as a stabbing or burning sensation and may worsen after standing or sitting for long periods of time.
Hollow feet are a common cause of metatarsalgia. It is a painful inflammation of the sole of the foot. Metatarsalgia usually improves with rest and worsens when standing with the weight of the body on the forefoot, walking or exercising. Flexing the foot can also make the pain worse.
Common symptoms include:
The pressure on the forefoot can become unbearable and lead to lameness and pain in other parts of the body, such as the lower back and hips. In the long term, this can lead to early osteoarthritis of the metatarsal heads.
This type of condition tends to cause abnormal wear and tear on the soles of your shoes.
The joints of the affected toes become unusually deformed, causing them to curl downward. You may develop painful calluses on the bottom of your foot and corns and/or calluses on the tops of your toes if you don't have enough room in your shoes.
At first, the affected toe is flexible. But over time, it may become rigid and require surgery.
Hammer toe can cause pain in the toes and feet, making it difficult to find comfortable shoes.
When you have a hollow foot, the calcaneus, the bone in the heel, can tilt outward. This is called varus hollow foot. This causes instability of the foot and ankle, which can lead to pain and increase the risk of ankle sprains.
There are several things that can relieve or prevent the pain caused by this type of deformity:
In most cases, there is no need for medical treatment for hollow feet. But for severe cases, or those caused by an underlying condition or structural abnormality, you may need physical therapy with a physiotherapist, surgery or a combination of both.
Your treating physician will be able to direct you to the right health care professional (rehabilitation physician or neurologist) and possibly to a consultation with a surgeon.
The goal of any medical treatment for this foot condition is to increase the stability of your foot, thus compensating for any weakness caused by the arch of the foot.
Author : Philippe Vesin - Pedorthist