When a man proposes to a woman, he goes down on his knees. When we study something deeply we wade knee deep in it.
When we were knee high, we learned things at our mother’s knee. We bring out opponents to their knees and when in love feel weak at the knees.
Our knees are a versatile and wonderful organ. It is essential to the way we walk, stand and sit.
So on one hand it needs to be strong and robust enough to bear the weight of the whole body while on the other hand, it needs to be flexible and sensitive enough to perform the most delicate and complex of functions.
So when we suffer from knee pain, it is almost as if our lives come crashing down. So instead of a knee jerk reaction, we need to understand the reasons behind it. And solve it before it becomes critical.
According to the National Health Service, UK, the real cause for knee pain could be lie further down. At your feet. Or rather, flat feet. (http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/flatfeet/Pages/Introduction.aspx)
What Is Flat Feet?
An essential part of the human foot is the arch. It defines the shape and the way the weight is distributed on the feet as we walk.
In some of us the arch is not well defined. This could be a birth defect or could occur anytime in one’s life. When this happens the bottom of the foot loses its contours and practically the whole of the foot touches the ground.
This condition is also known as Fallen Arches.
What Happens When You Have Flat Feet?
When you have flat feet, your weight is not distributed naturally. As a result, the foot tries to compensate for the lack of distinct arches by rolling inwards with the walking motion. This is called overpronation. This can give you an awkward gait when you walk and make it difficult for you to run.
In some countries more than one in every five individual has flat feet. However this is not necessarily a great difficulty for most. Some can even go through their lives without even knowing that they have flat feet.
Others however are not so fortunate.
How Does the Trouble Begin?
Because everyone does it, we take the act of walking upright for granted. However, in truth, this is a very difficult thing to do. The body has to be completely balanced and compensate constantly for the shifting centre of gravity.
Which means that the total force that each of your feet has to endure could be five times that of the weight of your body! So if your foot does not manage to handle this weight well, it is the other parts of your body which has to bear the brunt of it.
As a result, over time you may develop injuries and pain in your ankles, lower back and of course, your knees. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3087845/)
Who Can Get Painful Knees?
Like there is no age for flat feet, there is no specific age for knee pain as well. If the right precautions are not taken, even children could suffer from painful knees.
For some, the onset of pain is gradual. While for others it is sudden.
But Why The Sudden Pain?
There are many who have gone through their lives with flat feet and have faced no problems whatsoever. And then there are others who have suddenly developed acute pain in the knees. How does this happen?
The answer is quite simple. As a flat footed person is growing up, he learns to compensate for his condition. True, he might not become a great athlete (though there have been exceptions), but negotiating day to day life would not be so difficult.
And then one day the pain starts suddenly.
Find Out What Has Changed?
The reason could lie in a sudden change in your life. For those with flat feet, certain lifestyle choices can lead to the onset of painful knees. Let’s have a look at some of them.
Have you gained weight in recent times? An extra few pounds might just be that extra stress is causing so much harm to your knees.
Exercise is good. However flat footed people need to be careful about what exercises they do and to what intensity. The irony is, exercise which should have made you a much healthier person is actually causing irreparable harm.
The daily mail, UK recently did a story on a woman who was crippled with pain when she started running to lose post pregnancy weight.
Pregnancy redistributes the body’s weight in new unfamiliar ways. You stand differently, walk differently. Your centre of gravity changes by the week. This can lead to a lot of new stresses on the knees, especially if you are flat footed.
Because flat feet have deformed arches, they need footwear which provides support and protection. A pair of bad shoes can cause a lot of damage in a very short while.
So How Can You Prevent Flat Feet Knee Pain?
The first thing to do is be aware. Check whether you are flat footed. And if you are, start taking precautions from today, even before your knee pain starts. Speak to a doctor or physiotherapist, and discuss all the options available to you.
Keep your weight under check. Don’t put more pressure on your knees than you do.
Avoid severe exercise. Before you start jogging, running or any other kind of workout program that will put pressure on your feet and knees, consult your foot specialist.
Wear sensible shoes. Your doctor can advise you about the options available. If need be, wear footwear specially designed for flat feet.
Try yoga. Some of the yoga positions can help strengthen your feet and ankles ensuring and give relief to your knees. (http://healthyliving.azcentral.com/bikram-yoga-challenges-flat-feet-14985.html)
How Do You Treat Flat Feet Knee Pain?
It all depends on the extent of damage that has been done to your knees.
Flat feet can cause permanent injury to your knees. In that case, the only treatment option available ll be surgery. However for most people other treatment options are also available. Treatment could include specialized footwear, knee braces and physiotherapy.
Seek treatment the day the pain starts. The longer you wait the more difficult the treatment will be. Just remember that your knees work exceedingly hard for you and they deserve all the love and care you can give them.