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Have severe flat feet. Shoe inserts feel uncomfortable. Minor curve in spine due to this? Use elevator shoes?

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Orthopaedic Surgeon
Practicing since : 2000
Answered : 170 Questions
I have pretty severe flat feet and wear prescribed shoe inserts. But whenever I play basketball I found them uncomfortable so I don't wear the shoe inserts whenever I play basketball. It seems like my flat feet is getting worse and seems like my arch is getting flatter every time I play basketball without my prescribed inserts. Why is that happening? Would my flat feet cause my spine to curve more?

I was wondering if wearing elevator shoes (shoes with 1-3 inch insoles that makes you taller, kind of like high heels) would cause my flat feet to get worse? Also, I have a minor curve in my spine and was wondering if it was due to flat feet? And would wearing elevator shoes make my spine curvature worse? If a person with pretty bad flat feet wears elevator shoes, would it affect their spine at all?

And last question. What happens if I stop wearing my prescribed inserts? Would it cause my flat feet to get worse, and would it cause my spine to curve more?

here is a link to the concept of elevator shoes so you can understand it better.


Thank you.
Posted Sun, 27 May 2012 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Atul Wankhede 6 hours later
Dear user,
Thanks for posting your query.

Flat feet are of two types, rigid and flexible depending on the reappearance of the arch of foot passively. I suppose you have a flexible one, since you have been prescribed an insole. You need to know the consequences of flat feet, and uses of insoles.

Due to loss of arch your foot muscles are working more to keep the foot going. So in turn the fatigue early, and give rise to pain and feeling of tiredness. Artificial arches and shoe inserts help reforming the arch over a long period if used regularly, and also minimize the muscle work slightly.

Sporting activities like basketball which requires running and jumping can tire your foot muscles even faster and avoiding it is strongly recommended since you are symptomatic. I suggest you abstain from sports till you strengthen your muscles by selective exercises and prolonged use of inserts.

Thanks for sending the link of elevator shoes. It has no benefits in your particular case and on the contrary might have possible ill effects, but not by worsening your flat feet. You are right in suspecting its implications in spine, high heels have long been proved bad for ones back. In my opinion you can safely ignore them.

In all I suggest you continue the use of inserts and avoid activities that are physically demanding including sports and extreme walking/climbing. I hope this answer was informative and helps you take the right decision.
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