Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Hubby's flat foot

Way back in September 1998, I went for a trip with some of my colleagues of the University in Tokyo suburbs to attend Japanese Physics Society Conference in Okinawa. We did a lot of sightseeing and attended only a few conference sessions! While we were lazing along one of the beaches in Okinawa, I saw the feet of my hubby (then a colleague) and was really surprised and shocked to see his flat foot. Until then I had never come across anyone having flat feet. As a matter of fact, my parents also never came across any person having flat feet until they met hubby. In January 2008, hubby and me had been to India to visit my parents. On seeing my hubby's feet they became worried and asked him whether he had developed the swollen feet due to inactivity during the thirteen hours air flight from Tokyo to Mumbai.
The right foot of my hubby is flat and almost has no arch. Well, it looks so cute, innocent, and childlike! Besides my hubby's personality and intelligence, his flat foot was probably what attracted me to him! Infact, I made an image of hubby's footprints in black Indian ink (bokujyu: in Japanese) on a white background, got the image framed, and the picture frame hangs on the wall of our living room. My mobile phone main screen display also has the photo image of his footprints.

Photo of hubby's footprints showing the flat foot condition in his right foot


Flat feet (pes planus or fallen arches) is a condition in which the arch of the foot collapses, with the entire sole of the foot coming into complete or near-complete contact with the ground. The appearance of flat feet is normal and common in infants, partly due to baby fat which masks the developing arch and partly because the arch has not yet fully developed. Flat arches in children usually become proper arches while the child progresses through adolescence and into adulthood. However, in some individuals the arch never develops in one foot or both feet. In my hubby's case, the arch never developed in his right foot, and he and his friends first noticed it when he was around eight years of age.
Hubby has the flexible type of flat foot that began in his childhood and is continuing in adulthood. Flexible flat foot means that while the foot is flat when standing in a full weight bearing position, a bit of an arch is noticable when not standing. However, if hubby is too tired due to standing the whole day at work in his office laboratory, then the arch is totally absent even when he is not standing.

Photos showing the flat foot condition in hubby's right foot


More photos showing the flat foot condition in right foot


Hubby is not really bothered about having a flat foot condition except for the pain associated with it. He says that Ichiro Suzuki, the famous Japanese outfielder for the Seattle Mariners Major League Baseball team, also has the flat foot condition, though he is not sure about it. Being flat-footed does not decrease foot speed. Infact, my hubby excels in outdoor sports activities like baseball, golf, and futsal.
If hubby is very tired then the flat foot often causes him pain in the heel, arch, ankle, and general weakness & fatigue in the foot. He usually uses orthotics (foot inserts) in his shoes for extra support to the flat foot. We also have a foot massager at home. Hubby uses the massager regularly and it really helps in relieving the pain.

Video of hubby using foot massager
video

3 comments:

sugata said...

it's something really strange..but i was under impression that people having flat foot/feet generally get pain with little stress .anyway..now for anything the techonology comes to ur rescue.it's nice reading ur blog.

Manisha Kundu-Nagata said...

Sugata, Thanks for your comment. Yeah, initially even I was of the opinion that foot of flat-footed people is painful and injury-prone. But recent new research is showing that flat feet are perfectly functional and may even be an advantage in sports. Here is a link to an article that appeared in New York Times.
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C0CEFDF1438F931A15752C1A966958260

Brigita Aš said...

I didn't know that flat feet could be so evident on a child that young. These pictures are hard to look at. The toddler in the first picture looks like they have a lot of strain on their ankles (kojos kauliuko itvaras). I'm glad there are ways to help children with these conditions.