Flat Foot May be Associated with Knee Pain and Arthritis

January 25, 2011

Could your knee pain be related to flat feet?

Could your knee pain be related to flat feet? A study by researchers from Boston University School of Medicine, presents an association between the condition and knee osteoarthritis.

The study will be published in the journal Arthritis Care & Research and was designed to examine whether a relationship exist between (planus foot morphology) flat-foot and knee pain from cartilage damage."

The researchers compared the odds of knee pain among those with flat foot and those without. They also measured the odds of cartilage damage in each knee compartment. The team studied 1903 participants, of which 22% claimed to have daily knee pain. They found that those with the flattest feet had “1.3 times the odds of knee pain, and 1.4 times the odds of medial TF cartilage damage.

A report by Reuter’s Health included an interview with lead author K. Douglas Gross, that quotes Gross, of Boston University School of Medicine and assistant professor of physical therapy at the Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions in Boston, as saying the findings do not conclude that flat foot causes knee pain. The researchers did not determine whether it causes knee pain or whether cartilage damage causing the knee pain leads to flat foot.

The report also features a quote from Gross that explains feet that flatten can change the overall body posture and the way the individual moves, which may cause damage to the joints or knee cartilage over time.

Treatments for flat foot (according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons) include using “orthotic devices such as arch supports and custom-made orthoses,” NSAIDs, “short-leg walking cast” or braces, or “injecting a corticosteroid into the joint to relieve pain.”

Sources: Reuter’s Health, American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, Arthritis Care & Research

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