Blame High Heels for Flatfeet

Flatfeet are common in women over 40. This condition happens when the tibialis posterior tendon stretches out, resulting in flat soles of our feet. As the foot’s natural arch “collapses,” flatfoots experience feet discomfort and mobility problems.

Researchers now believe that high heels could be a factor for having flatfeet. People from the University of East Anglia blamed the stretching of the tendons on the increased activity of special proteolytic enzymes—when these substances break down on the tibialis posterior tendon, they weaken it and cause the foot’s arch to fall.

Led by Dr. Graham Riley, the researchers believe that this discovery could be the beginning of a new breakthrough, which could pave the way for new drugs that could help alleviate or even treat the flatfoot condition.

“Our study may have important therapeutic implications since the altered enzyme activity could be a target for new drug therapies in the future,” Dr. Riley said. “We have shown that similar changes also take place in other painful tendon conditions such as Achilles tendonitis, so this advance may ultimately result in an effective alternative to surgery for many patients.”

The team’s discoveries were published in the journal Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

Dr. Riley, however, admits that the new drugs could be available in 10 to 15 years’ time since this needs further study. “Further research was now needed into which specific proteolytic enzymes should be targeted and whether people could be genetically predisposed to tendon injuries of this type,” he said.



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