Flat Feet and the History of Shoes Without Arches

Source after source cites the earliest footwear as the sandals (7000 to 8000 BC) as those found in a cave near Oregon…discovered in 1938. Made of cowhide laced with a leather cord with seams in front and back. It isn’t so much the shoe style that is surprising but that it was found in Oregon baffles most people.


Archeological evidence suggests that East Asians may have worn shoes 42,000 years ago. Dolores Money reports in Bellatory.com that a 27,000 year old Russian skeleton was found and ivory beads on and around the ankle and foot, and, most importantly, the skeleton had a small lesser toe bones evidence of wearing shoes for a lifetime.


None of the early shoes featured arch support. Flat feet, sometimes called “fallen arches” are a condition that 25% of Americans suffer. Many never experience pain. Flat feet were formerly a reason enough for young men to be rejected from service in Viet Nam when soldiers had to walk for months at a time. But asymptomatic flat feet were not enough for a deferment.


Fallen arches are caused by loose tendons. People can develop flat feet due to aging, illness, and injury that damages the tendons of the feet. Unfortunately, for some, flat feet can be debilitating.


Podiatry Associates P.C. can determine if you have flat feet and if that’s what causes the foot pain you suffer.


You can self-test for flat feet by stepping in water and then stepping on concrete. If you have flat feet your watery impression will be different from those with normal or high arches. If you have normal or high arches, the ball and toes of the foot will be joined to the heel impression by a strip that appears on the outer edge of your foot. With normal arches, the strip is half the width of the ball of the foot. If you have a high arch, only a narrow strip of watery imprint connects the front of the foot with the heel. The imprint left from a person with fallen arches is as flat as a pancake showing the entire shape of the foot.


One or both of your feet can be flat. It doesn’t necessarily have to be two.


If you think you might have flat feet, perform a second test: take a look at your soles of your shoes to gauge whether your soles are worn evenly. Flat feet cause more wear on the inside of the sole. You may notice a difference between your two shoes, OR if you have two flat feet, there may be no discernable difference.


You can tiptoe around the issue. If you think both of your feet are flat, stand on your toes like a ballerina. If a visible arch forms on the bottom of your foot, you have what is called flexible flat feet.


Our experts at Podiatry Associates will perform appropriate diagnostics—from an exam of your foot bones to recommending a CT scan to diagnose bone damage or an MRI to diagnose tendon damage.


If you have pain related to fallen arches, surgery is one option. Contact our office today at 303-805-5156 for a professional diagnosis of your foot pain.

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