What is a Flat Foot?
A flat foot deformity is often characterized by collapse of the arches. This problem runs in families, can begin in childhood and progress into adulthood.
Causes and Symptoms
As the flat foot deformity worsens it can put stress on the soft tissue structures that support the arch leading to degeneration and further collapse. Signs and symptoms can include:
- “Rolling in” of the heel or ankles (overpronation)
- Pain in the heel, arches, ankle or outer foot
- Difficulty walking or running
- Lower back or hip/knee pain
Treatment for a flat foot deformity begins with a non-surgical approach. This can include the following:
- Anti-inflammatory medications to reduce any pain or swelling
- Changes in shoe gear. It is important to wear shoes with good arch and heel support to prevent overpronation
- Physical therapy
- Custom foot orthotics to realign the foot and ankle for proper support
Surgical correction can be an option if pain persists despite conservative care. There are various procedures that can be performed to restore the arch and foot alignment. Your foot and ankle surgeon will evaluate you to choose the procedure that is right for you. This will depend on several factors including age, medical problems, level of activity, and the alignment of your foot and ankle. Following surgery, the patient can expect a period of cast immobilization and physical therapy.
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