One of the most common sources of foot and ankle pain is flat foot deformity. This often results from a failure of a tendon of the foot and ankle known as the posterior tibial tendon. The role of this tendon is to suspend the arch of the foot, and when this tendon becomes diseased or fails to perform its function, this results in a progressive flattening of the arch of the foot. This is why podiatrists often refer to adult flatfoot as posterior tibial tendon dysfunction. There are other contributing factors such as age, ligamentous laxity, genetics, and obesity. Patients will often experience a dull, aching pain in the arch of the foot at the end of the day or after sustained physical activity. If this issue is not addressed, it can progress and cause further flattening of the arch and increased pain.
Luckily, there are multiple treatment options for this common condition. If it is detected early, immobilization with a walking boot can help take stress off of the tendon and allow it to heel. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help manage the pain and decrease the inflammation around the diseased tendon. One of the most effective forms of treatment are custom foot orthotics. These inserts which are specifically tailored to the patient’s foot help to elevate the arch of the foot and prevent it from collapsing. This takes stress off of the tendon and repositions the foot into its natural position. For more severe or progressed cases of flatfoot deformity that require more significant arch support, certain types of custom braces may be prescribed to provide additional support of the arch.
If an individual does not respond adequately to conservative treatment options then surgical management may be considered. The goal of flat foot surgery is to reconstruct the arch of the foot by repositioning the bones of the hindfoot into a higher arched position. The type of surgery that is performed is patient specific and the surgeon will take into consideration the patient’s degree of deformity and overall goals.
If you or a loved one suffer from painful flat foot deformity, please do not hesitate to make an appointment at one of our offices. The doctors of Advanced Podiatry are skilled clinicians and surgeons with years of experience in managing flat foot deformity.