What Is Flatfoot?
The arch in your foot helps you when you walk or stand. The loss of an arch is known as flatfoot. Flatfoot is often a disorder, with various symptoms and varying degrees of disability and deformity. There are different types of flatfoot, all of which have one thing in common: total or partial collapse (loss) of the arch. Other characteristics shared by most types of flatfoot contain toe drift, in which the front and toes part of the foot point outside.
In Flexible Flatfoot, the arch can be noticed when the foot is not carrying any weight. In rigid flatfoot, the arch is not present, whether bearing weight or not.
Normally all children are born with flat feet. After the age of three, children start to form an arch. However, rarely, rigid flatfoot can be recognized at birth and may be able to be operated earlier. Painless, flexible flatfeet normally do not lead to any difficulties in adulthood.
What Causes Flatfoot?
Flexible Flatfoot is occurred by lax ligaments in the foot. The condition is heredity. Rigid flatfoot is due to abnormal foot development, either due to another condition or genetics, such as cerebral palsy. Adult-onset flatfoot can also be caused by a bone dislocation or fracture, a stretched or torn tendon, or arthritis. Rigid flatfoot can occur among adults 40 years of age and older who are inactive and overweight.
Flexible Flatfoot is not painful, though few people may feel pain after playing sports. Rigid flatfoot can generate foot pain during daily activities.
See your doctor if:
- Your feet become painful or tire easily after standing.
- It’s tough to stand on your toes or move your heel.
- Your feet hurt while jumping or playing sports.
- You have any other systemic illness or rheumatoid arthritis which is contributing to your foot problem.
How is this treated?
Children normally outgrow Flexible Flatfoot as their foot ligaments form. Rigid flatfoot may need surgery.
If your flatfoot condition is disturbing, consider the following treatment:
- Purchase shoes with better-fitting.
- Use shoe insoles or inserts, such as arch supports. You may require custom-made arch supports or inserts with a prescription from your physician.
- Use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce pain.
- Apply ice to the painful area and rest the foot.
- Follow a physical therapy suggested by your doctor.
- If conservative treatments fail then undergo surgery.
Surgical procedures to improve the condition of flatfoot include:
- Repairing a torn or stretched tendon.
- Fusing one or more of the bones in the ankle or foot together.
- Reshaping and cutting a bone to correct alignment.
- Using a part of one tendon to lengthen or replace another.
When Is Surgery Necessary?
In some cases whose pain is not reduced or relieved by other surgery, treatments may be considered. Many surgical ways are available to fix flexible flatfoot, and one or a combination of procedures may be needed to improve foot function and relieve the symptoms. In deciding the procedure for your particular case, the ankle and foot surgeon will take into consideration the extent of your deformation based on the x-ray findings, your activity level, your age, and other factors. The time of the recovery period will vary on the procedures performed.