If you have flat feet, you may very well be enjoying life with no problems. Sometimes, though, this condition can cause discomfort and inhibit you from participating in activities that you enjoy. When conservative treatments such as supportive shoe inserts and special footwear are not enough, flatfoot reconstruction is a surgical option that can restore your foot’s function and allow you to partake in activities pain-free.
In the Beginning
Everyone is born with flat feet, but as we grow, arches are formed when the tendons in each foot tighten. For some, this never occurs and both feet remain flat. For others, normal arches may have formed, but can be affected by age, injury, or illness, causing the arch in one or both feet to fall and become flat.
Falling Over Time
As years go by, adults may suffer from acquired flatfoot deformity, otherwise known as posterior tibial tendon dysfunction—a gradual loss of one’s arch.
The posterior tibial tendon extends from your calf and attaches in several places surrounding the arch of your foot, acting as its support. When this tendon becomes damaged or torn, it loses its ability to stabilize the arch and hold it in place, causing it to collapse. This is a progressive condition and can result from a number of factors including obesity, trauma, diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes, as well as steroid use, and inherited low arches.
While most often this does not hinder a person, it may result in achiness and discomfort after standing or playing sports. Flexible flat feet are fairly easy to deal with; however, rigid flat feet can cause pain that progresses to the point of affecting your quality of life. At this time, flatfoot reconstruction may be the answer.
Surgery to End the Pain
There are several different procedures to correct flat feet, depending on the stage of the deformity as well as the severity of the symptoms.
Typically, surgical treatments include removal of inflamed tissues and repair of the posterior tibial tendon. This may involve a tendon transfer, meaning the nearby flexor digitorum longus tendon is used to replace the posterior tibial one. Amazingly, this is done with minimal side effects or loss of foot function.
For more serious cases, bone reconstruction may be needed to recreate and stabilize the arch. Bones are grafted or repositioned, then fused or held in place with hardware. In severe situations, fusing the ankle joint may also be necessary.
A cast or splint, along with use of crutches, will be required in order to keep weight off of your foot for 4 to 12 weeks, with a complete recovery time of 6 months to a year.
Although it takes time, flatfoot reconstruction can restore normal function and return you to the activities and quality of life you enjoy.
For more information about flat feet and surgical options, visit Podiatry Associates, P.C. located in Castles Pines, Cherry Creek, and Parker, CO. Just call (303) 805-5156 to make an appointment with our team. They can help you determine the best treatment for your condition and get your feet feeling great again.