How a Podiatrist Can Help With Flat Feet
Did you know that you – and everyone else for that matter – were born with flat feet? As we grow and the tendons in our feet tighten, most people form arches while others do not. And still others have normal arches, but they start to flatten due to age, injury or illness.
Your arches are the curved, raised area of your feet that are made up of the tarsal and metatarsal bones. They help distribute some of your body weight, so you don’t put too much stress on your heels. Everyone’s arches are slightly different. Some are lower or flatter than others, but that doesn’t necessarily cause pain. When it does, however, it can make it difficult to walk or stand for long periods of time. The muscles and other tissues along the arch and heel may start to ache. Also, the inside of the foot and ankle can swell.
Causes of Flat Feet
There are many possible causes for flatfoot including:
· A weakness or structural abnormality that has existed since birth.
· Damage to the structures of your feet due to tendonitis, arthritis, or nerve problems.
· Wearing unsupportive footwear that leads to weakness and arch pain.
· Age-related injury to your arches.
What happens in this case is that adults develop acquired flatfoot deformity, also known as posterior tibial tendon dysfunction. In layman’s terms, this is the gradual loss of your arch. The tendon in question extends from your calf and attaches in several areas around the arch of your foot, serving as its support. When the posterior tibial tendon is damaged or torn, it can no longer stabilize the arch, causing it to collapse. This doesn’t happen all at once, but instead results from any number of factors that includes trauma, obesity, diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes, steroid use, or inherited low arches. So if you do have flat feet, how can a podiatrist help?
With the help of a podiatrist, people with flat feet can find some relief with supportive shoe inserts or special footwear. However, when these treatments prove to be inadequate – and depending on the severity of your condition – your podiatrist may recommend one of several flatfoot reconstruction surgical procedures to restore your foot’s function.
Flatfoot surgery typically involves the removal of inflamed tissues and the repair or replacement of the posterior tibial tendon with a nearby tendon. Although this sounds complex, it is achieved with minimal discomfort or loss of foot function.
With more serious cases of flatfoot deformity, bone reconstruction may be required to rebuild and stabilize the arch. This involves the grafting or repositioning of bones, which are then fused or held in place with hardware.
Flatfoot Surgery Post-Op
Following flatfoot reconstruction surgery, you will need to wear a cast or splint and use crutches to keep weight off your foot for a period of one to three months. Although full recovery can take six months to a year, this course of treatment will restore normal function to your foot, enabling you to resume the activities your enjoy, and greatly improving your quality of life.
Foot Surgeon in Catonsville, Columbia, and Eldersburg
For more than 40 years, Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland has provided the highest standard of orthopedic care for patients of all ages. We have offices in Catonsville, Columbia, and Eldersburg and we employ sophisticated advances and specialties in the field of orthopedic medicine, such as arthroscopic surgery, minimally invasive procedures, joint replacement, sports medicine, onsite diagnostic imagery, outpatient surgery, and physical therapy rehabilitation for the full spectrum of joint, bone, muscle, back, and related pain conditions and injuries. Request an appointment online or call us at (410) 644-1880 or toll-free at (844) 215-5993 for your consult today.