There are several types of flatfoot, all of which have one characteristic in common: partial or total collapse (loss) of the arch.
Other characteristics shared by most types of flatfoot include:
- "Toe drift", in which the toes and front part of the foot point outward.
- The heel tilts toward the outside and the ankle appears to turn in.
- A tight Achilles tendon, which causes the heel to lift off the ground earlier when walking and may make the problem worse.
- Bunions and hammertoes may develop as a result of a flatfoot.
The term "flexible" means that while the foot is flat when standing (weight-bearing), the arch returns when not standing.
Symptoms, which may occur in some persons with flexible flatfoot include:
- Pain in the heel, arch, ankle, or along the outside of the foot.
- "Rolled-in" ankle (over-pronation).
- Pain along the shin bone (shin splint).
- General aching or fatigue in the foot or leg.
- Low back, hip, or knee pain.
If you experience symptoms with flexible flatfoot, the surgeon may recommend non-surgical treatment options, including:
- Activity modification. Cut down on activities that bring you pain and avoid prolonged walking or
- Weight loss. If you are overweight, try to lose weight. Putting too much weight on your arches may aggravate your symptoms.
- Orthotic devices. Your foot and ankle surgeon can provide you with custom orthotic devices for your shoes to give more support to the arches.
- Immobilization. In some cases, it may be necessary to use a walking cast or to completely avoid weight-bearing.
- Medications. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, help reduce pain and inflammation.
- Physical therapy. Ultrasound therapy or other physical therapy modalities may be used to provide temporary relief.
- Shoe modification. Wearing shoes that support the arches is important for anyone who has flatfoot.
In selecting the procedure or combination of procedures for your particular case, the foot and ankle surgeon will take into consideration the extent of your deformity based on the x-ray findings, your age, your activity level, and other factors. The length of recovery period will vary, depending on the procedure or procedures performed.
If you believe have a foot problem and do not currently see a podiatrist, call one of our six locations to make an appointment.
Connecticut Foot Care Centers
Podiatrists in CT
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