What exactly are flat feet?
Let me start by saying there are books written about flat feet. This explanation will explain the most basic etiologies and treatments. There are 2 major classifications of flat feet: rigid and flexible.
Rigid flat foot is said to be pathologic. The foot has minimal motion and when trying to move it side to side is usually painful. Rigid flat feet tend to show their symptoms of pain in the late teens.
Flexible flat feet are just that. They are flexible. These are further categorized as transverse, frontal or sagittal as the foot functions in multiple plains of motion. These descriptions are much too difficult to explain. Depending on the type condition, the treatments can differ. Some patients come for an evaluation of flat feet and nothing is seen while other patients come in with pain, have flat feet but were unaware.
What causes flat feet?
Rigid flatfoot is mostly genetic. During development, 1 or more joints fail to form and pain and deformity result. The rigid flat foot can also be caused by a significant trauma. The joints are destroyed causing rigidity of the foot.
Most flexible flat feet are also genetic. Mom or dad has flat feet and so do you. Life style and injury can also cause feet to flatten.
The most important statement is that most flat feet don’t need treatment. Most people can live and function their whole lives without problems. When looking to see whether you have a flat foot, look into a mirror at your feet. Does your ankle want to go to the floor causing your foot to move out of the way? This form of flatfoot is also called pronation. This condition along with excess weight can cause a very significant and painful flatfoot. This is known as tibialis posterior dysfunction. Tibialis posterior is a tendon which suspends the arch.
How do we treat flat feet?
For the most part, flat feet are only treated when painful or the deformity is such that without treatment the feet will become symptomatic. The person with significant flat feet may develop knee, hip and back pain. The treatment consists of foot or ankle orthotics; and in some cases a combination of both. Patients need to be aware that orthotics are only as good as the shoes that they are placed in good shoes have rigid soles and sides to hold the foot and orthotic in place.
For severe cases, surgical flatfoot reconstruction may be required. Each case is different. Because each case is different, the treatment will be different. If you are concerned about your own feet or family or friends feel free to come in for an honest evaluation. We will always design the best possible treatment for your specific condition.
If you’re experiencing pain and discomfort from flat feet, schedule an appointment today.