Adult Flatfoot

You might have the impression that all flat feet are inherited foot shapes that are present from birth, but adult-acquired flatfoot can develop later in life and become a big problem for affected individuals. This medical issue can keep you from participating in and enjoying favorite activities, but some cases can become quite painful and disrupt your ability just to lead a normal life. When this is the case, come to Foot & Ankle Center of Oklahoma for the treatment you need.

Weakened Foot Arches

There are various reasons a normal foot arch might collapse later in life. For some people, the posterior tibial tendon weakens due to age, obesity, or even overuse during athletic participation. In other cases, arthritic conditions attack the joints, causing them to move out of position, which changes the shape of an affected foot and causes severe pain. Yet another reason for arch collapse is ligament injury, and even dislocated or fractured foot bones can be responsible.

Individuals who have diabetes are particularly at risk for arch collapse in their feet. The associated nerve problems accompanying the disease means a fractured bone or pulled ligament might not be felt. With continued use, the condition worsens until the entire foot is misshapen and causes severe issues.

All of these causes can potentially result in flat feet and the overpronation problems they can bring.

Conservative Treatment Options for Adult Flatfoot

There are several conservative measures we will recommend or prescribe to relieve the pain and restore mobility previously caused by a flatfoot condition. They include:

  • Taking rest from impact activities, which gives the affected tissues time to heal
  • Immobilizing the foot with a cast or brace to secure bones in a proper position
  • Using shoe inserts to provide greater support to the fallen arch
  • Using physical therapy (stretches and exercises) to increase muscle and tendon strength in the feet

In many instances, these options help patients to resume their normal activities. When they do not deliver the results we hope to see, we may recommend surgery as a way to achieve the relief you need.

Rebuilding the Foot Structure

When necessary, we are able to perform surgical procedures to properly realign foot bones. Typically, we will use pins, bars, or screws to secure the bones. We might also repair damaged or weakened ligaments and tendons to further hold the bones in place.

Common surgical procedures to relieve adult-acquired flatfoot pain include:

  • Cutting part of the heel bone (calcaneus), sliding the bone back into correct position, and then securing it into place.
  • Inserting wedges of bone in the outside edge of the heel bone to restore the proper outward rotation of the foot.
  • Using a bone wedge inserted into the cuneiform bone to lower it (used when the arch collapse along the outer edge forces the inner edge higher).
  • Fusing metatarsal bones into proper position and then securing them with plates or screws.
  • Repairing, or even removing, the posterior tibial tendon, lengthening the Achilles tendon, or transferring another tendon to hold up the bones in the foot arch.
  • Fusing several bones together in order to bring relief from pain caused by stiffened deformities, particularly those caused by diabetes or arthritis.

Recovering from Flatfoot Surgery

When surgery is used to address a case of adult-acquired flatfoot, the procedures will be performed with the patient under general or regional anesthesia. This means you may need to be in the hospital overnight. You will also need to wear a cast to immobilize the repaired area and keep the affected foot elevated for the first couple of weeks. After we have removed the stitches, you will receive another cast or boot. It is important to keep weight off of the area for about 6-8 weeks following surgery, so be sure you plan accordingly. We will also likely prescribe physical therapy so you can regain function of your foot.

Expert Oklahoma City Foot Care

Our staff at Foot & Ankle Center of Oklahoma is ready to help you overcome any foot or ankle issue causing you problems, including adult-acquired flatfoot. Call us at (405) 418-2676 and our staff will be glad to answer any questions and assist you with scheduling an appointment. If you’d prefer, simply request your appointment online today!

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Oklahoma City Office:
609 W Memorial Rd.
Oklahoma City, OK 73114

Moore Care Clinic:
507 NE 12th Street
Moore, OK 73160

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