Arch is the inner portion of the foot. In some people, low or no arch is noticed in the foot. This condition is known as flat foot. The foot of such people seems to be point outside. While walking or standing, the foot usually rolls to the inner side. Flat foot is also known as fallen arches or pes planus. Pain and other discomforts commonly do not occur in flat foot.
Generally, flat foot is commonly seen in toddlers or infants. Following causes are likely responsible for flat foot:
- Congenital abnormality
- Loosened or damaged tendons
- Torn or stretched posterior tibial tendon (PTT)
- Broken bones
- Nerve problems
Symptoms basically depend upon the severity of the diseased condition. The commonly seen symptoms are:
- Ache or pain in foot, lower leg or ankle
- Swelling and stiffness in feet
- Easy tiring of feet
- Difficulty in foot movement
The doctor will do a complete examination of body to diagnose flat foot. The various tests such as X-ray, MRI, etc are done to examine the bones and tendons of the foot. The past medical report of the patient is also analyzed. Depending upon these conditions, the actual treatment procedure is established. Both non-surgical and surgical procedures exists.
- Non-surgical Treatment:
The non-surgical treatment comprises of various options for treating flat foot:
Until healing is over, patient is advised to take proper rest. Activities which may worsen the foot condition should be completely avoided.
The pain with ruptured or torn tendon can be relieved using proper medications. These medications mainly involve a combination of insole and painkillers.
- Arch supports:
Arch support often provides relief from mild or severe pain. They tend to reduce the symptoms but do not cure the flat foot condition.
People with flat foot are usually seen to have short Achilles tendon. Specific stretching exercises may help in expanding the tendon.
- Proper shoe wear:
Supportive and well-fitted shoes are a good option to alleviate pain. Extra-wide shoes greatly improve the symptoms.
Until the healing decreases, wearing an ankle brace is good. It mainly aims to treat people with posterior tibial tendinitis.
- Surgical Treatment:
In severe cases, surgery is chosen as a treatment measure. Surgery is mainly opted to treat congenital abnormalities. Surgery aims to straighten the flat foot. It is also useful in correcting the torn or rupture tendons. In rare conditions, the bones do not develop properly. In such cases, surgery is done to separate the fused bone. As a result, foot function and symptoms are improved.
Post-surgery, the patient is recommended to wear braces. It helps to protect the operated part from any further injuries. Regular use of ice packs on the affected area at least 2-3 times a day is beneficial. Exercises to improve functionality and mobility of foot is also essential.
Possible complications after surgery of flat foot includes:
- Deformity in foot
- Ankle movement loss
- Failed healing of fused bones
- Severe pain and swelling