Adult acquired flat foot occurs when the main tendon in your foot becomes damaged and can no longer support the arch. The arch collapses and develops into flatfoot. This condition is also known as fallen arches or posterior tibial tendon insufficiency. In cases that are severe or do not respond to conservative treatment, surgery is an option to consider.
Causes of Flat Foot in Adults
Many children have flat feet and outgrow the condition as they age. Adult acquired flat foot occurs when the posterior tibial tendon, the large tendon on the inside of the ankle, stretches out and can no longer support the arch of the foot. This can happen as a result of an injury or damage to the foot. It can also happen due to the following conditions:
Stages of Adult Acquired Flat Foot
If you are experiencing pain at the inside of your feet or ankles, or the pain worsens with activity, consult with a Keller podiatrist for an evaluation. Your Keller podiatrist will examine your feet and ankles and may order imaging tests to confirm the diagnosis. Once you are evaluated by a Keller podiatrist and diagnosed with flat foot, the stage of flat foot can be determined. Treatment options are often based on the stage of your flat foot condition.
The stages of adult acquired flat foot are:
- Stage I: Pain and swelling. Pain and swelling can occur with or without a deformity of the foot. The arch may be present and not collapsed at this stage.
- Stage II: Flat feet. The arch has started to collapse and deformity is present. The foot may appear flat, and you may feel weakness in your foot.
- Stage II: Rigidity. At this stage, the foot has become rigid and fixed in a deformed position. You will be unable to stand on your tiptoes at this stage.
- Stage IV: Ankle arthritis. At this stage, severe progression has occurred. The deformity exists in both ankle and foot, and arthritis is present in the ankle.
Flat Foot Surgery Options
Some adults can live with flat feet and never experience any pain or discomfort. Others may have a range of symptoms that do not respond to nonsurgical methods and interfere with daily activity. Conservative treatment methods can include rest, ice, medication, orthotics, and physical therapy exercises. Once these options no longer provide relief, foot surgery is recommended.
You may be a candidate for flat foot surgery if:
- You have constant pain in your feet and ankles.
- You no longer can perform daily activities without discomfort.
- Conservative methods do not provide relief from your condition.
If you are a candidate for foot surgery, your Keller podiatrist will take the following factors into consideration to decide what type of surgery is appropriate for your condition:
- Cause of your flat foot
- Anatomy of your feet and ankles
- What symptoms you are experiencing
Foot surgery can be done to reshape the foot and repair the tendons, ligaments, and bone structure in the feet. You can have surgery to correct both feet or choose to correct one foot at a time.
There are a variety of surgeries that can be done to correct flat feet, including:
- Achilles lengthening. In Achilles lengthening surgery, the Achilles tendon is lengthened to reduce tightness and reduce pain.
- Fusion. In fusion surgery, joints are fused together to repair any deformity and eliminate pain.
- Ligament repair. In ligament repair surgery, ligaments that hold your foot and ankle in alignment are repaired or reconstructed.
- Osteotomy. In osteotomy surgery, the bones in the feet are cut and placed into different locations. This can be done to correct the position of the heel or forefoot.
- Tendon transfer. In tendon transfer surgery, the tendon is moved from one bone to another in order to resolve a deformity.
Recovery from foot surgery varies from person to person. It depends of the type of surgery performed and the patient’s individual condition.
Contact Our Keller Podiatrist With Questions About Adult Acquired Flat Foot
If you have questions about adult acquired flat foot surgery or are experiencing foot or ankle pain, our experienced Keller podiatrist can help. To request an appointment at one of our Tarrant County offices, fill out our convenient online contact form, or call our office today.