The podiatrists at Foot & Ankle Associates of Florida are highly-skilled and trained in all manner of lower limb surgeries, including flatfoot surgery.
Flatfoot is often a fairly painless condition, but any abnormality in foot structure can be a problem for some patients. It tends to be rare for this particular condition to cause severe symptoms and be unresponsive to conservative treatment methods. But in some situations, our doctors may recommend flatfoot correction surgery. Fortunately, our team has the requisite knowledge, skill, and experience to provide the effective surgical treatment you need.
Flatfoot Problems and Nonsurgical Treatment
For many patients, a flatfoot condition—especially cases of flexible flatfoot—does not cause problems. If you are fortunate to have feet that simply appear to have no arches (and no symptoms), there is no need for treatment. Your podiatrist may wish to simply keep an eye on the problem to ensure that difficulties do not develop.
When problems exist in conjunction with a flatfoot condition, they are frequently attributed to overpronation. Pronation is a natural biomechanical process—an approximately 15% inward roll—your foot goes through with every step, excessive rotation can be an issue. Overpronation can cause symptoms like arch and heel pain, swelling, and even pain in your lower back (and especially in all of the joints leading up to that point).
Before we discuss surgery as an option to treat your case of flatfoot, your podiatrist may use conservative treatment methods to take away the painful symptoms. These can include:
- Orthotic devices – Depending on your foot structure, we will either prescribe a pair of custom orthotic devices or recommend over-the-counter arch supports. Custom orthotics are medical devices crafted to work specifically with your unique feet. Over-the-counter arch supports cannot provide the same level of customization, but they might be sufficient for you to help reduce symptoms.
- Physical therapy – Some flatfoot symptoms can be attributed to overuse (for example – runners). A gait analysis can potentially be used to improve your form and technique.
- Stretching exercises – Commonly, an individual who has flat feet also has shortened Achilles tendons, so exercises to stretch the tendons and calf muscles are helpful.
- Supportive shoes – If you’re an active individual, and particularly if you run often, you might benefit from a pair of motion-control shoes. These shoes are specifically engineered to reduce the overpronation causing your problems.
Flatfoot Correction Surgery
If our podiatrists have determined that nonsurgical methods are ineffective at relieving your painful symptoms and you are not able to resume your normal activities, you may wish to consider flatfoot correction surgery.
There are several specific techniques we may use, and they can be separated into those used to repair ligaments and tendons, and those used to correct bone deformities. Depending on your unique case, we may recommend using a combination of both types of procedures.
Procedures for correcting a flatfoot condition include:
- Double or Triple Arthrodesis – When arthritis is present, we may need to fuse one or more of the joints in the foot.
- First Tarsal-Metatarsal Fusion – To reduce flexibility and establish an arch, the bone may be pushed down and fused into place.
- Lateral Column Lengthening – A bone wedge is used to rotate the foot into a correct position, while also “lengthening” the heel bone.
- Medializing Calcaneal Osteotomy – This technique corrects the placement of a heel bone that has slipped out of position.
- Tendon and Ligament Procedures – These can entail removing, transferring, and/or repairing connective tissues.
It is certainly important for you to know what you can expect from the procedure itself, but understanding what might be involved with the recovery process is helpful as well.
Once your surgery is completed, we can schedule the appropriate follow-up visits. Naturally, we will provide specific post-operative instructions for you to follow at home. These may include keeping your leg(s) elevated and keeping weight off the corrected foot for specific periods of time. Your doctor will provide you with a schedule that maps out the progression of your post-operative activities.
As established earlier, you might not need any treatment for flat feet, especially if you aren’t experiencing any symptoms. If you do need treatment, conservative care is typically quite effective for most patients. However, when surgery becomes your best option for finding relief from painful symptoms, Foot & Ankle Associates of Florida is ready to help.
Our team has helped patients overcome their problems with successful flatfoot correction procedures, and we can do the same for you. Contact us for additional information by calling 407-339-7759 or 352-589-9550 (if you call from Lake County). While on the phone, be sure to request your appointment at whichever location is most convenient for you—Altamonte Springs, Kissimmee, Lake Mary, Tavares, or Orlando.