Common Foot Problems

Flexible Flatfoot

Flexible Flatfoot is a medical condition in which there is partial or total collapse of the arch. There are several types of flatfoot characterized by a range of symptoms, degrees of deformity and disability.

Most types of flatfoot are characterized by:

  • "Toe drift," in which the toes and forefoot point outward.
  • The heel tilting outward and the ankle appearing to turn in.
  • A tight Achilles tendon causing the heel to lift off the ground sooner when walking, which can worsen problems.
  • Bunions and hammertoes developing as a result of a flatfoot.

One of the most common types of flatfoot, flexible flatfoot is characterized by the foot being flat when standing, or weight-bearing, and the arch returning when not standing. Flexible flatfoot is usually developed in childhood or adolescence and continues into adulthood. Both feet are often affected and become progressively deformed through the adult years. The tendons and ligaments of the arch might stretch, tear or become inflamed as the deformity worsens.

Some people with flexible flatfoot may experince these symptoms:

  • Pain in the heel, arch, ankle or along the outside of the foot.
  • Over-pronation -- "rolling in" of the ankle.
  • Shin splint -- pain along the shin bone.
  • General aching or fatigue in the foot or leg.
  • Pain in the lower back, hip or knee.

When diagnosing flatfoot, Dr. Radovic examines your foot and looks for differences between standing and sitting.  X-rays may be taken to assess the severity of flatfoot. Patients who are diagnosed with flexible flatfoot but do not have symptoms will be informed of what to expect in the future.

Symptoms of flexible flatfoot may be treated with at least one of the following non-surgical options:

Activity modifications: Limit activities that cause arch pain. Rest your arches by avoiding prolonged standing and walking.

Weight loss: Losing weight can help relieve pressure from the arches and alleviate symptoms.

Orthotic devices: Dr. Radovic can provide custom orthotic devices to be worn inside the shoes for increased arch support.

Immobilization: Some cases may require using a walking cast or completely avoiding weight bearing activities.

Medication: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen help reduce pain and inflammation.

Physical therapy: Exercises or ultrasound therapy may temporarily relieve symptoms.

Shoe modifications: Wearing shoes with supportive arches is important for anyone with flatfoot.

Surgery may be necessary in patients whose symptoms are not relieved by non-surgical treatments. Flexible flatfoot can be treated with a variety of surgical techniques. Dr. Radovic may select one or a combination of procedures to correct flatfoot and alleviate symptoms.

Dr. Radovic will consider a series of factors when choosing the procedure or procedures for your particular case. These considerations include your age, your activity level and the extent of your deformity based on x-ray findings. Patients will recover at different rates depending on the procedure or procedures performed.

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