What does Flatfoot mean?
Flatfoot (aka fallen arches or pesplanus) is a condition that can develop at any point during a person’s life. However, it normally develops between the age of 3 and 5. Flat foot occurs at the tendon that supports the arch of the foot and runs along the sole. It causes most or all of the sole of the foot to come into contact with the ground while in a standing position.
Flatfoot deformity is usually painless. Although standing, walking, or running for prolonged periods of time can be painful. Having flat feet can also cause improper foot function. Leading to ankle, leg, knee, and even back pain.
Causes of Flat Feet
The most common causes of flat foot include genetics, underdevelopment of the foot arch during childhood, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes. Additional risk factors and causes of flatfoot include obesity, sex, age, and activity level. For example, women, people over 40 years old, and athletes can be susceptible to developing flat feet.
Depending on the severity of the condition, flatfoot can be treated. Such as, special shoe modifications, custom orthotics, physical therapy, and steroid injections. However, when the pain becomes severe, flat foot correction surgery may be required.
Most flatfoot correction procedures involve cleaning and repairing damaged tendons. In some occasions though, joint fusion may be required. The earlier flat foot is treated, the higher the success rate of repairing the damage. Surgical flat foot correction may include any of the following procedures:
- Fusion of the bones in the foot and ankle
- Osteotomy (cutting and reshaping a bone to improve alignment)
- Repair of the tibial tendon
- Synovectomy (cleaning the tendon sheath)
- Tendon transfer