When the arch in your foot is low or nonexistent, it is known as flat foot. This condition can affect children and adults and often presents no symptoms. When flat foot causes symptoms such as foot deformity, pain, discomfort, or swelling, however, treatment is recommended. If you have any of these symptoms, talk to your podiatrist who will examine your feet and determine the best treatment plan for your needs.
Determining When Surgery Is Needed
Flat foot is initially treated with options such as:
- Rest and ice
- Physical therapy and stretching
- Supportive shoes
- Steroid injections
When non-surgical treatments are not successful and you are no longer able to enjoy daily activities, surgery should be considered. People of all ages can benefit from reconstruction surgery. Those experiencing the following are good candidates for surgery:
- Are in constant pain and discomfort
- Are in good health and can tolerate anesthesia
- Have been diagnosed with flat feet and are in the care of a podiatrist
Unfortunately, not everyone with flat feet is a candidate for surgery. Reconstruction surgery will improve the appearance of your foot and repair any deformity, but it should not be considered for cosmetic reasons alone. People who are not good candidates for flat foot surgery are:
- Children who are not done growing
- Adults who are unhealthy or have serious medical conditions
- People who have had prior unsuccessful foot surgeries
Since every case is different, it is best to discuss your condition with your podiatrist. A podiatrist will determine if surgery is the right option for your flat foot.
Types of Flat Foot Reconstruction Surgery
Reconstruction surgery can reshape your foot so that your arches are supported and no longer painful. Flat foot reconstruction surgery varies depending on the condition of your ankle and feet as well as the cause of your flat foot.
Reconstruction surgeries are often done as minimally invasive procedures. They are considered low risk and have a high rate of success. There are several types of reconstruction surgeries to treat flat foot:
- Osteotomies. This type of surgery involves cutting the bones and positioning them in a different location.
- Tendon transfer. This type of surgery involves moving the tendon from one bone to another in order to correct a foot deformity.
- Fusion. This type of surgery involves fusing the joints together in order to fix a deformity and eliminate pain.
- Ligament repair. This type of surgery involves the repair and reconstruction of torn ligaments to properly align the foot and ankle.
What to Expect When You’re Recovering From Foot Surgery
Most reconstruction surgeries are done as minimally invasive procedures and can be done in a hospital under anesthesia. These surgeries may either be performed as an outpatient where the patient goes home the same day or require an overnight stay in the hospital.
After surgery, the following should be expected:
The foot may be put in a cast or splint after surgery to keep it in place.
You will need to keep your foot elevated for the first two weeks after surgery.
It is important not to bear weight on the foot until your doctor says you can. You may have swelling and discomfort after surgery.
Your doctor may recommend physical therapy to help you gain strength and flexibility in your foot.
Each person’s recovery is different. Full recovery can take months or even years depending on the severity of the flat foot. Your podiatrist can explain what to expect from your recovery.
Do You in Need an Experienced and Caring Podiatrist?
If you're experiencing foot or ankle pain, you should speak with an experienced podiatrist as soon as possible. Please contact us online to schedule your appointment or call one of our convenient El Paso offices directly. To reach our Sierra Tower Building podiatrist office, please call 915.533.5151. You can find driving directions here. To reach our George Dieter Drive podiatry office, please call 915.856.3331. Driving directions are available here.