Pronated feet, sometimes called bent or “flat feet,” are a complex deformity revealed and symptomatic when the patient is weight-bearing.
This three plane motion (dorsiflexion, eversion, and abduction) and collapsing of the inside archway can cause tendon pathology — a.k.a. Posterior Tibialis Tendon Dysfunction (PTTD). This can also cause plantar fasciitis and stress to other structures such as the ankle, knee, and hip.
Symptoms include pain, fatigue, and instability. If pronated feet are left untreated over time, severe arthritis will develop as well as permanent tendon damage.
Our doctors will recommend either conservative treatment or surgical treatment options for pronated feet depending on the severity of the issue and the patient’s lifestyle and medical history.
A shoe with a firm supportive sole is the foundation to the overall conservative treatment of the symptoms and biomechanical problems associated with pronated feet.
Soft padding under and around the arch of the foot may provide limited symptomatic relief, but is not very effective in correcting the biomechanical problem that causes pronated feet.
Temporary arch supports or molded orthotics will give relief to painful pressure, and is the easiest solution for long-term treatment with or without surgical intervention.
Anti-inflammatory medication can help with chronic pain but won’t make a noticeable difference for sharp, acute pain.
Foot and ankle orthotics or bracing can hold the foot in a better position that will help relieve the stress on the posterior tibialis tendon, and provide the most stable, supportive solution with or without surgery.
The type of surgical correction needed for pronated feet depends mostly on how long the problem has been present. Surgery can be as simple as cleaning the inflamed tube around the tendon if the tendon is healthy, or as complex as removing the part of the tendon that is completely damaged and stretched out and reconnecting the remaining healthy tendon to the nearby bone.
The procedure is performed in an outpatient facility under sedation and non weight-bearing is essential for 3 to 6 weeks, and after 48 to 72 hours bed rest and foot elevation. Partial weight bearing can begin at 6 to 8 weeks in a walking cast.
Other more complex procedures may be necessary and involve bone osteotomies and fusions. Non weight bearing is extended to 8 weeks, and full weight bearing at 12 weeks.
Yes, flat feet can cause painful problems within the 26 bones contained in the foot, as well as the ankles, knees, hips and lower back.
Yes, flat feet can be corrected, but there are risks involved. Besides the different definitions and types of flat feet, there are two schools of thought when it comes to treatment.
Conservative treatment maintains the foot’s present level of ‘flat’ with supportive orthotic devices while doctors monitor the patient’s foot function as well as associated problems with their ankles, knees, hips or lower back.
Surgery is another method. Surgical correction as well as the type of surgery varies with each patient. For younger patients there are simpler surgical procedures with shorter recoveries than some of the more complex joint fusion surgeries that adults commonly undergo.
Flat feet are permanent, but do not always require treatment. Depending upon the individual weight, activity, and other structural problems, many people with flat feet can function with proper shoe gear and orthotic supports. Surgery is also an option, but it should be only entertained if conservative treatment fails.
Flat feet as an exclusion in the military used to be due to the fact that this condition is associated with the inability to perform duties under extreme conditions. However, flat feet are no longer grounds for disqualification. If your flat feet are asymptomatic, you may still be considered.
Flat feet can cause back pain due to the stress and positioning they put on the lumbar vertebrae. Excessive foot flattening and pronation cause swaying of the lower back or lordosis.
The best way to improve your foot arch is with either proper shoe gear, additional arch supports, or custom molded orthotics. Orthotics are the best option because of the positioning of the foot (neutral position) that can ‘lock’ the arch or give it more stability.
Yes, flat feet can cause hip problems. Flat feet are associated with excessive pronation (rotational foot position in 3 planes) which can cause problems with the hips, lower back, knees, and ankles.
No, you cannot reverse fallen arches. If they are caused by a genetic component or associated traumatic event, once the arches have fallen one only has 2 options. Supportive shoes with over the counter arch supports or custom molded orthotics and surgical intervention.
“I went to Dr. Moore today with problems regarding my feet due to being pregnant. He was awesome and actually listens to his patients to make them feel like he cares and we’re not just another number. He right away helped me with getting some relief from my collapsed arches and getting my paperwork approved to start leave early before my due date. His staff is just as awesome. Highly recommend this office.”
Are you suffering from pronated, or “flat” feet? Take control of your health and contact Moore Foot and Ankle Specialists today to discuss treatment options.
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