Flatfoot Correction: Rebuilding Arches

Your foot shape can influence your lower limb comfort and efficiency. Flatfoot deformity is an inefficient foot type that is more susceptible to weight and pressure. However, having a condition like flat feet doesn’t mean you are guaranteed to struggle with foot pain. Most people are still able to do the things they love. If your low arches progress to the point where they are a problem, though, flatfoot correction becomes necessary.

Man with flat feetWhy Choose Surgery?

Managing pain from low arches can be conservative or surgical. In most cases, noninvasive therapy is all that is needed. Shoe changes to gain more arch support can help. Sometimes you need orthotics to stabilize the lower limbs and manage any abnormal biomechanical motion. Stretching and strengthening exercises may also help you avoid pain when you’re active.

However, if your condition worsens, you may need more involved remedies than these. Surgical flatfoot correction can help you maintain mobility and comfort when your arches become painfully low. Typically, these procedures are reserved for those who are not responding to conservative treatments first. As your arch collapses down and stiffens, you lose mobility. If your condition is especially advanced, your ankle may tilt inward and risk developing arthritis. Different procedures exist to rebuild the arch and affected supporting structures to restore your lower limbs’ comfort and mobility.

Progressing through Procedures

Walking with flat feetDr. Robert Parker can examine your lower limbs to determine if flatfoot correction surgery would be the best course of action for your lower limbs. Our expert staff will use X-rays and other tests to get a clearer understanding of the extent of your condition and the best way to proceed to correct it. The type of procedure will depend on several factors, including the severity of the damage, the pain in your feet, your lower limb needs, and our recommendations for what will help the most.

Mild deformities typically respond to conservative methods, but if they do not, simple surgery is usually effective. The procedure repairs damaged tendons that allowed the arch to fall, as well as removes inflamed tissues. Sometimes a tendon transfer is performed if the supporting connectors are too damaged to be restored.

More progressed deformities are more likely to need a procedure to intervene and manage the issue. Typically by this stage, your lower limb needs to have the arch rebuilt. This could involve several techniques, including fusions, grafts, cutting and repositioning the bones, and even tendon transfers. Hardware like plates and screws help hold the adjusted bones in place as they heal.

Advanced flatfoot needs to have the arch reconstructed and frequently entails fusing multiple bones in place to do so. The arch is rebuilt using several techniques and the bones are pinned or screwed into place. This helps prevent abnormal motion that could lead to deforming arthritis.

A severe deformity involves the ankle joint, and so requires a more extensive procedure. The arch is reconstructed and held into place, but the ankle must be addressed as well. Sometimes it is fused to prevent arthritis; however, this eliminates ankle motion and can significantly decrease your mobility. Sometimes the whole joint is replaced. A newer technique involves taking a non-essential tendon from elsewhere and using that to stabilize the ankle, allowing you to maintain greater range-of-motion.

What will work best for you will entirely depend on your needs and your individual situation. Like other conditions of the lower limbs, though, the sooner you address your problem, the easier flatfeet correction will be. Don’t wait until you have arthritis and can barely walk to seek help. Contact Parker Foot and Ankle here in Houston, TX, for more information or an appointment. Use our online request form or call (281) 497-2850 to reach our office.