If you are among the millions of Americans who suffer from pain and decreased foot function due to flat feet, did you know that you can get relief by having flat foot surgery? Flat foot surgery, sometimes referred to as a “foot lift”, is often performed after less invasive treatments such as anti-inflammatory medication, physical therapy, arch supports, orthotics and bracing have failed.
After carefully considering your age and the severity of your flat foot, your foot doctor can determine whether or not surgery is an option for you. If surgery is necessary, your doctor will use a weight bearing x-ray, MRI or CT scan to decide what type of surgery should be performed. Keep in mind that flat foot surgeries are done for two reasons: to correct bone deformities or to repair ligaments and tendons.
There are three main types of flat foot surgery: soft tissue surgery, bone cuts and bone fusions. It is common to have a combination of these procedures done, as no single type of surgery will completely fix a flat foot. Most times, soft tissue and bony procedures are used together to correct flat foot.
In the most severe cases of flat foot, a patient’s foot can become so rigid that the simple act of walking becomes too difficult. Many times, this occurs because the feet are misaligned. One cause of this misalignment is a heel bone that is no longer in proper place. Surgery to realign the foot, known as heel bone alignment, will give the back of the foot more mobility while helping tendons to support the arch.
In less severe cases of flat foot, a patient’s feet are still fairly flexible. In these situations, surgery is usually done to recreate the arch instead. A foot doctor will determine what caused the arch to collapse in the first place, and use a variety of methods to fix the issue. The doctor will determine the best course of action to preserve as much motion in the foot as possible.
When an arch collapse is caused by an issue with the tendon supporting it, tendon augmentation can be performed with a boney procedure. This gives the foot more structure, and allows for better balance. If, however, the collapse of joints caused the arch to fail, a doctor can fuse those joints together with screws and plates in a procedure called arch fusion. In other arch collapse situations – such as those that involve young patients with more mobility – doctors often use joint spacers in the area where the foot meets the ankle. These metal implants can correct and prevent arch collapse.
Recovery from flat foot surgery varies – again, by the severity of the problem as well as the patient’s age. Children and pre-teens typically heal quickly from the procedure and generally don’t even need physical therapy afterwards. It is more common for adults to need physical therapy in the weeks after surgery, as their foot muscles usually need to be strengthened again.
If you suffer from flat feet and think you may benefit from surgery, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with a foot doctor to weigh your options.
The podiatrists at the Beltsville Foot and Ankle Center specialize in diagnosing and treating flat feet.
They have extensive experience helping you with your flat feet and only recommend having surgery as a last resort.
If you have flat feet and would like to schedule a consultation with one of our foot doctors, give us a call today at 301-937-5666 or simply fill out the brief form on the top right of this page.