The foot has longitudinal and transverse arches that support body weight and aids in shock absorption during walking and other movements. Flatfoot is a condition in which these arches collapse and causes deformities in varying degrees. It affects children and adults and may worsen over time if untreated.
Flatfoot can be congenital, or develop as a result of an injury or disease. Collapsed arches can also develop from weight gain, arthritis, and aging.
Mild flatfoot, especially in young children, may be painless, but more serious cases can cause:
- Pain and swelling in the midfoot, heel, or on the outer foot
- Overpronation (when the ankle rolls in towards the arch)
- Bunions (when the big toe joint becomes enlarged and causes the toes point outwards)
Conservative measures such as orthotics, braces, immobilization, and physical therapy are often sufficient to treat flatfoot. However, when these measures do not help, correction through surgery may be necessary. During flatfoot surgery, a combination of bone repair and tendon and ligament repair may be performed to reconstruct the arch. With physical therapy and orthotics, recovery can take up to a year.
Like many foot and ankle conditions, prevention is key to avoid serious complications and deformities. Wearing orthotics in your shoes, and wearing footwear that have supportive arches can help keep your flatfoot from progressing. To check your arch height through your footprint, wet your feet and step onto a flat surface.
If you need help assessing your footprint, or you experience pain in your foot or ankle, seeing a board-certified podiatrist can ease your concerns. Dr. Russell Samofal of Podiatry Center of New Jersey is an expert in all podiatric issues and specializes in foot and ankle reconstructive surgery. Conveniently located to serve Morris, Passaic, Bergen and Essex counties, Podiatry Center of New Jersey is dedicated to providing quality care to each of our patients. Whether you have an injury, need help with diabetic foot care, or need surgery, we are here to help! Please call us at (973) 925-4111 or request an appointment online!