Flat feet is a relatively common condition in the United States, with more than 200,000 new cases diagnosed each year.
Usually diagnosed in childhood, the condition is characterized by arches that fail to develop. Flat feet can be hereditary, with children more likely to develop the problem if one or more parents had it.
Flat feet can also occur with aging, following an injury, or due to obesity or rheumatoid arthritis.
If you or someone close to you is suffering from flat feet, a foot doctor in Boca Raton can diagnose and treat the issue.
Painful Flat Feet and Orthotics – How a Boca Raton Foot Doctor Can Provide Relief
Swelling and pain are potential complications that come from flat feet. Pain can begin in the soles of the feet and extend right up to the lower back. Flat feet may contribute to or worsen other foot conditions, and may cause lower leg and ankle problems like bunions, tendinitis, and arthritis.
Because flat feet affect the way that people stand and walk, they can lead to unusual gait and pain in the knees or ankles. While it can correct themselves in pediatric cases, some children and older patients will need orthotics from a Podiatrist Boca Raton to help alleviate pain and correct gait.
Orthotics are special shoe inserts that help to relieve discomfort and strain. They provide support between the toe and heel, and aid in the distribution of body weight. Specially fitted orthotics conform the foot into a natural arch and can prevent swelling and pain.
Orthotics from a Boca Raton foot doctor are not the same as over-the-counter shoe inserts. They are specially formed for each patient, providing just the right amount of support and arch correction that is needed. Orthotics work in several ways to make life easier and more comfortable.
Reducing Pain and Swelling
The feet need to handle extreme pressures, whether the patient is running, walking, or sitting. Pressure from normal movement can lead to swelling in people who suffer from flat feet. Without medical intervention, the swelling will become painful over time. People who don’t seek treatment will experience persistent swelling, particularly after physical activity. This can lead to bunions, joint pain, and general discomfort. Because most footwear is designed for normally arched, people who have flat feet can also suffer from friction and surface injuries like ulcers and blisters.
Orthotics can eliminate all of these problems and provide support for a child in development, or support for an adult that has developed flat feet later in life.
Encouraging Normal Movement and Exercise
Pain and swelling related to flat feet can make exercise difficult. Cardio activities like walking, running, and jumping can cause ongoing pain. This discourages exercise and may contribute to a sedentary lifestyle and further complications.
A foot doctor Boca Raton can prescribe custom orthotics that encourage regular exercise by making physical activity more comfortable. Orthotics increase maneuverability and aid in weight distribution, ensuring that even people with flat feet can enjoy a full and balanced lifestyle.
Flat Feet Surgical Correction with a Podiatrist Boca Raton
In children, orthotics can manage and support flat feet until arches correct naturally. In adults, where the arches have fallen after normal development, orthotics can provide ongoing management for a lifetime.
However, in some cases, surgical intervention may be necessary. This is usually a last resort to restore normal function to one or both feet as needed. Surgery can reconstruct a flat foot to correct deformities or repair tendons and ligaments.
The specific surgery will be case dependent. Your Boca Raton foot doctor will talk you through your condition, the recommended surgery, and the expected outcome. Examples of flat foot surgical correction include:
- Medializing Calcaneal Osteotomy – If the heel bone has shifted out from the underside of the leg, it can be corrected through surgery and fixed into place with a metal plate or screws.
- Tendon and Ligament Surgery – Tendons and ligaments may be weak or damaged in cases of flat feet. Torn ligaments can be repaired and strained ligaments can be lengthened.
- Arthrodesis – Deformities can be corrected with a double or triple Arthrodesis, a type of fusion surgery that connects one or more foot joints.
- Lateral Column Lengthening – Outward rotation of the foot related can be corrected through this procedure.
- Dorsal Opening Wedge Osteotomy – If an arch has collapsed, a Boca Raton podiatrist can perform a bone wedging procedure to correct it.
Not everyone will need surgery for flat feet or collapsed arches. Talking to a foot doctor Boca Raton is the first step in treatment and relief from pain and swelling.
Schedule your consultation at the Foot, Ankle, & Leg Vein Center and begin the road to correction and recovery with the help of orthotics or corrective surgery.