Causes of Adult Acquired Flatfoot

Monday, December 1st, 2014, 8:06 pm

Adult acquired flatfoot deformity (AAFD) affects one in four Americans. This condition may first present in childhood and progress or develop with age. When this condition presents, there is a gradual weakening of a major tendon that runs through the ankle into the foot. This causes the foot to either remain entirely flat, or flatten completely when an individual places pressure on the foot, but may have a slight arch when no pressure is applied. For many, AAFD doesn’t cause any problems but for others, the condition may cause pain over the inside of the ankle or into the feet. This condition can be seen in a single foot or in both feet. To follow is some information about AAFD.

Symptoms of Adult Acquired Flatfoot Deformity

  • Pain on the bottom of the foot accompanied by swelling on the inside of the ankle
  • Pain that increases with activity
  • Difficulty with high-intensity activity such as running, jumping or dancing
  • Potential difficulty while standing or walking for extended time periods
  • Heel bone can shift, placing pressure on outside of ankle and potentially causing arthritis
  • In patients who have old injuries, bone spurs may form and cause nerve damage
  • Diabetics may not have pain, but may develop an ulcer in the sole of the foot

Causes of Adult Acquired Flatfoot Deformity

Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction (PTTD)

  • This tendon begins in a muscle in the calf and extends through the ankle to a bone in foot
  • The tendon holds the arch of the foot up when walking
  • Posterior Tibial Tendon can become swollen or tear, causing the collapse of the arch
  • Women over 40 are more likely to develop PTTD, according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS)


  • Rheumatoid or inflammatory arthritis can cause painful flatfoot
  • Arthritis intrudes on the cartilage and and ligaments in the feet
  • Over time, this condition can change the shape of the foot


  • Torn ligaments, fractures and dislocation injuries contribute to AAFD
  • If injuries aren’t treated, AAFD can worsen over time and become a secondary issue

Charcot Foot (Diabetic Collapse)

  • Diabetes can cause neurological problems and limit feeling in the feet
  • AAFD is dramatic in diabetic patients
  • In addition to ligaments failing, bones may fracture or degenerate
  • This condition usually does not cause the patient any pain
  • Can result in severely deformed feet
  • Sometimes may require complicated surgery to correct

Do You Think You Have Flat Feet? Contact Dr. Troy Watson in Las Vegas.

To learn more about adult acquired flatfoot deformity, or any of the conditions we treat, contact us today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Troy Watson. We are located in Las Vegas, Henderson, and North Las Vegas, and we can be reached at 702.731.1616. We look forward to hearing from you.

Category: Foot Conditions, News

Leave a Reply