Adult Acquired Flatfoot Deformity

One in four adults in the U.S. has adult acquired flatfoot deformity, which may begin during childhood or be acquired with age. The foot may be flat all the time or may lose its arch when the person stands. The most common and serious cause of flat foot is Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction, in which the main tendon that supports the arch gradually weakens.

Patients with adult acquired flatfoot deformity may experience:

  • Heel or ankle pain
  • Tired feet
  • Bunions
  • Arthritis
  • Foot or ankle deformities
  • Knee or back pain

Some patients may not experience any symptoms from this condition. However, flatfoot tends to worsen over time, especially in patients with a tight Achilles tendon or those who are obese. Athletes are also at a higher risk of developing flatfoot.

Treatment for flatfoot often begins with conservative life changes such as changing shoes, wearing orthotic devices and taking anti-inflammatory mediation to relieve pain. Applying ice to the foot and performing physical therapy exercises are also usually helpful for many patients. In severe cases, or those that do not respond to conservative treatments, surgery may be needed to relieve symptoms and correct the problem. Surgery for flatfoot may involve removing or reshaping a bone or bone spur, or fusing one or more of the bones in the foot together.

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