Flatfoot Correction Surgery in Brooklyn
Adult “flatfoot” is a condition that causes flattening of the arch of the foot and is another name for a collapsed arch. The arch in your foot supports you when you stand or walk. The absence of this supportive arch is known as flatfoot. There are two types of flatfoot; flexible and rigid. With flexible flatfoot, the arch is visible when the foot is not bearing any weight. With rigid flatfoot, the arch is not present, regardless of whether the foot is bearing weight.
Everyone is born with flat feet, but around age three, most children begin to develop an arch. For those who don’t, painless, flexible flatfeet usually do not lead to any problems in adulthood.Flexible flatfoot is caused by lax ligaments in the foot, resulting in a flattened arch. The condition is typically hereditary. Rigid flatfoot, however, is caused by abnormal foot development, either due to genetics or another health condition. Adult-onset flatfoot can also be caused by a dislocation or bone fracture, a stretched or torn tendon, or arthritis. Rigid flatfoot can also develop among adults over 40 who are overweight and/or sedentary. In some instances, an adult can recall an injury that precipitates the flatfoot, but more often the condition develops gradually.
Signs you may suffer from flatfoot include:
- Your feet tire easily or become painful after standing for even short periods
- Pain on the outside of the foot where it meets the ankle
- It’s difficult to stand on your toes or move your heel
- Your feet hurt while engaging in athletic activities, walking or running
- Muscle cramps in the foot and up the leg (shin splints)
- You have rheumatoid arthritis or another systemic illness that contributes to your foot problem
Flexible flatfoot is typically not painful, although some people may experience pain after athletic activity. Rigid flatfoot, on the other hand, can cause foot pain even during everyday activities.Surgical reconstruction of the flatfoot is performed in patients with an arch collapse that is still flexible (not stiff). An orthopedic surgeon should do a complete evaluation of the foot, including a medical history, physical exam, and X-rays. A course of non-invasive treatment should be attempted prior to any decision to have surgery. Treatments typically include rest, anti-inflammatory medications or cortisone injections, immobilization, shoe inserts/orthotics, weight loss, braces and physical therapy. If these treatments are unsuccessful, surgery can be considered.
The goal of flatfoot correction surgery is to improve the alignment of the foot. This allows for more normal pressures during standing and walking.Proper surgical correction of flatfoot can often help to alleviate pain and improve walking ability.A combination of surgical procedures is typically used to repair the flatfoot. Surgery for flat feet is separated into three types: soft tissue procedures, bone cuts, and bone fusions. Depending on the severity of the flatfoot, a person’s age, and whether or not the foot is stiff determines just how the foot can be fixed. Your surgeon will choose the appropriate combination of procedures for your foot.
Surgical procedures to correct flatfoot include:
- Repairing a torn or stretched tendon
- Fusing one or more of the bones in the foot or ankle together
- Cutting and reshaping a bone to correct alignment
- Using a piece of one tendon to lengthen or replace another tendon
Flatfoot surgery can be performed under regional anesthesia, which is numbing the foot and ankle with a nerve or spinal block, or general anesthesia.
Patients may have the surgery on an outpatient basis, or they may require an overnight hospital stay. The affected leg will be placed in a cast or splint and needs to be kept elevated for the first two weeks. Sutures are then removed and a new cast or removable boot is then placed. It is crucial that patients do not put any weight on the corrected foot for 6-8 weeks following surgery. Patients may begin bearing weight at 8 weeks, and can usually progress to full weight-bearing by 10-12 weeks post-surgery. For some patients, weight-bearing requires additional time. After 12 weeks, most patients can transition to wearing a shoe, although inserts and ankle braces are often needed. Foot and ankle surgery rehabilitation and recovery can be done at home, or, more often may require formal physical therapy. Depending on your procedure, physical therapy is often necessary to strengthen the muscles that have weakened while in a cast.
To determine if you are a candidate for flatfoot surgical correction, you can schedule an appointment for a consultation in or near Brooklyn, Queens, and other NYC areas by calling (718) 873 3174, or make an appointment online for any of our six convenient office locations, below.