Flat Feet

Do you have sore, achy feet? 

You may have flat feet and need custom arch supports.

Q & A

Do you have flat feet? 

Flat feet is a complex disorder also known as "pes planus" with diverse symptoms and variable degrees of deformity and disability based on the severity of the flatfoot. Flat feet are common in both children and adults and can be symptomatic or asymptomatic. Babies naturally have flat feet and the tendons and ligaments that support the arch develop during childhood. Some children have flexible flat feet. The term “flexible” means that the arch is visible when the child sits, but it disappears when standing. Flexible flatfoot is usually painless, and children often outgrow it. 

Adult-acquired flat foot deformity (AAFD) is different from flexible flat feet in children. AAFD is a progressive and painful deformity that results from degeneration of the tendons and ligaments that support the foot’s arch. Foot injuries can also lead to AAFD. 

Signs and Symptoms

Children may complain of fatigue in their arches or cramping in the foot or leg. Children may also start to voluntarily withdraw from activities, have difficulty walking, or be unable to keep up with their peers. It is important to bring your child in for an evaluation by a podiatrist if you notice these signs in your child. 

Adults may have more noticeable fatigue in their arches, or complain of ankle, knee, or lower back pain due to their flat feet deformity. Bunions and hammertoes may also develop as a result of the flat feet. You may also start to notice your toes drift outwards while your ankle rolls in, which are all signs of over-pronation. 

Dr. Tien is the leading foot and ankle specialist in Orange County who is available for consultation for children and adults suffering from symptoms related to flatfeet. 

 

Treatment 

Treatment of flat feet depends on the severity of the deformity. Dr. Tien will work with you to develop an individualized treatment plan to relieve your symptoms.

 

Treatment may include: 

  • Immobilization in a cast or boot 

  • Custom functional foot orthotics 

  • Custom ankle foot orthotic brace 

  • Supportive orthopedic footwear 

  • Anti-inflammatory medication

  • Physical therapy

  • Activity modifications

  • Weight loss 

 

Surgery may be recommended if the pain or deformity is so severe and not responding to conservative care. To select the appropriate procedure or combination of procedures for your flatfoot reconstruction, Dr. Tien will take into consideration the extent of your deformity based on imaging findings, your age, activity level and other factors. The length of the recovery period will vary depending on the surgical procedures performed. 

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