Flat Feet (Pediatric and Adult)

Millions of children and adults have flat feet. Some can walk and function very well; however, the rest of these patients, are unable to work or play without pain in their foot and ankle. In extreme cases, merely walking across their bedroom floor brings tears to their eyes.
Genetics are the blueprints of the body. Foot and ankle problems do run in families. When one or both of the parents have foot problems, the likelihood that their children will have foot problems dramatically increases. When a child inherits the worst genes from both parents, they may develop a flatfoot deformity that is far worse than either parent may have.
Examination of flat feet reveals abnormal alignment problems with the foot, the ankle and the lower leg. Excessive flexibility with the joints in the foot accounts for the term flexible flatfoot. The foot may appear normal at rest, but flattens whenever weight bearing occurs. The foot must function as a stable tripod. If one were to draw a line from the heel to the big toe, from the big toe to the small toe and back to the heel, this would form the triangular weightbearing surface of the tripod. The ankle joint and the leg sit on top of the tripod. A stable tripod allows the leg to remain vertical and the ankle joint to remain parallel to the ground. When the foot cannot support the ankle and the leg, stress develops in the knee, hip, and lower back.
Treatment – evolution for flatfoot treatment has remarkably improved over the years. Mild cases respond well with custom-made orthotic devices. Designed from all three of the following, a non-weightbearing cast mold of each foot, a biomechanical examination of each foot, and a tailored orthotic prescription for each foot, creates a well-made custom orthotic device. A proper made orthotic realigns and stabilizes the foot, the ankle, and the leg on children and adults. When orthotic control is not sufficient to stop discomfort, surgical options become necessary. Over the last 100 years, many surgical procedures emerged to address the flatfoot deformity. Unfortunately, each procedure initially viewed itself as the cure for all flatfoot problems. As a result, sometimes they worked, but many times, they did not. The current high rate of success in treating flatfeet requires incorporating multiple flatfoot procedures together. Stabilizing each weakness or component of the individual’s flatfoot deformity allows the stable tripod to emerge.