Don’t Ignore Flat Feet

7/6/2010

Study links this condition to painful foot maladies

CHICAGO – July 6, 2010—Treatment and prevention of adult flatfoot can reduce the incidences of additional foot problems such as bunions, hammertoes, arthritis and calluses, and improve a person’s overall health, according to research published in the July/August Journal of Foot & Ankle Surgery.

Overweight males in white-collar jobs are most apt to suffer from adult flatfoot disorder, a progressive condition characterized by partial or total collapse of the arch, according to the research. FootHealthFacts.org, the consumer website of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, notes that symptoms of adult flatfoot include pain, swelling, flattening of the arch and an inward rolling of the ankle. But because flatfoot is a progressive disorder by nature, the study suggests that neglecting treatment or preventive care can lead to arthritis, loss of function of the foot and other painful foot disorders.

“Flatfoot disorder may gradually worsen to the point that many of the tendons and ligaments in the foot and ankle are simply overworking, often to the point where they tear and/or rupture,” said Karl Collins, DPM, FACFAS, a St. Louis foot and ankle surgeon. “If this occurs, even simple walking and standing become increasingly painful, requiring much more energy.”

In many cases, flatfoot can be treated with non-surgical approaches including orthotic devices or bracing, immobilization, physical therapy, medication and shoe modifications. “In some patients whose pain is not adequately relieved by conservative treatments, there are a variety of surgical techniques available to correct flatfoot and improve foot function,” Dr. Collins added.

“As in most progressive foot disorders, early treatment for flatfoot disorder is also the patient’s best route for optimal success in controlling symptoms and additional damage to the feet,” continued Collins. “The goal is to keep patients active, healthy and as pain free as possible.”

For more on flatfoot disorder or other foot and ankle health information, visit FootHealthFacts.org.

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