Orthopedic specialist surgeon Dr. Anandakumar Vellasamy introduces important facets of moving well with what has been referred to as flat feet. Learn what you can do for this condition in adults and children, and how to decide on a course of treatment if needed.
Pes planus is a foot and ankle condition that is commonly known as flat feet.
This condition usually develops in early adolescence and can have the potential to worsen in terms of severity over the years often precipitated by a combination of poor choices of footwear, development of muscular or tendon tightness, and degeneration in other areas of the ankle.
The condition of flat feet often presents on a continuum or a spectrum of varying severities.
In patients with a tendency to have low arches, this often is asymptomatic and all that is required is usually attention to muscular stretching of the calf muscles, carrying out tendon strengthening exercises and the use of insoles to support the arch.
In children below the age of 10 with low arches, this is physiological and oftentimes parents need not worry too much unless of course the occurrence is associated with pain and an abnormal gait pattern.
A period of observation till early teens is usually advised for children.
In symptomatic children with low arches or flat feet that do not respond to using insoles and physiotherapy, further investigations, including MRI, may be advised with a view to oftentimes minimally invasive surgery to correct such flat feet and relieve pain.
In adults with flat feet who do not respond to therapy and the use of insoles, and have worsening pain in areas of the ankle especially on the inner aspect, investigations may be required to check foot alignment and tendon quality.
Oftentimes, treatment is focused on biomechanical correction for foot alignment as well as pain relief by relieving the areas of inflammation with a combination of injections, tendon strengthening measures and, in severe cases, surgical correction of the deformity.
In many cases, flat feet runs in families and what is inherited is the tendency for developing ligamentous laxity which is almost always present in patients with flat feet.
However, this tendency to develop flat feet can be altered by wearing proper shoe insoles and focusing on strengthening exercises from young.