What You Need to Know About Flat Foot Surgery

A flat foot is a terminology used to describe a collapsed arch. What most people do not know is that there are varying degrees of flatness and not all flat feet are actually problematic. There are times, however, when painful flat feet becomes more than a discomfort and gets in the way or even limit your activities.

There are two kinds of flat feet which are the flexible or mobile and the rigid or stiff. With a flexible flat foot, your foot retains motion and the arch can be recreated when there’s no weight on the foot. On the other hand, a rigid flat foot is in a way “stuck” in just a flat position, whether or not there is pressure on the foot.

The most common reasons patients look for treatment when the pain gets too much, when their flat feet interfere with their daily activities like walking, or when the appearance becomes somewhat unsightly.

Foot Lift (Flat Foot Surgery)

Flat foot surgery can be classified into three kinds – soft tissue procedures, bone fusions, and bone cuts. How the foot can be fixed largely depends on the severity of the flat foot, as well as the patient’s age and whether or not the foot is stiff. Sometimes, a combination of these procedures is performed.

For flexible flat feet, the surgery’s goal is to maintain the motion of the foot and the recreation of the arch. This could involve repairing the tendons along the inside of the foot so the main tendon lifting the arch can be reinforced. If the bone collapse is significant, bone procedures may have to be included to rebuild the arch, as well as realign the heel. Bunions also contribute to the collapse and need correction.

Tendon Transfers and Augmentations

There is a tendon inside the foot that can be injured, split, ruptured, or just weakened. This is the posterior tibial tendon – the main arch supporting tendon. Damage to this tendon can collapse the arch. If the case is mild, it can be restored to its strength and repaired. In most flat foot surgeries, a tendon augmentation is combined with other procedures to restore balance and structure to the foot.

Joint Spacers

This involves placing a metallic implant right at the junction where the ankle and the foot meets. This will prevent the collapse. It is a procedure that is applicable only for mobile feet and never used for rigid flat feet.

The Risks of Flat Foot Surgery

All surgeries have risks, and surgery for the flat foot is no exception. There can be complications that are neither your or your surgeon’s fault. It is important that you understand those risks. Those complications include pain, infection, swelling, bleeding, blood clot, hematoma, poor healing of the wound and/or the bone, nerve injury, disability, unsightly scar, weakness, and more.

Sheldon Nadal, DPM can help you understand what goes on during a flat foot surgery and what you can expect after. Do not hesitate to setup an appointment with him today!