Flat foot (Pes Planus)

A flat foot is a medical condition where the arch of the foot collapses. Some flat feet are not symptomatic while others can cause difficulty walking or pain during ambulation.

Causes

A flat foot may be caused by caused by many different factors. Among these, posterior tibial tendonitis is believed to be the most common cause. This tendon holds up the arch and supports the foot when walking. An inflammation or tear to the tendon causes the arch to collapse. Women, athletes, and people over 40 are at great risk of forming such problem.

A flat foot may also be caused by rheumatoid arthritis that attacks both cartilage in the joints and ligaments supporting the foot. It affects either the back of the foot or middle of the foot and besides pain, causes the arch to collapse. Ligament injury or fractures and dislocation of the bone in the mid-foot may tear the ligament and cause the foot to get flat.

Diabetes or nerve problems may also cause the arch to collapse. This type of collapse is considered to be severe as the patient doesn't feel pain while the arch collapses. Moreover, the ligaments do not hold the bones in place and the bones fracture and disintegrate without any pain.

Symptoms

1. Pain along the inside of the foot and ankle
2. Pain that gets worse with activity
3. Foot collapse causing referring pain
4. Pain while wearing shoes
5. Swelling

Diagnosis

A doctor diagnoses flat foot by performing a thorough examination of the patient's foot and ankle. X-rays are often taken to examine the location of the bones. MRI's can be helpful to determine the amount of damage done to the tendons.

Treatment

Depending on the cause behind the flatfoot will determine what the best treatment course will be. Usually the patient can be treated without surgery with the use of braces, orthotics and anti-inflammatory medication. Orthoses raise the arch and over a period of time allows the foot to adjust gradually. Surgery for flat foot is usually the last option and is often time consuming and expensive.

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