Flat feet are a common condition. In infants and toddlers, the arch of your foot is not developed and flat feet are normal to have. Most feet are flexible and an arch appears when the person stands on his or her toes. The arch develops in childhood, and by adulthood most people have developed normal arches. Foot pain, ankle pain or lower leg pain, especially in children, may be a result of flat feet and should be evaluated.
Most flat feet usually do not cause pain in and of themselves. Flat feet may be associated with pronation, a leaning inward of the ankle bones. Painful progressive flatfoot, otherwise known as Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction, is caused by inflammation of the tendon of the tibialis posterior. When the tendon becomes inflamed, gets stretched or suffers a partial or total tear, this painful condition sets in. If left untreated, this condition may lead to severe disability and chronic pain. Some people are predisposed to this condition if they have flatfeet or an abnormal attachment of the tendon to the bones in the midfoot.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), ice, physical therapy, supportive taping and bracing, or orthotic devices are the first line of treatment in managing the painful progressive flatfoot. Contact your physician before taking any medication. In some cases, a surgical procedure may need to be performed to repair the torn or damaged tendon and restore normal function. To prevent recurrence of this injury, orthotics may be recommended. In severe cases, surgery on the midfoot bones may be necessary to treat the associated flatfoot condition.
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