Flatfoot is a foot deformity involving the arch of the foot, where the entire foot rests on the ground when standing, rather than the foot having a normal mid-foot rise. Flatfoot may result from the foot’s arch failing to develop properly during childhood, when standing and walking begin. It can also result from the foot’s arch collapsing over time or due to an injury, aging, weight gain, or degenerative conditions like arthritis.
Flatfoot may cause pain in the foot, ankle, and/ or lower leg area, particularly in the middle of the foot, as well as swelling, reduced foot flexibility, and painful progressive flatfoot, or tibialis posterior tendinitis. This occurs when the tendon of the tibialis posterior is injured, causing inflammation, overstretching, or tearing. This condition, also called adult-acquired flatfoot, can cause chronic pain and may become disabling if not properly treated.
Flatfoot surgery that corrects the foot deformity can provide improved function and stability. There are several types of flatfoot corrective surgeries. A tenosynovectomy removes inflamed tissue surrounding the tibialis posterior tendon. An osteotomy removes part of the heel bone so the foot can be moved into proper alignment. A tendon transfer involves taking tendon fibers from elsewhere in the body and transplanting them into the tibialis posterior tendon. Lateral column lengthening transfers a small piece of hip bone to the heel bone to improve alignment and rebuild the arch. An arthrodesis fuses bones to eliminate joint movement, which stabilizes the foot.