Magazine article USA TODAY

Treating Flat Feet Avoids Complications Later

Magazine article USA TODAY

Treating Flat Feet Avoids Complications Later

Article excerpt

For many adults, years of wear and tear on the feet can lead to a gradual and potentially debilitating collapse of the arch. However, a new treatment approach based on early surgical intervention is achieving a high rate of long-term success.

Results of clinical studies of individuals with adult-acquired flat feet have caused podiatric surgeons to believe that reconstructive surgery in the early stages of the condition can prevent complications later on. Left untreated, the arch eventually will collapse, causing debilitating arthritis in the foot and ankle. At this end stage, surgical fusions are often required to stabilize the foot.

"We know that surgical intervention for adult-acquired flat feet is appropriate when there is pain and swelling, and the patient notices that one foot looks different than the other because the arch is collapsing," explains podiatric surgeon Byron Hutchinson, Highline Foot and Ankle Clinic, Seattle, Wash. "As many as three in four adults with flat feet eventually need surgery, and it's better to have the joint preservation procedure done before your arch totally collapses. In most cases, early and appropriate surgical treatment is successful in stabilizing the condition. …

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