A doctor examining a woman's foot 

When Is Surgery Recommended for Flat Feet?

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Flat foot is a common condition that can develop in both children and adults – about one in four Americans have this foot deformity. If you’re one of them, you have surely wondered – when is surgery recommended for flat feet? To find out, continue reading – we’ve covered all the basics of this topic in the text below. 

Surgery for flat feet is generally considered a last resort option after non-surgical treatment options have been exhausted. The decision to perform surgery should be made by a qualified orthopedic surgeon, who will take into account the severity of the condition, the patient’s symptoms, and overall health.

Non-surgical treatment options such as physical therapy, orthotics, and shoe inserts may be effective in relieving pain and discomfort caused by flat feet. Surgery may be recommended if non-surgical options are not providing adequate relief or if the flat feet are causing problems with the patient’s normal activities.

The main indications for surgery are:

  • Severe pain that limits daily activities
  • Difficulty walking or standing for long periods
  • Limitations in physical activity
  • Progressive or irreversible changes in the foot and ankle
  • Failure of non-surgical treatments

What Problems Do Flat Feet Cause?

Flat feet, or pes planus, is a condition where a person doesn’t have an arch on the bottom of their feet, or they have a very low one. This means that the bones in the feet are positioned quite close to the ground when standing. Although many will have no trouble due to this deformity, in some cases, it can be symptomatic. 

When developed in childhood, flat feet often don’t cause symptoms because a child learns to compensate over time, but if you develop it in adulthood, the chances are that it will cause some pain or discomfort when running or walking. The pain can be located in the foot, ankle, or even in the entire leg and back. Ankle and foot swelling is also quite common, and nerve damage is possible as well. If left untreated, flat feet can lead to various health problems, such as bunions, hammertoe deformities, or foot arthritis. 

When Is Surgery Recommended for Flat Feet?

When it comes to flat feet, the surgical approach is not the first choice – your doctor will recommend custom orthotics and physical therapy at first. If this doesn’t work, you will probably require surgery. Flat feet reconstructive procedure is the best way to go when conservative methods don’t help, and a patient is experiencing pain that interferes with day-to-day activities. 

Who Is a Good Candidate?

Obviously, a candidate is someone who doesn’t respond to non-surgical methods of treatment, but keep in mind that a patient has to be in good overall health and can go through anesthesia in order to be a good surgery candidate. Contraindications for this procedure include having a serious medical condition that might increase the risks of surgery and having previous failed foot surgeries. Also, children should not undergo this procedure – they aren’t done growing, which means there’s still room for improvement with conservative treatment options. Lastly, keep in mind that surgery shouldn’t be done for cosmetic reasons only. 

Woman sitting on the bed and massaging her right foot

What Does Surgery Entail?

Flat feet surgery is performed under general anesthesia. It’s a minimally invasive and usually outpatient surgery. The surgery consists of a few different procedures that address the problems in ligaments, tendons, and bones. Your surgeon will have to perform tibialis posterior tendon reconstruction (replacing a damaged tendon with another one in your foot) and calcaneal osteotomy (cutting the heel bone and placing a small screw) to fix the arch of the foot. 

How Long Does the Recovery Last?

Since this is an outpatient procedure, you will be able to leave the hospital on the same day after surgery. You will be given crutches, and your foot will be in a cast, which you’ll have to wear for about six weeks. The recovery period should be spent resting and relaxing. 

Try to avoid weight-bearing and make sure to elevate your leg as much as possible (this means keeping it above the level of your heart). Pain will decrease in about a week after the procedure, and then you can start walking again (with the help of crutches) – but make sure you stick to short distances, just in your home. 

Contact Your Surgeon in Miami About the Flat Feet Surgery

If you wish to undergo flat feet reconstruction surgery, you should reach out to a reputable doctor who can inform you about this procedure and tell you if you’re a good candidate. Don’t hesitate to reach out to our Luxe Foot Surgery clinic – we have experienced doctors who can help you get rid of this deformity and the pain that goes with it. Contact us to book your free consultation – you can schedule an appointment by calling our office or filling out an inquiry form on our website. 


When Do You Need Flat Feet Surgery?

If non-surgical treatment options don’t help fix your flat feet deformity and you’re experiencing pain and discomfort due to this problem, you are a good candidate for flat feet reconstruction surgery. Candidates also have to be adults with no serious medical conditions. 

How Do I Know if I Need Foot Surgery?

If you’ve tried all the conservative methods for fixing your foot deformity that your doctor has recommended, and you still see no improvement, you might benefit from foot surgery.


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