Adult-Acquired Flatfoot: Is It Serious?

Adult-acquired flatfoot, which is also known as fallen arches, is a fairly common problem that develops in about five million people in the United States. For the lucky ones, the development poses no problems, while others are left dealing with persistent and nagging pain. Whatever its effect on your life, the good news is that there are solutions. And the earlier we intervene, the quicker we can get you back to normal foot function.

Since adult-acquired flatfoot can be complex, you need the expertise of an experienced podiatry team, like the one found at Neuhaus Foot and Ankle. Our understanding of adult-acquired flatfoot is extensive, and we have the tools you need to remedy the problem.

To give you an idea of what we’re up against, here’s a look at how adult-acquired flatfoot occurs and when it deserves our attention.

The falling of an arch

As we mentioned, adult-acquired flatfoot is also commonly referred to as fallen arches. Formed by your metatarsal and tarsal bones, the arches in your feet are designed to support your weight evenly.

Adult-acquired flatfoot is typically a progressive condition that usually strikes people in their 40s, though the problem can develop at any age. Women are also more susceptible to adult-acquired flatfoot, especially pregnant women.

There are several reasons why your arches can collapse, including:

PTTD is one of the more common causes of adult-acquired flatfoot and occurs when the tendon that runs from your calf to the inside of your foot is damaged, usually due to overuse. The primary task of this tendon is to support your arches when you move, so when they’re unable to provide this support, your arches begin to fall.

As your arches fall, your foot and ankle collapse inward, which can lead to pain in your posterior tendon as well as in your heels and ankles. This pain can come and go with use or gradually become a constant companion.

Restoring your arches

If you develop adult-acquired flatfoot, we prefer to approach the problem conservatively at first with custom orthotics and physical therapy. With our orthotics, we can rebalance the structures of your feet and ankles and prevent further collapse of your arches.

Through physical therapy, we can strengthen the support network of your arches using targeted exercises.

If your adult-acquired flatfoot doesn't respond to these conservative treatments, and you’re still in considerable pain, we may recommend surgery to reconstruct your arches.

If adult-acquired flatfoot is negatively affecting your life, contact one of our locations in Hermitage, Brentwood, Nashville, Mount Juliet, Waverly, Smyrna, Gallatin, or Lebanon, Tennessee. 

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