PTD0216_FlatFeetIn the medical world, it’s called posterior tibial tendon dysfunction, but most of us know it by a much simpler term: flatfoot. Specifically, this type of flatfoot develops during adulthood and often affects only one foot. More common among women and people over 40, flatfoot occurs when the posterior tibial tendon, which runs from the calf to the bottom of the foot, tears or becomes inflamed, causing the arch of the foot to fall over time. People who play high-impact sports, are obese, or have hypertension or diabetes are the most likely to be afflicted. Symptoms include pain and swelling on the inside of the foot or the outside of the ankle. The pain usually worsens with activity such as walking or running.

The good news is that, for most patients, conservative measures can usually assist in managing this condition. But getting rid of flatfoot takes time and patience, as the process can last three to six months. Conservative treatment measures include the following:

  • For those who engage in high-impact sports, switch to activities that place less stress on the foot, such as cycling, swimming or using an elliptical machine. Sometimes a boot or small cast is used to immobilize the area for a short period of time.
  • Physical therapy. Targeted exercises strengthen and rehabilitate the tibial tendon. We can design a regimen of exercises suited to your condition.
  • Shoe inserts are the most common treatment for this condition. Orthotics can either be purchased over the counter or custom made. While custom-made orthotics are more costly, they are usually more effective at controlling the position of the foot.
  • A lace-up ankle brace can support the back of the foot and take tension off the tendon.

We can assess your condition and, if appropriate, help you begin a course of treatment to stabilize, strengthen and rehabilitate your tendon so that foot and ankle pain becomes a thing of the past.

February PTEDigest Includes:
Fight Back Against Rheumatoid Arthritis
Elevating Your Flatfoot
Take the Weight off Your Shoulders
Cycling Your Way to Heart Health
Body, Mind and Spirit: The Benefits of Exercise

Download PTeDigest Februaly