Flatfoot and high arch foot are two foot conditions that affect the ankle, but they manifest with oposite symptoms.
Flatfoot is a progressive collapse of the tendons and ligaments that hold up the arch of the foot. This condition is caused by a gradual stretching, tearing, or weakening of the posterior tibial tendon, the tendon responsible for holding the arch up. This weakening comes as a result of genetics, aging, obesity, diabetes, or hypertension, and it can also occur due to a fracture, dislocation, or ligament injury. Flatfoot is more common in women than men.
Flatfoot usually affects one foot, but it can also affect both feet. The symptoms include pain, redness, and swelling along the inner side of the foot. The pain may worsen with prolonged standing or walking. As the collapse gets worse, the foot may turn to the outside, and the ankle to the inside.
Flatfoot can be treated with devices such as walking boot, custom shoe inserts, and a brace. Losing weight may also help.
Just like flatfoot, the high arch foot is an ankle misalignment, but it manifests with opposite symptoms. Known also as cavus foot, this condition results in a very high arch, which places a substantial amount of weight on the ball and the heel while walking or standing. This deformity can be hereditary, but it can also develop at any age, affecting either one or both feet. Certain conditions such as nerve and muscular disorders, stroke, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, cerebral palsy, and spina bifida, among others, can bring about the development of high arch foot as well.
The symptoms of high arch or cavus foot include an obvious high arch visible when the person is standing, pain, instability, caluses, claw toes, and hammertoes.
High arch foot can be treated with orthotic devices, shoe modifications, and bracing.
If the nonsurgical treatments for flat or high arch feet fail to relieve pain and improve stability, a surgical correction may be required. An experienced podiatric surgeon like Dr. Benjamin Tehrani, will help a patient determine the best course of action and the best surgical procedure, or a combination of procedures, for the specific case.