Flatfoot in itself is not a medical concern. Certain people are born with flatfoot and have no complaints. Flatfoot becomes a problem when it is acquired and is associated with symptoms. It is always a good idea to visit a doctor when you see something that is perceived as abnormal, even in absence of pain. It is easier to conservatively manage certain deformities if pain is absent or minimal. Treating adult acquired flatfoot deformity surgically is not straight forward. The surgeon has to be experienced at determining plane of deformity in the foot and ankle. A great procedure in the wrong plane will leave the patient with a worse problem that he or she started with.
Depends on the stage of the deformity, conservative treatment can be very effective at reducing pain and progression of the deformity. In certain cases, the surgeon has no choice than to perpetuate conservative treatment. Certain conservative measures include insert and brace. These are expensive devices, and a lot of time, do not eliminate the need for surgery. I, personally, recommend OTC (over the counter) insert before surgery and custom-molded orthotics, if ever needed, after surgery. OTC insert can be obtained from your surgeon at low cost. In case that custom-molded orthotics or inserts are obtained before surgery, the patient would probably have no use for them because of the change in the architecture of the foot.
The objectives of surgery are to reduce pain and restore the foot arch. The surgeon will determine the surgical procedures needed, based on clinical findings and imaging.
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