Menu

Portland Foot and Ankle

(503) 244-7894

Battle Ground Foot and Ankle

(360) 687-3668

Vancouver Foot and Ankle East

(360) 834-3707

Vancouver Foot and Ankle West

(360) 597-4223

Flatfoot-Flexible

What Is Flatfoot?
PTTD2Flatfoot is often a complex disorder, with diverse symptoms and varying degrees of deformity and disability. There are several types of flatfoot, all of which have one characteristic in common: partial or total collapse (loss) of the arch.

 

Other characteristics shared by most types of flatfoot include:

  • “Toe drift,” in which the toes and front part of the foot point outward
  • The heel tilts toward the outside and the ankle appears to turn in
  • A tight Achilles tendon, which causes the heel to lift off the ground earlier when walking and may make the problem worse
  • Bunions and hammertoes may develop as a result of a flatfoot.

Flexible Flatfoot
flatfoot3Flexible flatfoot is one of the most common types of flatfoot. It typically begins in childhood or adolescence and continues into adulthood. It usually occurs in both feet and progresses in severity throughout the adult years. As the deformity worsens, the soft tissues (tendons and ligaments) of the arch may stretch or tear and can become inflamed.

The term “flexible” means that while the foot is flat when standing (weight-bearing), the arch returns when not standing.

SymptomsFlatfoot
Symptoms, which may occur in some persons with flexible flatfoot, include:

  • Pain in the heel, arch, ankle, or along the outside of the foot
  • “Rolled-in” ankle (over-pronation)
  • Pain along the shin bone (shin splint)
  • General aching or fatigue in the foot or leg
  • Low back, hip or knee pain.

Diagnosis
In diagnosing flatfoot, the foot and ankle surgeon examines the foot and observes how it looks when you stand and sit. X-rays are usually taken to determine the severity of the disorder. If you are diagnosed with flexible flatfoot but you don’t have any symptoms, your surgeon will explain what you might expect in the future.

Non-surgical Treatment
If you experience symptoms with flexible flatfoot, the surgeon may recommend non-surgical treatment options, including:

  • Activity modifications. Cut down on activities that bring you pain and avoid prolonged walking and standing to give your arches a rest.
  • Weight loss. If you are overweight, try to lose weight. Putting too much weight on your arches may aggravate your symptoms.
  • Orthotic devices. Your foot and ankle surgeon can provide you with custom orthotic devices for your shoes to give more support to the arches.
  • Immobilization. In some cases, it may be necessary to use a walking cast or to completely avoid weight-bearing.
  • Medications. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, help reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Physical therapy. Ultrasound therapy or other physical therapy modalities may be used to provide temporary relief.
  • Shoe modifications. Wearing shoes that support the arches is important for anyone who has flatfoot.

When is Surgery Necessary?
In some patients whose pain is not adequately relieved by other treatments, surgery may be considered. A variety of surgical techniques is available to correct flexible flatfoot, and one or a combination of procedures may be required to relieve the symptoms and improve foot function.

In selecting the procedure or combination of procedures for your particular case, the foot and ankle surgeon will take into consideration the extent of your deformity based on the x-ray findings, your age, your activity level, and other factors. The length of the recovery period will vary, depending on the procedure or procedures performed.

Our Locations


Vancouver Foot and Ankle West


Vancouver Foot and Ankle East


Battle Ground Foot and Ankle


Portland Foot and Ankle


Hours of Operation

Vancouver Foot And Ankle West

Monday:

Closed

Tuesday:

Closed

Wednesday:

Closed

Thursday:

8:00 am-3:00 pm

Friday:

Closed

Saturday:

Closed

Sunday:

Closed

Vancouver Foot and Ankle East

Monday:

Closed

Tuesday:

Closed

Wednesday:

9:00 AM-3:00 PM

Thursday:

Closed

Friday:

Closed

Saturday:

8:00 am-12:00pm (Every other Saturday)

Sunday:

Closed

Battle Ground Foot and Ankle

Monday:

8:00 AM-3:00 PM

Tuesday:

Closed

Wednesday:

Closed

Thursday:

Closed

Friday:

Closed

Saturday:

Closed

Sunday:

Closed

Portland Foot and Ankle

Monday:

Closed

Tuesday:

7:00 AM-2:00 PM

Wednesday:

Closed

Thursday:

Closed

Friday:

Closed

Saturday:

Closed

Sunday:

Closed

  • "My 3rd and 4th toes on the right foot were so painful to walk for about 5 years or so. Dr Belnap clipped the tendons in the toes and clipped the nails of both feet on follow up appointments, and now I can walk without pain. I wish I had known of this procedure sooner and will surely recommend this office to friends!

    Side note: I know there has been discussion on getting access to all the x-rays from every location. Is that going to be possible in the future? It would be very helpful for surgical planning, as it is always a good idea to have a copy of the x-rays in the operating room for surgical planning purposes. The other solution I could think of is printing off the x-rays on surgical patients and scanning them into their charts as a document, so you can access them from anywhere.

    Thanks for all your help!!"
    Nancy P.
  • "Dr Belnap is very professional. He helped with my foot pain. He corrected my issues and I was pain-free by the first follow up visit!"
    Dennis B.
  • "I came to Dr Hayes from a personal referral. He has done surgery on both of my feet for bunions. It has helped me to live my busy lifestyle. I have highly recommended him to my friends"
    Susan N.