This condition is a progressive collapse of the tendons
and ligaments that hold up
the foot?s arch. This condition most commonly affects women. It typically occurs in only one foot, but in some cases, both feet are afflicted.
Obesity - Overtime if your body is carrying those extra pounds, you can potentially injure your feet. The extra weight puts pressure on the ligaments that support your feet. Also being over weight
can lead to type two diabetes which also can attribute to AAFD. Diabetes - Diabetes can also play a role in Adult Acquired Flatfoot Deformity. Diabetes can cause damage to ligaments, which support
your feet and other bones in your body. In addition to damaged ligaments, uncontrolled diabetes can lead to ulcers on your feet. When the arches fall in the feet, the front of the foot is wider, and
outer aspects of the foot can start to rub in your shoe wear. Patients with uncontrolled diabetes may not notice or have symptoms of pain due to nerve damage. Diabetic patient don?t see they have a
problem, and other complications occur in the feet such as ulcers and wounds. Hypertension - High blood pressure cause arteries narrow overtime, which could decrease blood flow to ligaments. The
blood flow to the ligaments is what keeps the foot arches healthy, and supportive. Arthritis - Arthritis can form in an old injury overtime this can lead to flatfeet as well. Arthritis is painful as
well which contributes to the increased pain of AAFD. Injury - Injuries are a common reason as well for AAFD. Stress from impact sports. Ligament damage from injury can cause the bones of the foot to
fallout of ailment. Overtime the ligaments will tear and result in complete flattening of feet.
The first stage represents inflammation and symptoms originating from an irritated posterior tibial tendon, which is still functional. Stage two is characterized by a change in the alignment of the
foot noted on observation while standing (see above photos). The deformity is supple meaning the foot is freely movable and a ?normal? position can be restored by the examiner. Stage two is also
associated with the inability to perform a single-leg heel rise. The third stage is dysfunction of the posterior tibial tendon is a flatfoot deformity that becomes stiff because of arthritis.
Prolonged deformity causes irritation to the involved joints resulting in arthritis. The fourth phase is a flatfoot deformity either supple (stage two) or stiff (stage 3) with involvement of the
ankle joint. This occurs when the deltoid ligament, the major supporting structure on the inside of the ankle, fails to provide support. The ankle becomes unstable and will demonstrate a tilted
appearance on X-ray. Failure of the deltoid ligament results from an inward displacement of the weight bearing forces. When prolonged, this change can lead to ankle arthritis. The vast majority of
patients with acquired adult flatfoot deformity are stage 2 by the time they seek treatment from a physician.
In the early stages of dysfunction of the posterior tibial tendon, most of the discomfort is located medially along the course of the tendon and the patient reports fatigue and aching on the
plantar-medial aspect of the foot and ankle. Swelling is common if the dysfunction is associated with tenosynovitis. As dysfunction of the tendon progresses, maximum pain occurs laterally in the
sinus tarsi because of impingement of the fibula against the calcaneus. With increasing deformity, patients report that the shape of the foot changes and that it becomes increasingly difficult to
wear shoes. Many patients no longer report pain in the medial part of the foot and ankle after a complete rupture of the posterior tibial tendon has occurred; instead, the pain is located laterally.
If a fixed deformity has not occurred, the patient may report that standing or walking with the hindfoot slightly inverted alleviates the lateral impingement and relieves the pain in the lateral part
of the foot.
Non surgical Treatment
In the early stages, simple pre-fabricated orthotics can help improve the heel position to reduce the mechanical load which is contributing to the symptoms. In advanced stages or long term orthotic
use, a plaster of paris or foam box cast can be taken and specific bespoke orthotics manufactured. If the condition develops further a AFO (ankle foot orthotic) may be necessary for greater control.
In more advanced stages of symptomatic Adult Acquired flat feet, where the conservative methods of treatment have failed there are various forms of surgery available depending upon the root cause of
the issue and severity.
Although non-surgical treatments can successfully manage the symptoms, they do not correct the underlying problem. It can require a life-long commitment to wearing the brace during periods of
increased pain or activity demands. This will lead a majority of patients to choose surgical correction of the deformity, through Reconstructive Surgery. All of the considerations that were extremely
important during the evaluation stage become even more important when creating a surgical plan. Generally, a combination of procedures are utilized in the same setting, to allow full correction of
the deformity. Many times, this can be performed as a same-day surgery, without need for an overnight hospital stay. However, one or two day hospital admissions can be utilized to help manage the
post-operative pain. Although the recovery process can require a significant investment of time, the subsequent decades of improved function and activity level, as well as decreased pain, leads to a
substantial return on your investment.