Foot Arch Treatments Overview
Your footprint is as unique as you are, and it holds clues about your foot structure. Having high-arched or low-arched feet can put additional stress on your feet and make it hard to walk or stand for long periods of time.
High foot arches (cavus feet) are often caused by a nerve condition or an inherited structural bone abnormality. Symptoms associated with high-arch feet include:
- Pain while walking, standing, and running
- Difficulty finding shoes that fit
- A foot that is unstable
Low foot arches (flat feet) may be an inherited condition diagnosed in childhood or a problem that develops later in adulthood. It can happen after an injury that causes the foot to flatten, or if the arch falls due to age or arthritis in the joints (fallen arches). Symptoms associated with flat feet include:
- Feet that ache after standing for long periods of time or after physical activity
- An ankle that rolls inward
Planning and Recovery
What to Expect
During your appointment, your doctor will examine your feet for signs of high arches or flat feet. He or she may request X-ray, MRI or CT scans of your feet to uncover any abnormalities in the bone and muscular structure. Your podiatric surgeon will determine which treatment options are best for you depending on your age, the severity of symptoms, the results of imaging scans, and other factors.
Nonsurgical treatment: When the arch is flexible, nonsurgical treatment options may help relieve pain for both high arches and flat feet. For high-arch feet, using orthotic shoe inserts, shoes that support the ankle, and a brace to stabilize the foot and ankle can provide support. For flat feet, use of orthotic shoe inserts, anti-inflammatory medication, stretching exercises, and physical therapy may help relieve pain.
Surgical treatment: If nonsurgical treatments do not relieve pain and restore function, your doctor may recommend foot reconstructive surgery to stabilize the structure of the foot. Your podiatric surgeon will recommend the procedure or combination of procedures that are best for you.
Recovery after Foot Reconstruction Surgery
In the days and weeks following surgery, it’s important to keep the swelling down by elevating your foot and taking pain medications as directed by your doctor. Your foot may be in a cast and later fitted with a protective surgical boot. Follow your doctor’s instructions for avoiding bearing weight on your foot. Physical therapy may be recommended to help you regain your strength in the weeks and months following surgery. Your podiatric surgeon will discuss the specific details of your recovery with you before your procedure.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Your procedure may be covered by insurance if it is deemed medically necessary. Please contact your insurance company to determine your coverage
Before surgery, you may be asked to get blood tests and take or adjust medications. If you smoke, quitting will help you heal faster and better avoid complications. You’ll be given special instructions to follow prior to your surgery.
Recovery time depends on the type of surgery and level of correction needed, and it may take a few weeks or a number of months. Your surgeon will discuss a realistic time frame for your recovery.
Your doctor may recommend a physical therapy program to help you get the best results from your surgery. Physical therapy can help you regain range of motion, strength, and flexibility after surgery.