Happy New Year! So glad I found this site. I hope someone on this board can help me. My daughter, who is 20, has had flexible flat feet since childhood. We were told that there is no surgerical correction for this problem. She does not exercise much due to the pain in her feet. Of course that leads to weight problems. It is a vicious cycle. To lose weight one needs to exercise, but she cannot even walk several blocks without pain in her feet. She tried orthotic inserts three different times, they had not helped. She is a good swimmer and likes to swim. Now her school pool is closed for the winter. She tried biking, but that hurt her feet, too.
My question for those of you with flat feet, "What type of exercise you do you to keep yourself healthy?"
hi. i believe there is a surgery for flat feet which would solve possibly these problems, but the recovery takes about 6 months per foot. My dad had flat feet which prevented him from exercise and was in the same kind of weight gain cycle. He ended up having surgery to correct it in both feet, i am not sure of the surgery name though.. but he did his right first, then a year later his left. You would be in a non walking cast though for like 12 weeks, then a special boot for a month, takes about 6 months to be able to walk pain free. So it is a big commitment.. i can find out more if you are interested.. ironically i am now going through foot surgery myself for a different problem! must be bad genes in my family!
Please ask your dad about the type of surgery that he had. I am also interested to know how is doing now. Today my daughter told me that it hurts just to stand. I feel bad for her.
You can e-mail me direct if you like. [ please carefully review the posting rules - no emails ]
Thank you very much!
Last edited by moderator2; 01-02-2005 at 07:33 AM.
Reason: No off-board contact of any kind, for any reason. No exceptions.
Woah ! Wait a minute !!!!
That is ABSOLUTELY false. There is surgical correction for this SERIOUS problem. I had the same response from my doctor and suffered for years because I didn't know any better to get another opinion. We adjusted my orthotics numerous times and I kept getting worse. It got to the point where I could hardly walk. I dropped activities I loved one by one until my job was in jeopardy and I got another opinion. I had a total of 6 opinions and every one agreed that this was a severe problem that NEEDED surgical correction. When you start having pain in your calves, feet, back, knees and hips it's pretty bad. It's a very serious deformity that tears down the ankles and will cause disability if left untreated. I had the deformity all my life but it started getting worse and the pain started when I was 25. I was 31 when I had bilateral triple arthrodesis. It is not a simple surgery. It involves a major reconstruction of the foot but the alternative would have been much worse. A local podiatrist is great for certain things but for this type of major foot deformity and dysfunction you need to find a specialist in foot and ankle reconstruction. If I know what part of the country you are in I may be able to give you some names. There are some REALLY old school doctors out there who don't have the expertise and unknowingly leave their patients without relief and hope. There is an outdated "rule" that they follow that says "flexible" painful flat feet do not require surgical correction. But that opinion is changing - slowly. The outcome of the surgery ? Excellent. It's a long road but I still ask myself why did I wait so long ? One of the many things I learned is that it will not get better by itself, nor with orthotics if it hasn't helped yet, nor with physical therapy. Unless you want to sit the rest of your life you need to take action. I actually got worse after I started using orthotics. Everybody is different of course and 97% of flat feet respond to conservative treatment - the rest of us don't and either suffer or find someone with the expertise and knowledge to help us. Please keep me posted and let me know if there is anything else I can do or you have more questions. As far as exercise goes - bike may help - I had to give that up too because my knee caps dislocated when I rode because my whole lower body was out of line ! I am happy to say that since my surgeries I can ride the bike without my knee caps dislocating ! But biking might be doable for her now !
Good luck !
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I really appreciate you taking the time to write. I live in Nothern California. I will take my daughter anywhere to help her overcome her foot pain. She told me just a few weeks ago, she wished she could be like other girls (her sister included), that go running, hiking, biking...just being active. She often was left out because she couldn't do those things with her friends. It is a sad. I wished I did more research before instead of taking the doctor at his word. Until now, I have done nothing. I am looking into MBS implantation as a possiblity, too. But I would appreciate any information you can give me about the treatment/surgerie that you had. Are you able to walk, run and be active without pain now? Thanks again for writing!
Be very careful with your research into the MBA implant. Make sure you ask the doctor what contraindications may exist. Not everyone is a good candidate. Find out after a thorough exam if your daughter has any of those conditions. The older you are and the longer you've had the problem the more difficult and risky the implant is. They say that it is a good option because it's reversible but that is more surgery and your problem is still there and maybe worse. Find someone who is an expert in MBA and other methods as well. My doctor saved me from having it done by another doctor who said I was a good candidate. I've talked to about 7 other doctors who've seen my feet before and after my reconstruction and they were horrified that anyone even thought of putting an MBA in my feet. Doctors have been known to put them in poor candidates and have had the implant fail. The MBA is a great option if used for the right patients. I'm jealous when I hear about someone having it done. Maybe if I sought help sooner it might have worked. If someone does offer to use the implant I would highly recommend another opinion just to be sure. I'm very happy with my triple arthrodesis and although it was a long journey I'm so much better and I didn't have the extra pain and suffering of 2 failed implants.
Please write again if I can help any more - Good luck !
Thank you for the warning. I hope you don't mind, I do have more questions. How did you go about finding a doctor? Did you have a MD surgeon or a podiatrist performed surgery? I know podiatrists have more experience with foot problems. Are they good surgeons? Which directions should I start?
I had opinioins from both ortho and podiatrist. I live in a very large city and went to 2 very large university teaching hospitals and even had a foot and ankle surgery professor look at me. My experience has shown me that at least where I'm at the orthos don't have as much experience with this and don't specialize like the podiatrists do. I even asked them about the MBA and one said "the what?" and the other one said "bad idea - I don't use them". I ended up having a podiatrist fix me. Deformities and reconstruction are his specialty - he doesn't do anything else. He travels the world teaching others his techniques. He worked with the people that invented the implant and I felt he was the best one to tell me whether it would work or not. I didn't find him on my own. I did a search on the internet for the implant and found a doctors web site who was in my area and I called him because I wanted more info about the implant. He then saw me in his office and thought I would be a good candidate but he wanted me to see one of his colleagues who had more experience with it - that's how I got my doctor. KMI is the company that makes the implant - I didn't do this but you may want to e-mail them and ask if they can give you some names of doctors in your area who they work with. I don't know if that is legal for them to do or not but it wouldn't hurt to ask. I will see my doctor this week and maybe he knows of someone in your area.
Keep me posted !
I checked with my Dad and the surgery that he had to correct his painful flat foot problem in both feet was a subtalar fusion and repositioning of the ankle, as well as an elevated arch procedure. Honestly it took him about 1 yr 6 months to recover to the point of walking without pian, but then he has been able to exercise mostly normally since then and has very little pain.. he can now walk 40 blocks with no problem and ride a bike, swim etc..and it has also improved his knees which had started to hurt. He had to have both feet done, so he did 1 and then waited nine months before doing the other so he would be able to at least be substantially recovered. How old is your daughter thugh, becuase in younger people he said instead of fusing the bones with a subtalar fusion, they can actually rebuild the joint to allow more motion so that the patient would even be able to run afterwards relatively normally. You should definitely look into surgical options
Thank you both for all the great info. My daughter is 20 years old. Looks like I am done doing research on the Internet. I just need to start making appointments and get this process going. I wrote KMI and their distributor wrote me within 24 hours and suggested a doctor in Davis. Is there any way you can give me your doctor's name? Like I said, I am willing to take my daughter to get the best care. I am encouraged to know that there is hope for my daughter. She does not have to live with the pain for the rest of her life. Thank you both for your willingness to help a total stranger.
the dr my dfather used was a dr teodroe at the mass general. I am using a man naed Dr steven Sheskier here in nyc.. they are boith great orphto specilaist. They shouod be ableto diagnose where it is coming form. Where d oyou live/. maybe i can find soimeone furthr3 towards you who does it....
Hi - I'm glad you made some progress. I know what it's like to not know where to turn to find the best. Don't be afraid to ask tough questions when you go - such as how many have you done ? Have you had any fail ? Why? What other procedures need to be done for good alignment? some people need the achilles lengtnened, some may need other adjustments depending on what is found on examination. If it fails what will you do ? Will you take it out and do something else - what time frame do you give to determine if it was successful or not ? If it fails will insurance cover a re-do or other procedure ? It may be good to let him know that you've heard about the concerns about it failing in older patients and in people with severe long standing deformity and see what his response is to that and listen to what he says about your daughters individual background and risk factors. Maybe ask what other options there are and compare and contrast the pros and cons of each. I really hope your daughter is participating in this with you and you are a team in this. She needs to understand what is involved and make an informed decision. I wish I had that kind of help ! Honestly I didn't think I could make an informed decision until I read every article, and research every study I could find and talk to several doctors to find the right one. I wasn't ready until I pretty much knew in agonizing detail the mechanics of the lower extremities and every bone, ligament and muscle involved. Not everyone needs to do that but that's when I felt the most comfortable in my decision. I will tell you I live in the midwest and although I believe my doctor is one of the best in the world I would be hesitant to plaster his name on a message board without his permission. You are on the right track to making an informed decision. If you ask he may put you in contact with patients that have had the procedure that you and your daughter could talk to and you can hear about their experiences through the recovery process and how they are doing today. He should be honest with any contraindications that may prevent a success. I wish you the best and hope you keep us posted. Hopefully I can guide you to more resources without violating message board rules. Good luck and hopefully you will have some good news.
I've had flexible flat feet my whole life as well. I had corrective surgery about two years ago.. which if you would like to research my past postings you'll see.. it's NO small thing. That being said, I know PLENTY of folks with flat feet who exercise regularly.. doing anything they like. The best thing would be to try different things and see what works. There are so many low-impact options (ie elliptical gliders). Another thing to consider is the shoes she wears. That can make worlds of difference. There are stores that can take a computer analysis of her gait, and prescribe the best shoes for her foot type. That's a bit of an expensive option.. but before even thinking about surgery, you should really research all other options. Has she ever been fitted for custom orthotics?? That may help as well. Bottom line.. don't let flat feet keep you from being active. Hope this is of some help
I live in Northern CA as well. As a matter of fact, I found a person in Davis (also) who does the same thing you are looking for for your daughter. I'm wondering if you're going to see the same Doctor?!
I'll be having the MBA Implant surgery Feb. 24th.
Hopefully this will provide me with the relief I've been searching for, while avoiding the fusion surgeries.