Flat Feet Surgery: Pros and Cons, Procedure, Cost, and Recovery (2022)

Flat Feet Surgery: Pros and Cons, Procedure, Cost, and Recovery (1)Share on Pinterest

“Flat feet,” also referred to as pes planus, is a common foot condition that affects as many as 1 in 4 people throughout their lifetime.

When you have flat feet, the arch bones in your feet are low to the ground when you’re standing upright.

Some people can live their whole lives with flat feet without thinking too much about it. For others, having flat feet can lead to foot pain and difficulty walking.

One option for treating flat feet is surgical correction. We’ll cover everything you need to know if you’re considering reconstruction surgery for flat feet.

Flat feet is a condition that often begins in childhood. During development, the tissues and ligaments in your feet typically tighten together to form an arch that supports the bones in your feet.

People with flat feet may not experience this “tightening” due to factors like genetics, poorly fitted footwear, and certain physical activities. As you age, these ligaments may loosen and cause flat feet later in life.

Conditions that can cause flat feet to develop include:

  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • injury
  • diabetes

Flat foot reconstruction repairs the ligaments, tendons, and bone structure in your feet. It reshapes the foot so that your arches are better supported.

The actual surgical procedure can vary according to:

  • the cause of your flat feet
  • the anatomy of your ankles and feet
  • the symptoms you’re looking to resolve

A 2019 review on flat foot reconstruction surgery found that most adults who had the procedure experienced a measurable improvement in their symptoms.

(Video) Bob's Flat Foot Reconstruction Surgery Testimony For Treating Painful Flat Feet

Pros of flat feet surgery

  • provides a permanent solution to the condition of flat feet
  • is considered relatively low-risk
  • there’s no ongoing treatment or maintenance needed after healing is complete
  • restores mobility and frees you up to do things you enjoy, improving mental and physical well-being

Cons of flat feet surgery

  • long, painful recovery time (6 to 8 weeks) followed by physical therapy
  • extensive time spent in a cast after surgery
  • risk of blood clots and nerve damage
  • possibility that the incisions or bones don’t heal correctly, worsening your symptoms

Having a diagnosis of flat feet doesn’t mean that you need surgical reconstruction.

Many people with flat feet don’t need surgery

Many people live with flat feet without experiencing pain or discomfort as a result of the condition.

(Video) Is Flat Foot Surgery Worth It? [Recovery Time & REAL RESULTS 2022!]

Others are able to avoid surgery through nonsurgical treatment. And still other people with flat feet live with the condition because getting it repaired wouldn’t significantly change their quality of life.

No age restrictions for surgery

You don’t need to be a certain age to have flat foot surgery.

A study published in 2018 found that people over age 65 who had this type of procedure had successful outcomes as many times as people who were younger.

Candidates for surgery share these traits

You may be a good candidate for flat foot surgery if the following statements describe you:

  • You have flat feet that have been diagnosed by an X-ray.
  • You’re in general good health and can tolerate being put under general anesthesia.
  • You have tried nonsurgical methods of treating your flat feet for a number of years.
  • You experience consistent orthopedic pain.
  • You’ve lost your ability to perform certain activities as a result of flat feet.

The procedure to correct flat feet will be different according to your bone structure, your ligaments, and your body type. Not everyone with flat feet will get the same type of surgery.

There are several types of surgeries that may be used to correct flat feet:

  • tendon transfers: a tendon is moved from one bone to another to help with deformity
  • osteotomies: bones are cut and slid into different locations
  • fusions: joints are fused to eliminate pain and deformity.

You may choose to correct both feet at once, or you may correct one foot at a time.

Where the procedure is performed

Flat foot surgery is performed in a hospital. It will most likely require at least one overnight stay while you begin to recover.

During the procedure

Speaking generally, the surgical procedure will be performed under anesthesia, so you’ll be completely unconscious.

Your surgeon will make three small incisions in your foot and ankle to begin the surgery. They’ll then remove the tendon that’s linked to flat feet and replace it with a tendon that has been taken from another part of your foot.

At the same time, your surgeon will reset the bone at your heel to correct its positioning. To do this, they may insert a metal screw. They may also insert other hardware, such as a metal plate, into the top of your foot to increase the arch.

(Video) All About Flat Feet | Dr. Reza Mobarak | Top10MD

After the procedure

After the procedure, your foot will be numbed with a topical anesthetic and you may be given oral pain medications.

To keep your foot in place as healing begins, you’ll have a cast that reaches from your toes to your knees. You’ll need the assistance of a wheelchair during the initial 6 weeks as you recover, and you’ll be instructed not to put any weight on the affected foot.

Recovery

The initial recovery phase takes anywhere from 6 weeks to 3 months. During that time, you’ll have follow-up appointments with your surgeon who will observe your progress every few weeks.

Once the cast is removed, you’ll probably be fitted for an orthopedic boot that’s less restrictive but still keeps your foot immobilized as it heals.

At the end of the initial healing process, you may be prescribed an ankle brace and physical therapy sessions to help your foot recover its full range of motion.

Major complications of flat foot surgery are uncommon. As with any major surgery, there are risks and side effects.

Potential complications after flat foot reconstruction surgery include:

  • nerve or blood vessel damage
  • failure of bones or incisions to completely heal
  • blood clots or bleeding
  • infection

Pain and lack of mobility as your bone and tendons heal are to be expected with this type of surgery. These side effects should begin to resolve 6 to 8 weeks after your procedure.

How much does it cost?

(Video) Cavus Foot Surgery and Recovery in Children

Your insurance plan and provider will determine whether flat foot surgery is covered. Medicare and other health plans are required to cover surgeries that your doctor deems medically necessary.

If your flat feet are negatively impacting your ability to live your life, you and your doctor may be able to make the case that the surgery should be covered.

If you don’t have insurance, or if your insurance won’t pay for this surgery, your out-of-pocket costs could be between $4,000 and $10,000.

It’s worth noting that even if your surgery is covered, you still may be responsible for hundreds of dollars in co-pays, deductibles, and prescription pain medication prescribed after the surgery.

There are other ways you can relieve pain and restore function if you have flat feet.

Unlike surgery, these treatments address the symptoms of flat feet and don’t offer a permanent solution. These alternatives include:

  • prescription orthotics
  • wearing a fitted boot to try to correct your arches
  • physical therapy
  • steroid shots to manage pain
  • frequent rest and immobilization
  • over-the-counter shoe inserts or orthopedic footwear
  • flat feet exercises to increase mobility

Flat foot reconstruction surgery can restore mobility and functionality to your feet. Whether you inherited your flat feet or acquired the condition as an adult, these types of surgeries have a high success rate and are considered relatively low-risk.

This surgery isn’t for everyone and complications do occur. Speak with a doctor about surgery and other options to treat flat feet if your symptoms are impacting your life.

(Video) Lorelei before and after flat foot reconstruction

FAQs

How long does it take to recover from flat foot surgery? ›

You cannot put any weight on the foot for six to eight weeks, or until cleared by your surgeon. Around 12 weeks after surgery, patients may be able to wear normal shoes using a foot or ankle brace. Complete recovery may take up to a year, and physical therapy may be necessary.

Is surgery for flat feet worth it? ›

Flat foot surgery can minimise pain, distribute weight more evenly when you walk or stand and improve your foot's alignment. The flexibility and strength of your foot will gradually get better, so you can return to your usual lifestyle.

Is flat foot surgery painful? ›

Reconstruction surgery can reshape your foot so that your arches are supported and no longer painful. Flat foot reconstruction surgery varies depending on the condition of your ankle and feet as well as the cause of your flat foot. Reconstruction surgeries are often done as minimally invasive procedures.

What is the success rate of flat foot surgery? ›

How effective is this procedure? The Subtalar joint Arthoreisis (flat foot surgery) has a 98% success rate.

Can you walk after flat feet surgery? ›

Can I walk after flat foot surgery? Flat foot reconstruction surgery is a same-day outpatient procedure. You will be able to go home within a couple of hours after surgery. Your foot will be protected in a cast/surgical shoe and you will be shown how to walk with the support of crutches/knee walker.

When can I walk after flat foot surgery? ›

Recovery time for flat feet surgery can take up to a year. For the first couple of weeks, the foot will be in a cast and should be kept elevated. After a few weeks, you will wear a removable boot and should not put any weight on the foot for six to eight weeks.

Can flat foot surgery fail? ›

Abstract. Failure of flatfoot reconstruction can occur in many ways. Revision surgery must address the residual deformity if one exists, restore strength and balance to the foot and ankle, and address persistent joint pain.

How long does it take to fully recover from foot surgery? ›

Usual recovery time

For most foot and ankle operations, tenderness and swelling can take 3-4 months to resolve, while for more complicated procedures, the recovery may take a full year (or more).

How long does foot surgery take? ›

How long do most foot or ankle surgeries take? Most such procedures take around 3 to 4 hours, but recovery time can last significantly longer. You are advised to take at least 1 or 2 weeks off work.

How much does it cost to correct flat feet? ›

If your flat feet are negatively impacting your ability to live your life, you and your doctor may be able to make the case that the surgery should be covered. If you don't have insurance, or if your insurance won't pay for this surgery, your out-of-pocket costs could be between $4,000 and $10,000.

Is foot surgery successful? ›

However, surgery is worth it for those with chronic pain. Of course, there are risks with any surgery. A common risk is the possibility of the hammertoe recurring. However, a surgical correction has a 90% success rate.

Can you wear heels after flat foot surgery? ›

Fashion trends are what they are, and occasional high-heel use may indeed be possible after foot surgery, depending on your individual case. We will make sure your feet are ready for heels; most surgeons recommend wearing comfortable flat shoes for a period of time following surgery.

What do they do in flat foot surgery? ›

Flatfoot surgery addresses the bones, ligaments, and tendons that support the arch, often through a combination of procedures. The goals of the surgery are to improve the alignment of the foot and restore more normal pressure during standing and walking. This surgery can also reduce pain and improve walking ability.

How can I fix my flat feet without surgery? ›

For painful flatfeet, a health care provider might suggest:
  1. Arch supports (orthotic devices). Nonprescription arch supports can help relieve the pain caused by flatfeet. ...
  2. Stretching exercises. Some people with flatfeet also have a shortened Achilles tendon. ...
  3. Physical therapy.
Aug 16, 2022

How long does pain last after flat foot surgery? ›

Pain and lack of mobility as your bone and tendons heal are to be expected with this type of surgery. These side effects should begin to resolve 6 to 8 weeks after your procedure.

How long does it take to fully recover from foot surgery? ›

Usual recovery time

For most foot and ankle operations, tenderness and swelling can take 3-4 months to resolve, while for more complicated procedures, the recovery may take a full year (or more).

Can you wear heels after flat foot surgery? ›

Fashion trends are what they are, and occasional high-heel use may indeed be possible after foot surgery, depending on your individual case. We will make sure your feet are ready for heels; most surgeons recommend wearing comfortable flat shoes for a period of time following surgery.

Videos

1. Flat Feet Reconstructive Surgery + Before and After
(Anabel Reyna)
2. Using the Hyprocure Implant to Correct Flexible Flatfoot
(Dr Ozan Amir Sydney Foot and Ankle Surgeon)
3. Flatfoot Repair with Arthrex® Calcaneus Step Plate
(Arthrex)
4. SPHERUS - Talus screw for surgical correction of flat foot and/or rearfoot valgus
(Gruppo Bioimpianti)
5. Hyprocure for Flexible Flat foot: Pre-operative, Intra-operative and Post-operative assessment.
(Dr Ozan Amir Sydney Foot and Ankle Surgeon)
6. How to Fix “Flat Feet”
(Squat University)

Top Articles

Latest Posts

Article information

Author: Ouida Strosin DO

Last Updated: 09/08/2022

Views: 5692

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (56 voted)

Reviews: 95% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Ouida Strosin DO

Birthday: 1995-04-27

Address: Suite 927 930 Kilback Radial, Candidaville, TN 87795

Phone: +8561498978366

Job: Legacy Manufacturing Specialist

Hobby: Singing, Mountain biking, Water sports, Water sports, Taxidermy, Polo, Pet

Introduction: My name is Ouida Strosin DO, I am a precious, combative, spotless, modern, spotless, beautiful, precious person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.