Surgical advances have dramatically improved the ability to alleviate the pain and decreased function that millions of Americans experience due to flat feet. Nevertheless, many patients and even some physicians remain unaware of the new procedures, which are best performed by a foot and ankle specialist who has the applicable training and experience.
"It's important that the medical community understand that through arch reconstruction and realignment, we can do much more these days to correct this painful and degenerative condition in patients of all ages," said Kirstina Olson, M.D., chief of foot and ankle surgery at UCSF's Orthopaedic Institute at Mission Bay.
As with most surgeries, patients and physicians should consider the surgery only after other, less invasive treatments have proven unproductive. Indications for surgery include:
Once patients are at that point, the good news is that the procedure has considerably better outcomes than more traditional flat foot surgery. /p>
"In the past, we would realign and fuse the three hind joints, which would cause patients to lose motion, leaving them with a significantly stiff hind foot, Olson said. "With these newer procedures, if the foot is still flexible, we can realign it and usually restore a close-to-normal or functional range of motion in the joints."
The procedure involves cutting and shifting the bone, and then performing a tendon transfer.
"It's gratifying to offer both pain relief and the chance to regain a range of motion to patients suffering from this condition," Olson said.
Conditions treated and procedures performed at the UCSF Orthopaedic Institute at Mission Bay include:
Dr. Kirstina Olson can be contacted at (415) 353-9400.
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