Relief for patients with flat feet

January 8, 2008 12:25:08 PM PST
When people hear the words flat feet many think of draft deferments in the Vietnamese era --but flat feet can be a real problem.We talked to two brothers who just received a novel treatment for their flat feet. Isaiah Frazier is tired of having flat feet.

"My friends can walk faster than me," said patient Isaiah Frazier.

That's because Isaiah has flat feet. When Isaiah walks he's unstable.

"I kept on spraining my ankle and having problems with my feet like tripping and falling," said Isaiah.

He runs on his toes and sometimes his feet hurt. Flat feet can also make your lower back hurt.

"In most cases -- the primary cause of the deformity is a short Achilles tendon," said Dr. Gary Lepow with Podiatric Medical Associates.

Isaiah's Achilles tendon was so tight -- he could barely bend and flex his foot. Dr. Gary Lepow will lengthen the Achilles tendon on Isaiah and put an implant in to make an arch.

"On x-ray: the implant will go right in this space between these two bones," said Dr. Lepow.

The implant is made of titanium, a lightweight material that he won't feel in his foot. Not all people with flat feed need surgery. Milder problems can be treated with extra support from shoe inserts.

So, when do people need surgery?

Dr. Lepow said, "If they have limitation of their activity if they're developing bunions and hammertoes and other deformities we know are secondary to flat foot we try to go ahead and correct it."

Isaiah should be walking within two weeks and his mother who says flat feet runs in their family, is looking forward to his recovery.

"Hoping that once everything's completed they can walk and run like they should," said Isaiah's mother Veronica.

And what does Isaiah want to do with his new arches?

"Run faster play sports better," he said.