Orthopedic Insoles for Flat Feet and Other Non-Surgical Treatments

Dr. Julien Lopez specializes in foot pathologies and can provide guidance on medical treatments such as orthopedic insoles for flat feet and other non-surgical options.

Dr. Julien Lopez offers advice and non-surgical treatments to alleviate the discomfort and pain caused by flat feet (pes planus). To understand your pain and its impact, he conducts consultations at his offices in Cannes and Nice, France.

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The consultation begins with an interview, where several questions are asked to better understand the intensity and origin of your pain, formulate diagnostic hypotheses, and determine the severity stage of your flat foot condition. Based on the type of flat foot, podiatric and rehabilitative treatments may be prescribed initially.

We assess:

  • The nature, intensity, and frequency of your pain
  • All the discomfort and daily difficulties you experience
  • Any potential risk factors you may be exposed to

However, if the symptoms resulting from your foot deformity persist after the prescribed non-surgical treatments, the surgeon may recommend a minimally invasive surgical procedure.

Accompaniment and Diagnosis of Flat Feet

Flat feet, or "pes planus valgus," correspond to a foot deformity characterized by a loss of curvature in the arch of the foot and a visible collapse of the inner arch. The foot is like a helix that unwinds in flat feet. Composed of numerous ligaments and a well-developed muscular structure, it is capable of bearing the weight of the entire body.

Of congenital or acquired origin, the treatment for your flat feet depends on the stage. There are four stages, numbered from 1 to 4.

Symptoms of Flat Feet

In cases of pain associated with flat feet in adults, medical treatments are often considered as the first line of defense. The main signs accompanying flat feet (reduced curvature of the arch) include:

  • Instability and visible limping during walking
  • Pain, often located around the inner ankle
  • Inward tilting of your knees and outward tilting of your heels
  • Wear on the inner edges of your shoes
  • Pain localized in the sole of the foot, ankle, calf, or back
  • The heel and forefoot deviate outward

Analysis of Your Arch Impression

The analysis of the shape of your arch impression is done using a podoscope. This device creates an accurate representation of the shape of your foot's arch during weight-bearing.

Radiological assessment is systematic to visualize any deviation of your heel, among other specific radiographic criteria. Ultrasound and MRI are often performed to analyze soft tissues such as the posterior tibial tendon and the spring ligament.

The results of all these examinations allow for classification of flat feet into four degrees of severity:

  • Stages 1 and 2: your flat foot is still "flexible" but genuinely painful
  • More advanced stages: your foot is stiff, with ankle arthrosis in the most severe stages

In most cases, the condition affects both feet, causing discomfort when walking, engaging in sports, or in daily life. If left untreated, this condition can lead to significant disability.

The surgeon also looks for any potential risk factors to tailor the treatment accordingly.

Identification of Aggravating Factors in Your Condition

Certain factors can exacerbate these symptoms and increase the risk of developing complications. The specialist looks for:

  • Excessive weight, increasing the load on the muscles within your foot's inner arch
  • Ankle instability
  • Multiple and closely spaced pregnancies

Complications in the Absence of Treatment

Some complications can arise in cases of flat feet in adults which haven’t had any treatment, including:

  • The development of hallux valgus, a deviation of the big toe outward
  • Issues in the lumbar vertebrae
  • Inflammatory reactions of the membranes covering the tibia, hips, or knees
  • Pain in the ligaments within the inner arch of the foot
  • Ankle problems resulting from the absence or reduction of the foot's curvature
  • Issues with footwear
  • Stress fractures, secondary arthrosis, and more

Orthopedic Insoles for Flat Feet and Other Non-Surgical Treatments

Dr. Julien Lopez guides you towards wearing orthopedic insoles for flat feet or other non-surgical treatments before considering any surgical intervention.

Following a comprehensive consultation and the analysis of complementary radiological exams, first-line medical treatment is always attempted:

  • Standard orthopedic insoles that provide support to your foot and the deformity of the medial longitudinal arch.
  • Custom-made orthotic insoles for flat feet, placed under your foot in the "hollow" area. Made to measure after taking foot impressions, they help relieve pain and slow the progression of your condition.
  • Physical therapy sessions to strengthen the muscles around the posterior tibial tendon and your foot arch, and to stretch contracted structures such as the posterior chains.
  • Orthopedic shoes equipped with reinforcements and areas to stabilize the foot, recommended in cases of severe deformity or surgical contraindication.
  • Dietary counseling to reduce excess weight exerted on your feet.
  • Treatments for tendonitis: PRP, shockwave therapy, physiotherapy, and more.

Orthoses for flat feet are essential in the medical management of flat valgus feet.

Relieving Flat Feet Pain with Exercises

To alleviate the pain caused by your flat feet, exercises can be performed. The surgeon specialized in foot pathologies assists you in conducting muscle and joint stimulations and improving your posture.

For this purpose, they prescribe exercises to correct flat feet that you can easily do at home. Here are two practices that Dr. Julien Lopez can recommend:

  • Reduce the pain in your plantar arch by rolling a ball under your foot. Sit down and place a tennis ball at the curvature of your foot and let it roll for about 20 minutes on each affected foot.
  • Stretch your Achilles tendons for about 30 seconds. Stand up, place one leg forward, transfer your weight onto your heel, and bend the knee of the leg that is left behind.

Other weight transfer exercises onto your toes can also help you stretch and relieve the muscles of the inner arch of your flat feet. The surgeon guides you in applying all non-surgical treatments according to the stage of your condition.

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The informations on the page is provided for information only, it evokes general cases: your situation is specific.

Dr Julien Lopez, orthopedic foot surgeon in Nice welcomes you and advises you for your plantar aproneuritis.

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