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My Feet And Ankles Always Hurt (questions About Surgery)

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Hello. I'm 19 years old and I have a problem with my feet. I've always known that I had flat feet, and I didn't think it was really a problem. When I was real young I had an orthopedic insert that I used to use (this was probably 14-15 years ago). I didn't wear it for long, and I haven't been to a foot doctor until very recently.

I started playing Ultimate a lot last September when I got to college. I joined the team and started running a lot and playing for 7-10 hours a week. Since then my feet and ankles have hurt a lot. I figured it was normal because I was so used to it. After things started getting real bad I knew it had to do with my flat feet. I never had time to get to the foot doctor since I was real busy at school, but I decided to buy ankle braces instead. They helped me out a bit, but I was still in a lot of pain.

So I finally got to the foot doctor about a week ago. He laughed at my feet and said they were in terrible condition. I got an x-ray taken and they also put me on some type of scanner to see where I put pressure on my feet. When my heels are straight, my feet curve outward because the bones are shaped wrong. My doctor said that orthopedic inserts would barely help me, if anything at all. In my very brief visit, he mentioned surgery once saying only this: "surgery is an option".

I got a letter in the mail saying that he recommended the inserts and my insurance company would cover 80% of the cost. I called him up to talk this over, because I was very confused. He said that before I should even consider surgery, I should get the custom inserts and also get specially made ankle braces for when I'm playing. I was only able to talk to him on the phone for a minute or two because he's always real busy.

So, now on to my question. It seems like it's a waste for me to get the inserts and the ankle braces. I've read some things online, and I don't think it's going to help me. I plan on getting a second opinion, but I'd really like to know more about the surgery. Is it possible to fix bone structure and flat feet through surgery? What kind of recovery time am I looking at? If I want insurance to cover it, it must be necessary. What makes a foot surgery like this required? Thanks a lot for taking the time to read this.

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replied January 18th, 2008
i have flat feet. the thing with flat feet is, it doesnt only effect your feet. if your feet are rolling inwards when you walk, it is effecting your ankles, knees, back, everything! i used get especially get pain in my feet and back when i was at school. i got specially made inserts for my shoes and they made it so much better. because i was young (maybe 10) when i got them made, it meant the problem could to a certain extent be corrected before it got worse. my feet are great these days. i hardly ever get the pain anymore. i dont need to wear such rigid inserts anymore either, i wear scholl or orthoheel ones. why did you never wear the ones given to you?? i dont know about the ankle braces or the surgery, but my advice would be to listen to what your doctor has to say! if he recommends the braces and inserts, then get them. and WEAR them!
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replied January 20th, 2008
Active User, very eHealthy
Surgery is usually only considered when conservative treatment like inserts have failed, i don't know how bad your feet are, but inserts can halt progression of these deformities, and in time sometimes reverse them. These types of conditions are often caused by laxity in the ligaments and connective tissue around the joints of the feet, this means you might have to limit the amount of sport you play for a while.

One condition that surgery is used for is PTTD posterior tibial tendon deficiency try googling it. It is like really bad flat feet where the feet are grossly deformed probably much worse than yours, i think your doc possibly misspoke about you needing surgery, it used in serious cases, and the outcomes are not always good, i think you would be wise to try the inserts first.
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