Flat Foot Reconstruction Surgery! LET'S GOOOoooo

Looks like it’s my turn to make one of these old man threads! :D

About a year ago, at age 51, my flat feet finally became a problem. Well, the right one anyway. I started noticing foot pain and swelling and the inside of my ankle/heel felt tender and bruised all the time.

I saw an orthopedist, got xrays and an MRI and they found little tears in the tibial tendon that goes from the calf down to the foot. It’s old and giving up its elasticity and showing signs of literal wear and tear. I put orthopedic arch supports in all my shoes, tried wearing an ankle brace, and finally got an ultrasound-guided cortisone injection last August. Hot damn, that stuff worked like a miracle for 6 or 7 months but then it wore off and started hurting again back in March.

I saw the doctor again last week and she told me I was a candidate for flat foot reconstruction surgery. This came as a surprise because last year she told me surgery wasn’t an option for this problem but now suddenly it was. When I asked why, she explained that too many patients want surgery too quickly so she initially discourages that as an option until the condition proves itself to be chronic. Okay, I get that. People are dumb. I’m not, but okay.

So now I’m weighing that option! My initial thought was to get it done around this time next year. But now I’m thinking maybe the sooner the better. If I’m gonna do it, why not enjoy the benefits for a longer period of time.

I liked how she kept saying I was a good candidate because of how young I was. :D

From what research I’ve done, it sounds like there’s around a 90% success rate so those are good odds. They take out the bad tendon and arrange an existing tendon to replace it and I guess slice off some heel bone for good measure. (?!) Recovery is two weeks with no weight-bearing, four weeks in a cast/boot, then physical therapy and slowly learning to use it I guess.

I think I’m gonna go for it but I’m not sure when. She put me in the system to go get another cortisone shot right away if I want to. But it seems like I should skip the temporary so-loosh and go big or go home.

Have any of you old gamers by chance had this surgery? Or know someone who has had it done?

Hopefully somewhere in this thread’s future, I’m reporting back from a long hike on my new foot and feeling grateful I went through with it! :)

Not this and not to the point of surgery, but my old feet started acting up at the beginning of the year with a bunion forming. I switch my shoe choices and things seem a lot better. Your situation sounds much worse, so good luck

Sorry, not me…but I had a cyst last year in my right foot that exploded and caused all sorts of pain and numbness and the doctor said about 80% that it totally fixes it but it still might come back. Has not yet so crossing my toes for you too!

I haven’t, but now I know this is a possibility for where my flat feet end up in the future. Foot pain is not unheard of for me but not in the place you described.

Yeah, for sure. And speaking of that, part of me can’t help but wonder if I’d be in better shape now if I had started wearing those orthotic arch supports in my shoes five or ten years ago. And if that, in fact, would have helped, WHY DIDN’T ANYONE TELL ME?! This is known as blaming others rather than taking responsibility for oneself. :D

But throughout my forties I wore support-less Docksiders or went barefoot all the time thinking nothing of it. Now I wonder if that tendon could have benefitted from better support over the years and thereby could have lasted longer.

So maybe this thread doubles as a Public Service Announcement to all y’all with flat feet!

These are the ones my orthopedist recommended. They feel great.

I can walk up and down stairs just fine when I’m wearing shoes with these inserts. If I’m barefoot, I hobble like a very old man (especially first thing in the morning) and I feel embarrassed when my wife and kids can see me.

I asked my doctor point blank, am I further damaging that tendon whenever I walk around barefoot? She said yes. So now I wear shoes everywhere and a huge part of what I’m confronting is not being able to walk barefoot ever again. Are you kidding me? That’s livin’! I want it back!

When I walk, my Johnson tends to slap against the ankle and instep of whichever leg I’ve sided it with that day. Through my 20s and 30s I didn’t think too much about this, and I didn’t keep track of how often I wore it down the right or left leg of my pants. But soon after I turned 40, people started commenting on a pronounced lurch in my step, and my left shoes started not to fit well. It turned out that the constant stimulus of my Johnson slapping against my left instep had raised the height of that arch, and thus the length of my leg, by a full inch and a half.

So I had to wear my Johnson exclusively in my right pants leg for a year so the arches evened out again, and now I have to be very careful to alternate right days with left days and to wear straps at the thigh, knee, and mid-calf or the whole system goes out of whack very swiftly. The straps, in turn, have given me three calluses on each side of my Johnson.

But it turns out that these calluses are the pinnacle, pretty much, of what used to be called “ribbing for her pleasure,” and I’m more sought after than ever. You’ve got to be sure to take the sweet along with the bitter, is what I say.

I’m jealous. Sounds like an easy ride. Starting at age 12, I had to sling mine over the shoulder and down my back, hiding it with puffy jackets and shoulder pads. Whenever the back and shoulder pain gets me down, I just fuck someone’s mom and then I feel better. 👍

Best of luck if you go through with the surgery. Feet problem are the damn devil. I had plantar fasciitis 2 years ago, and it was absolute agony. It took months to get over it. I’d wake up in the morning and would dread putting my foot on the floor. Like I was stepping on a spike driven into my heel with every step. I wouldn’t wish painful feet issues on anyone. Do it. Go big. Your feet will thank you.

A few years ago, I finally realized that my knee and feet problems were due to shitty footwear. Asics Gel Venture…5’s(?) totally helped me out. That, and gout medication becuase that fucked up a foot for awhile, too.

Note that when I mentioned switching shoes, I moved to wearing more minimalist shows with wider toe-boxes. The taper of my work shoes (business casual) were pinching my big to inward.

I have normal arches. The minimalist shoes have no arch support, its like walking barefoot. I would not use them for a long day walking on concrete, but they are great for normal day in/out walking

So I decided not to get surgery this year.

Stay tuned for a bump next year when I’ll probably, most likely go for it in early May. 👍 👣

I overdid it stomping around New York a couple weeks ago, and after my first day back at work in downtown Seattle, in less supportive work shoes, I wound up with the same issue. My heel is no longer in pain, but I overstressed my arch while compensating for the sharp heel pain, and now I have lingering plantar fasciitis. Oof!

Now that my pain has moved from mainly in my heel to mostly the arch (ie the plantar fascia itself) I’ve found that arch support ironically makes it worse. Taking pressure off my arch, even at rest, seems to help.

I guess this places me firmly in the youngest of the old camp on QT3, not the oldest of the young.

I had a similar experience last year, when I exclusively wore sandals with no arch support from May through October. When I switched back to my regular shoes with arch support in November, the pain was excruciating.

The solution for me turned out to be switching permanently to barefoot shoes. Took a little bit to adjust my form so I wasn’t striking with my heel, but otherwise it’s been a great experience and seems to have addressed my problems.

Sounds like we’re building a solid, anti-foot-pain consensus! 🚫🦶 😧

I recently had an appointment with a different orthopedist to get a second opinion about my f*cked up flat foot and came away both reassured and further confused. I thought he was a better doctor and I plan to stick with him going forward, but the surgery he recommended was a foot fusion instead of extra-articular surgery.

The way he explained it, the foot fusion locks the foot and prevents it from rolling or pronating inward. So this surgery doesn’t replace the torn (or more accurately, frayed) tendon, it would solve the problem by preventing the foot from ever using it again. He said, “If you’re gonna do it, do it right.” But the idea of a foot fusion freaks me out more since it’s a longer recovery (3 months) and would mean I’d lose the corkscrew motion of the foot… then again, I kind of already have. That’s the type of movement that causes pain.

He also said my Aetrex orthotics (the ones I linked to earlier) were too squishy and that I needed custom orthotics. I have an appointment with a podiatrist next week to start that process. Hopefully those will help. And hopefully my insurance will cover them since they run three to four hundred dollars.

So, for now, I’ll wait and see about the surgery. I can get one more cortisone shot but I’m gonna hold off on that and only do it if the pain gets severe. I’m also feeling very motivated to lose ten or fifteen pounds to help alleviate the problem.