Treating Painful, Flat Feet
– Reported, January 19, 2012
(Ivanhoe Newswire)– Have you ever experienced the pain of flat feet? New insight may help millions of Americans who suffer from the painful condition.
Thanks to a team at the University of East Anglia a recent discovery was made that may help doctors understand what may be the cause of adult-acquired flat feet.
Flat feet are most common in women over 40 and are often left undiagnosed and untreated. Adult-acquired flat feet are caused from ‘stretching out’ a tendon that stabilizes the foot arch near the ankle bone called the tibialis posterior tendon.
Risks of flat feet include obesity, hypertension, and diabetes. Although the main cause of the actual stretching of the tendon is unknown, speculation that standing while wearing heels, or walking for long periods of time may be the cause.
Working with surgeons and scientists at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, and the University of Bristol, the team showed that the structure and composition of tendon specimens had changed and found evidence of increased activity of some proteolytic enzymes. These enzymes can break down the constituents of the tibialis posterior tendon and weaken it causing the foot arch to fall.
“Our study may have important therapeutic implications since the altered enzyme activity could be a target for new drug therapies in the future,” Dr. Graham Riley, author of the Arthritis Research UK at UEA’s School of Biological Sciences, was quoted as saying.
Further research is needed to find which specific proteolytic enzymes should be targeted and whether people could be genetically predisposed to tendon injuries of this type. New treatments could be 10-15 years away and the findings could lead to new drug therapy for flat feet and other common tendon conditions.
SOURCE: Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, January 11, 2012