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Flat Feet – Case Study


Flat Feet

Describe your foot problem

As a teenager, I was diagnosed with

enlarged big toe joints, which meant I

would be prone to developing bunions

at a later stage. By my twenties, I was

also diagnosed with flat feet. So I knew

that at some point, I was likely to need

foot surgery. It was something I kept

at the back of my mind until gradually,

my feet became increasingly painful and

uncomfortable. I did develop bunions and

having both bunions and flat feet made

it very difficult to find shoes because

my feet were so wide. Eventually, even

trainers became uncomfortable after I had

been wearing them for a while. It wasn’t

just my feet which were affected. If I did

much walking, I would get a lot of aching

in my lower back and in the base of my

neck and develop dreadful headaches.

There was no cushioning in my feet as I

moved, so all the impact as I walked was

being transferred to other parts of my


Why did you choose surgery?

I was first diagnosed by a consultant at

a London teaching hospital. He said I

had severe bunions and recommended

surgery to correct them. I had a further

assessment by Mr Klinke as a second

opinion and he thought my foot problem

was more complex. He suggested that

my flat feet were the precipitating factor

behind my bunions, because they led to

uneven weight distribution as I walked.

Therefore, if the bunions were treated

in isolation, the problem would certainly

come back and it would be a case of

treating the symptoms rather than the

cause. Mr Klinke carefully explained that

surgery to correct flat feet is complex and

involves a long recovery. He suggested

I took some time to consider before

making up my mind and I was grateful

to have that advice and the opportunity

to think it all through. Mr Klinke also

explained that recovery is better if surgery

takes place on one foot at a time, so I

knew I would be looking at a long period

of operations and rehabilitation. It was

quite a daunting prospect, but it was

clearly the right decision for my overall

quality of life.

Rachel Smith is a 37-year-old who lives in London. The Senior Local Government

Manager had surgery to correct her flat feet and bunions. Rachel had surgery on

both feet in two separate operations, first in 2008 and then in 2009, undertaken by

Mr Martin Klinke of the London Foot and Ankle Centre at London Bridge Hospital.

Case Study

Flat Feet