Flat Feet Specialist

Mafutaga S. Tagaloa-Tulifau, D.P.M. -  - Podiatrist

Tagaloa-Tulifau Foot & Ankle Care Center, Inc

Mafutaga S. Tagaloa-Tulifau, D.P.M.

Podiatrist & Foot and Ankle Surgeon located in Lakewood, CA

In rare cases, flatfoot is a congenital condition. Most cases develop in adults, where the condition is a significant source of pain and disability. Dr. Mafutaga Tagaloa-Tulifau in Lakewood, California, has extensive experience helping patients find relief from flat feet and regaining optimal function. Call her practice, Tagaloa-Tulifau Foot & Ankle Center, Inc, or book an appointment online for evaluation and treatment of your flat feet.

Flat Feet Q & A

What causes flat feet?

Infants and children temporarily have flat feet because it takes a little time for their bones to mature and develop arches. There are two types of flatfoot:

Congenital flatfoot

Hereditary condition in which lax ligaments cause a flattened arch, but usually doesn’t cause pain.

Adult-acquired flatfoot

This type of flatfoot is a painful condition that gradually develops as structural changes occur and the arch collapses. It may be caused by:

  • Partial dislocation of joint
  • Dysfunction of posterior tibial tendon
  • Fractured bone
  • Torn or stretched tendon
  • Changes caused by rheumatoid arthritis
  • Damaged nerves


Taking steroids and the presence of chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension contribute to flatfoot in about 60% of all patients.


What symptoms develop when you have adult-acquired flatfoot?

The first symptom you’re likely to experience is swelling and pain along the side of your foot, on the side of your big toe. That's where the posterior tibialis tendon -- which correlates with many cases of adult-acquired flatfoot -- travels from the back of the leg and along the bottom of your foot.

Many patients find that their feet hurt at the end of the day or after standing for a long time. You may also have pain along the other side of your foot. Others can’t participate in sports or other activities due to the pain.


How is flatfoot diagnosed?

Dr. Tagaloa-Tulifau uses X-rays to evaluate the position, shape, and alignment of the bones in your feet and ankle. Magnetic resonance imaging may be needed to visualize the posterior tibial tendon.

After a thorough examination and diagnostic imaging, Dr. Tagaloa-Tulifau determines the stage of adult-acquired flatfoot, based on the severity of the deformity, then determines the best treatment.


How is flatfoot treated?

In many cases, conservative treatment is all that’s needed to alleviate the pain and restore function. This type of treatment may include:

  • Shoes with good arch support
  • Kinesiology tape to support the arch
  • Orthotic insert to keep your foot in proper alignment
  • Boot or cast orthotics to rest and support the foot and ankle
  • Customized orthotic brace to support and limit ankle motion


Dr. Tagaloa-Tulifau may recommend surgery if your symptoms don’t improve with conservative treatment. Surgery may be done to repair a torn tendon or correct the bone problem via fusion or a bone graft.

Call Dr. Tagaloa-Tulifau or book an appointment online when you struggle with foot pain or inflammation.