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Patient: Flat foot fix 'like a miracle'

January 11, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
Some people are born with good feet, and some of us are not. People with flat feet know all too well about heel, back and knee pain. Podiatrists usually treat with orthotics or corrective shoes, but now one Newport Beach doctor says a simple, titanium implant may be the answer to all your foot problems.Ever since she was 12, Yvette Brown has worn orthotics to compensate for flat feet.

"About a year-and-a-half ago, I was having a lot of pain in my feet, my hips, my lower back," said Yvette. "The orthotics were not working."

So she tried something completely unconventional. Through a half-inch incision, doctors placed a titanium implant in the top of her foot. The device opens up a space between two bones that generally collapses in people with flat feet.

For Yvette, this means her feet no longer lean inward or pronates. In before and after pictures, you can plainly see a higher arch.

When it comes to treating flat feet, think of orthotic like reading glasses -- you'll need one every time you walk. But this titanium implant is like an instant fix.

Dr. Ivar Roth calls it Lasik for the feet.

While Yvette says recovery was fast, critics say this isn't the answer for everyone with flat feet. The foot has multiple planes of control and some patients may require more correction than a simple implant can handle.

This particular implant isn't the only one available -- there are several on the market. The procedure costs $3,500 per foot.

Dr. Roth says it's completely reversible.

"If you don't want to have surgery, go with the orthotics. But this is a life-changing procedure, because you're fixed," said Dr. Roth.

"It's been like a miracle for me," said Yvette. "It really has."

To see how the procedure is surgically done, roll your mouse over the Eyewitness News Story Window at the top of this page and select the video "Demonstration of flat food procedure".