For the most part, flat feet is not a serious condition. The average patient suffering with flat feet can go their whole life without experiencing excess pain. However, there is a small percentage of the population who have extremely flat feet that will cause them considerable pain and may need to be operated on.
Before resorting to surgery, most podiatrists will seek alternative treatments because surgery on flat feet is invasive and inconvenient for the patient. Some of the most common treatments include braces, physical therapy, medications, icing, supportive taping, and orthotics. A foot brace is a device that holds the foot in a set position to prevent the patient from putting excess weight on the already enflamed tendons. Anti-inflammatory medications and icing are both treatment methods that keeps swelling down and reduce inflammation. Orthotics are similar to bracing and taping except they're customized for your feet and they're much easier to use. Orthotics are simply inserts you place in your shoes that realign your feet to the position they should be in.
In the extreme case that none of these treatments work, surgery may be the only effective treatment left. It's recommended to only have one foot operated on at a time. Having both done at once will leave you crippled and dependent. There are different kinds of procedures for the surgery, but in each case, the doctor will go in and reconstruct the foot in a way so that the patient has an arch.
To read one woman's personal experience with flat feet surgery, click here.
Dr. Danciger is an excellent surgeon who is experienced and effective.