Researchers at the University of East Anglia (UEA) have made an advance in understanding the causes of adult-aquired flat feet (pes planus). The findings could lead to a new drug therapy for flat feet and other conditions affecting the tendons.
The causes of flat feet are not fully understood but known risk factors include obesity, hypertension and diabetes.
The research demonstrated that the structure and composition of tendon specimens changed in flat feet and they found 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’, said lead author Arthritis Research UK senior research fellow Dr Graham Riley.
Dr.Riley stressed that new treatments could be 10-15 years away. Further research was now needed into which specific proteolytic enzymes should be targeted and whether people could be genetically predisposed to tendon injuries of this type.
The research was funded by Arthritis Research UK, Cambridge Arthritis Research Endeavour, The Rosetrees Trust,The HB Allen Trust and The Sybil Eastwood Trust.
source Podiatry Now