Flat Feet – what can you do?

March 9, 2023

Flat feet, also known as fallen arches or pes planus, are a common condition in which the arches of the feet collapse and come into contact with the ground when standing or walking. It occurs whenever the tendons and ligaments in the foot become weak, leading to an absence of arch support. While flat feet do not always pose problems, they can have an effect on your running, exacerbating pain and discomfort.

When you run, your feet absorb the impact of your body weight striking the ground. Your foot arches serve as shock absorbers, transferring the impact of each step equitably across your foot. This shock-absorbing ability is reduced in flat feet, and the effect of each step is concentrated in key locations of the foot. This can result in foot, ankle, knee, and lower back pain and inflammation. So, what can you do to reduce the adverse effects of having to run with flat feet?

First, choose the right footwear. When you have flat feet, it is crucial to wear running shoes with sufficient arch support. Look for shoes with a strong sole and a contoured footbed for cushioning and support. Many shoe companies also make shoes specifically for flat feet. After that, use orthotics. Orthotics are shoe inserts that help support the foot’s arch. They can be made to order or purchased off the shelf. Orthotics can help distribute your body’s weight evenly across your foot, lowering the impact of each step. Third, strengthen your feet: Foot and ankle strengthening exercises can help support your arches.

Calf raises, toe curls, and foot arch lifts are some exercises to try. You can also try walking barefoot on uneven surfaces like grass or sand to help strengthen your feet. Fourth, stretch prior to and following you run: Stretching can help improve flexibility while also lowering the risk of injury. Stretch your calf muscles, achilles tendon, and foot muscles. Finally, instead of trying to do too much too soon, the best advice is to gradually increase your running time.

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