I have super flat feet. Like pancake flat. It’s caused some biomechanial issues throughout the years but I keep running because I love it. Mainly, I have shin issues once I start running more. Some days I can’t run, others I do but feel pain with each step.
My PT had told me that continuing to run won’t be harmful, since I’ve been continuing to run since high school cross country. I just need to make sure I take active steps to stay injury free.
Today I want to share some tips for those of you who might have flat feet like me. Some people can have flat feet and no biomechanical issues at all, like my mom. I don’t know why that is! Shes’ never had pain issues due to running. I wish…
The arches of your feet are like “springs” for your legs. They absorb the impact with every step, and also allow you to walk/run and use less energy (due to that “spring” energy action). With flat feet, you get more impact, which is why issues like shin splints can arise.
So here are a few things you can implement into your every day routine:
This is a no-brainer, right? If you have flat feet, you should probably get orthotics. The best would be to visit a podiatrist and get custom orthotics. When I was a kid, my parents got me these orthotics that would have somehow molded my arches back up. They hurt to much to wear so I never wore them…now I kind of regret that!
I don’t have customs, but I love Super Feet. They have different colors, which denote the amount of support. I think blue is the highest. You buy new ones about every 3-4 sneakers you wear out. The weird thing I’ve noticed lately is that I only need one of these in my left shoe. I don’t need an orthotic in my right shoe.
Ankle strength is important for any runner, but if you have flat feet, this is definitely something to focus on. You’re more prone to shin splints, and strengthening your ankles can help you avoid that. Here’s a great list of exercises to try out. I usually like to add in balance movements at the end of my workout. I stand on one leg, balance for 30 seconds, then switch. I also do this on a pad or bosu ball for added challenge.
Make it more challenging but balancing on the bosu ball, then take a medicine ball and do cirlces with it, both clockwise and counter clockwise. So you’re lifting the ball up over your head, then moving it to your left, then down by your hips, then out to your right and up over head again. Sounds easy, but it’s not!
As I mentioned above, the main thing flat footed people want to avoid is shin splints. Band exercises can not only help strengthen your ankles, but also your anterior tibialis. The stronger that is, the less you’ll be relying on your calf muscles. Shin splints can occur because your calf muscles are overused/stronger than your anterior tibialis, which leads to a muscle imbalance. Google it to find a better worded explanation that what I just wrote Here’s an example (all you need is an elastic band):
I’m just going to find a video for this because I’ll do a horrible job of explaining it. Doing these exercises can help train you to use your arches a bit more rather than letting them fall.
I used to do this for cross country. I tried it last year with kinesio tape and did like the extra support it gave me. Though I do feel it’s hit or miss because if it ends up being too tight you’ll be uncomfortable for the whole run. But if it’s the right amount of pressure, you’ll feel like a totally different runner…one with nice arches!
Below is the video I had used. It’s for plantar fascittis prevention and healing, which is also another runner’s injury that can occur due to flat feet.
Avoid Flip Flops
Doctors used to tell me this a lot in high school, but alas, as a teen I didn’t listen. People should avoid flip flops for multiple reasons, but people with flat feet should especially avoid flip flops. There is ZERO arch support, which is the worst thing for you. It can lead to other issues too like inflammation and plantar fascittis. If you have issues like shin splints and lower back pain (caused by your flat feet and biomechanics), wearing flip flops will only make it worse.
If you want open shoes, opt for sandals instead. In the summer, I usually wear casual sneakers. I absolutely love the Reebok Skyscapes that I got at FitBlogNYC this year! I usually find that with casual sneakers, they don’t have much arch support, but these are great. I can use them for when I know I’ll be on my feet for a while and I’ll be pain free. These Converse slip-ons are on my buy list too…I love the look and feel like they would go great with a casual/beachy summer outfit.
So who of you are part of the flat footed tribe?? It’s been a pain throughout the years but I’ve learned to deal with it. It sucks that I can’t walk for long periods of time (aka shopping) without my lower back hurting, and that’s why I’m usually in sneakers. I always see girls shopping in cute boots and flats…I wish! I would last probably 15 minutes before my feet and back were in pain. Sigh…
Do you have flat feet? What tips would you add?
What’s the most annoying running injury you’ve had?
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