You might have heard of a condition known as 'flat feet', but you might not be totally sure what it is. Essentially, people with flat feet have a medial longitudinal arch that has either flattened out or collapsed completely—as a result, the foot will show no or very little arch when it is placed down against the floor. It's a condition that demands attention, but it's particularly important for runners to address the issue, and here are just three reasons why.
1. Reduced Impact Absorption
The foot is designed to work a certain way. When you put it down, it shouldn't roll significantly outwards or inwards – this is necessary to ensure that the impact of each footfall is properly absorbed. People with flat feet tend to overpronate, meaning that their feet roll inwards too much. This can create some pain in the foot, but the more serious problem is that impact force won't be absorbed.
This is a problem even when you're walking, but it becomes even more serious when you run due to the amount of impact force that needs to be absorbed during each footfall. Extra force will be placed on the ankle joints, lower leg bones, and knee joints, so problems with these areas are far more likely to occur. One of the most common problems associated with flat-footed runners is shin splints – a condition in which inflammation occurs across the shinbone. It's very painful and often puts people out of their running shoes for at least a few weeks.
2. Poor Alignment
Your feet are your base, and problems in your feet can have a knock-on effect across other parts of the body. For example, overpronation can lead to alignment problems further up the body. As your foot rolls inwards, the points around the pelvis can rotate improperly, putting unexpected stress on soft tissues. This issue is made worse by the fact that impact force will be directed upwards instead of properly controlled; as a result, you can even put unnecessary stress on the spine, which can lead to conditions such as slipped discs.
3. Poorly Fitted Running Shoes
Finally, flat-footed runners are unlikely to find running shoes that fit them. There are a few specialty brands available, but people with flat feet will generally find that there's too much space between the bottom of the shoe and the bottom of their foot. This will mean that the shoe moves around too much during exercise, increasing the chances of a fall and making discomfort more likely.
These are serious issues, but flat-footed people don't need to stop heading out for on their daily runs. Instead, just make sure you pick up a pair of special orthotics. These slip into the shoe to provide proper arch support, and they should be considered a must for flat-footed runners.
Hi, my name is Julie, and in the past, I have been too embarrassed to wear sandals or flip flops to the beach. While all my friends had beautiful, silky smooth feet, I had crusty, dry and sometimes fungus-laden feet. My options seemed to be socks with sandals or avoiding the beach altogether. Since there was no way I was going to do either of those, I met with a podiatrist and launched on a journey to fix, protect and maintain my feet. Along the way, I learned a ton of facts, home remedies and foot protection strategies. I plan to include all of those ideas and more in this blog, and I hope the posts here help you.