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How to be a Successful Runner Even with Flat Feet

How to be a Successful Runner Even with Flat Feet

Approximately 25 percent of the U.S. has flat feet, but this on its own does not typically make it impossible for them to be runners. In fact, this previously misunderstood foot condition is no longer an automatic disqualification from serving in the military, and most people with flat feet are able to do everything that individuals with a standard arch can do. By following a few important foot health tips, people with flat feet can even comfortably finish a marathon.

1. How Can You Tell if You Have Flat Feet?

Most people have an arch in their foot that can easily be seen from the side. In contrast, someone who has been born with flat feet will have little to no discernible arch. This is caused by a collapsed medial longitudinal arch, which can lead to a variety of physical complications if precautions are not taken. It is common for parents to notice the missing arch in a child’s footprint, but it will be necessary for a doctor to examine your feet in order to get a conclusive diagnosis.

2. What Are the Two Categories of Flat Feet?

There are two different types of flat feet: Rigid Flat Feet and Flexible Flat Feet. A rigid flat foot is the least common type, and it is caused by the bone structure of the feet instead of the arch tendons. One of the confusing things about determining whether or not you have this condition is that flexible flat feet can look normal from the side until you actually place weight on the foot. If you have flexible flat feet, your arches will flatten when you stand, walk or run.

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3. Why do People with Flat Feet Need to Take Special Precautions?

As previously mentioned, flat feet can lead to several physical issues if you fail to take some basic precautions. For example, running without the proper shoes or insoles can easily lead to pain in your ankles, heels, lower back and knees. Flat feet are also associated with bunions and shin splints. Anyone who runs regularly without the necessary foot support runs the risk of developing tendinitis in the knees.

4. Will Every Person with Flat Feet Experience Physical Problems?

Although issues such as feet and knee pain are common with flat feet, it is estimated that 20 percent of the people who do not have a proper arch can still participate in a long list of everyday activities without ever developing any associated symptoms. It is likely that these individuals have a small arch that has not completely collapsed. The odds are high that most people in this category are never even diagnosed with flat feet because they do not develop any complaints that need to be looked at by a physician.

5. Are Shoe Insoles Good Enough?

Shoe insoles are one of the most common treatment methods for flat feet. Depending on the severity of your issue, a podiatrist may prescribe a pair that is made specifically for your feet. However, most people are able to purchase insoles that are designed for anyone with fallen arches. This is an affordable method for reducing the symptoms associated with flat feet, but you will still need to be careful about what type of shoes you buy because you need overall foot and ankle support.

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6. Is it Safe to Run with Flat Feet?

The vast majority of people with flat feet can run without developing any serious complications. The trick is to be aware of your condition so that you can use insoles and shoes that will provide support for your ankles and feet. Additionally, the severity of your condition will have an impact on how likely you are to end up suffering from an injury. In other words, if you have rigid flat feet, you will need to be even more aware and vigilant to prevent future issues as a result of running. Overall, it is safe for most people to run with flat feet as long as they have taken precautions.

7. How Can I Select the Best Shoes for Running with Flat Feet?

There are three main things to look for when buying shoes for flat feet: A stiff heel, sturdy construction that is difficult to twist and shoes that bend near the toes but not the middle. Stability shoes offer some much-needed support and will help you avoid over-pronation. There are hundreds of options to choose from, and everyone’s exact needs are different. With this in mind, it is best to receive assistance from a shoe expert. Runners with flat feet often recommend the ASICS Gel-Lyte33 2, New Balance M1080v3 or the Mizuno Wave Inspire 11, so it is a good idea to try on theses shoes to determine if they are a good fit. Keep in mind that it may still be necessary to put insoles into whichever shoes you buy.

8. Can You Rebuild Your Arches?

Many people are born with flat arches, but it is also possible to develop them later in life. Either way, you may be able to at least somewhat rebuild your arches by utilizing toe curl exercises. One easy technique that you can try involves sitting in a chair in a room with a smooth floor. Place a towel on the floor in front of you, and sit with your back straight and your knees at a 90-degree angle from your feet. Next, leave your heel flat and use your toes to grab the towel and pull it toward you. Doing this in repetitions of 10 at least once per day may rebuild your arches.

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9. The Importance of Supporting Your Ankles

Your main focus when looking for shoes will probably be your arches, or lack thereof, but this is not the only area that you need to pay close attention to. Your ankles are especially susceptible to injuries due to your flat feet, so you should always ensure that they are well-supported by your shoes and socks. Again, a sturdy shoe that does not have a lot of bend near the middle is important, and a stiffer exterior near your ankles will be beneficial.

10. Stick to Running Courses on Flat Land

Even if you acquire the very best shoes and insoles, you will still need to pay close attention to the terrain when you go running. Anyone with flat feet is much more likely to suffer from over-pronation on uneven ground. This means that it is actually safer to run on flattop concrete than to choose softer ground that is not level such as trails or a golf course. Of course, if a dirt trail is relatively flat, then the added level of shock absorbency may make it the ideal running spot.

If you do continue to experience pain in your feet, you may benefit from regular foot massages. Be sure to visit your podiatrist as well and ask for a pair of prescription running shoes. By following this combination of tips, you should be able to run without dealing with any excessive pain or flat foot-related physical issues.

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Featured photo credit: Elvert Barnes via flic.kr

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Last Updated on August 15, 2018

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

Video Summary

Why is it important to train up our core strength?

There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

One Exercise, multiple benefits

There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

What will happen when you start doing planks every day

    1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

    Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

    • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
    • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
    • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
    • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

    2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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      Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

      Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

      3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

        Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

        4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

          Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

          A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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          A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

          On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

          5. You’ll improve overall balance

            Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

            6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

              Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

              7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                How to hold a plank position

                1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                  How to improve your plank time gradually

                  1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                  2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                  3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                  Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                  Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                  You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                  • Prolapse
                  • After prolapse surgery
                  • Pelvic pain conditions
                  • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                  • Previous childbirth
                  • Overweight

                  Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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