Updated: Mar 22
Everyone loves babies' little tiny fat flat feet - right?
Those cute tiny feet, are not used much for walking. They don't have the muscles & strength to support the body weight for hours of walking, running, moving. But as we grow and start moving more our feet really start to change.
Flat feet, Pes Palnus, or sometimes called "fallen arches", occur when the arches of the feet collapse or do not develop properly. Walking in the sand, walking in & out of water and then noticing your foot print - is a simple way to see if you have flat feet. We also have a FREE Foot Assessment; that dives into all the areas of the foot. Grab it here:
What might cause flat feet?
I often have parents talk to me about their kids having flat feet, & what to do about it. I also, worked with plenty of adults who did not even know they have flat feet.
Flat feet can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
Genetics: Some people are born with flat feet due to genetic factors. This is often seen in families where other members also have flat feet.
Pregnancy: Yes, our feet, like everything else in the body, really change during the process of making another human.
Injury: Trauma to the feet, such as a fracture or sprain, can damage the tendons and ligaments that support the arches, leading to flat feet.
Aging: As we age, the tendons and ligaments in our feet can become weaker, leading to a loss of arch support and flat feet.
Obesity: Excess weight can put additional stress on the feet and contribute to the development of flat feet.
Certain medical conditions: Conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and nerve problems can affect the muscles and ligaments in the feet, leading to flat feet.
Are flat feet "bad"?
It is important to know that having flat feet is not necessarily bad!
The function of the foot is way more important.
Flat feet, are not necessarily "bad" or harmful on their own. Many people with flat feet have no pain or discomfort & can lead perfectly normal lives.
However, for some runners, flat feet can cause pain, discomfort, & other problems.
Here are a few ways that flat feet can affect runners:
Overpronation: Pronation is a natural part of the foots gait while both walking & running. However, flat feet may cause overpronation, which occurs when the foot rolls inward too much when running. This can lead to excessive stress & mobility issues on the foot & ankle, increasing the risk of injuries such as plantar fasciitis & shin splints.
Lack of shock absorption: The arches of the feet act as natural shock absorbers, reducing the impact of each step. Without proper arch support, runners with flat feet may experience more impact & stress on their feet & legs, which can increase the risk of injuries. The strength of the arch is something all runners should be working on, not just those with flat feet.
Muscle imbalances: All of our movements start from our feet. Flat feet can contribute to muscle imbalances in the legs & feet, which can lead to a variety of injuries & issues, including knee pain & IT band syndrome.
Reduced running efficiency: Flat feet can affect running efficiency by reducing the stability, mobility, & power of the foot & then ankle during running. This can lead to a less efficient running gait, slower running times, & increased fatigue.
While not all runners with flat feet will experience these issues, it's important to pay attention to any pain or discomfort.
However, our feet do play a big part in all of our movements.
So, if you have flat feet, neutral, or high arches - adding foot strengthening exercises to your daily workouts is a very great idea to proactively stay running healthy for all the years to come.
It's important to include feet strengthing in a well-rounded training program. Our 15-day Mobility Challenge has an easy design to help you: just push play and follow along!
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