So, you’ve got flat feet and you want to run, but you’re wondering, is it dangerous, is it bad for me, can it hurt me? Well, I’m Jessie Funk and on today’s episode of Runner’s High, we’re gonna address the myths and problems surrounding flat feet and running.
So, let’s get the basic question answered. Just having flat feet is not dangerous or a problem or bad at all. So, if that’s all you need, like many videos, here’s my quick answer. Hit that subscribe button and stick around with me for another video in the future about running. But I can’t tell you the number of people I saw that came into the running store where I worked for several years, and said, well, I have flat feet.
And we put them on this foot scanner, it’s basically just a nice scanner that you can stand on that can handle people’s weight. And almost every time, every once in a while you’d see somebody with actually flat feet. But the number of people who didn’t have flat feet at all was just astounding and it always shocked them as well. So, see if I can move out of the way.
So, there’s two examples here. We have a flat foot and we have an arch. And even though when you look at your feet, you may think I have flat feet, it may just be that your arches are low so it appears flat when you’re here and you’re looking down. But it may not actually be the case.
They’re low but they still go over. A good way to test this is to get your feet wet and then walk on some pavement and it’ll show you the imprint of your foot. [??? 01:39] there’s also more fancy methods using ink or paint or things like that. But that gets really messy and problematic quickly. If you can find someplace that has a foot scanner, those things are nice, it shows your pressure points and that kind of stuff, too. But the water method is the easy way to do it at home.
Now, if we figured out that you do, in fact, have flat feet, the next part is figuring out is it actually a problem. Generally speaking, if you’re not having pain, kind of symptoms, or anything like that, it’s probably not a problem. When you have flat feet, it can be the result of other things going on that really affects your whole system.
When I say system, I mean feet, ankles, hips, knees, all that kind of stuff. So, there’s really a lot going on when we’re talking about biomechanics. But with flat feet, in particular, it can be the result of having very flexible and very weak muscles in your feet. It can be corrected through strengthening exercises, which I’ll make a recommendation here at the end.
But what happens with these flat feet is that we end up overpronating. So, pronation is the natural roll of your foot from the outside to the inside. So, I’ll use my hand as an example. This is the outside and this is your big toe. It’s going to roll like this from this side all the way up here. That’s normal.
You want that to happen. Some people have gotten the wrong idea and they think they want to stop production entirely. That’s not true. That’s normal, natural biomechanic, both when you’re walking and when you’re running. It’s a little more complicated when you’re running, but that’s the gist.
So, what happens with that flat feet is that because you don’t have that arch here to support and kind of post up your foot and stop this motion here, it will fall over which is overpronation. When you overpronate then you cause undue stress on your ankle, which can result in undue stress on your knee and your hip, and the whole connected system.
So, it can become a series of problems that have to be corrected by various strengthening exercises targeted at those specific areas. If you’re experiencing problems, usually the first line of attack is simply checking, do you have the right kind of shoes on?
There’s a particular kind of shoes often referred to as stability shoes, although those come into varieties. If you don’t know what I mean, subscribe to the channel, I’ve got videos on shoes and what different kinds of shoes are, check those out here in a minute.
But with a stability shoe for overpronation on the inside, so this is my foot on the inside here, there’s usually a more rigid foam, which helps push against that kind of overpronation. It doesn’t stop it, but it helps you from destroying the shoe essentially from that extra pressure that you’re putting on the inside.
Sometimes people will use a very light, small arch to help post that foot up and stop the overpronation but that is not necessarily addressing the underlying issue of muscle weakness. So, it may be helpful to you. It may not.
Arches, in particular, have kind of been debated and that’s something where I always suggested if it works for you, if it feels good, if it feels comfortable, use it. If you try it on several runs and you’re just not digging it, get rid of it. Don’t worry about it, it’s not going to be the end of the world if you don’t use it. There are strength exercises that you can do.
So, then include things like calf raises, and kind of walking with your toes, you stand up, use your toes to pull you forward, those other things. I cannot give you a particular regimen for you because issues can be so complicated because feet are complicated, and then you add in all the extra biomechanical issues. I’m not a doctor or certified podiatrist or physical therapist.
So, if you’re experiencing issues that cannot be solved by that shoe, or the arch, and you continue to have pain, please see a professional. YouTube videos are great, I love to do them for you. But there are some times when you need somebody to look at you in particular, and figure out what your issues are.
So, try to find somebody who is specializing in sports or sees a lot of athletes or runners. Those are going to be your best bet because they know that you are out there doing that. And they’re going to be more inclined to figure out how to solve the problem and help you continue to do your activity, in this case, running.
Versus somebody who doesn’t see those people, I often find those people will just say do this, and then don’t run. You know, that kind of suggestion, which obviously, we don’t want as runners if there’s a way to keep us running. So, if you have pain, see a pro. Other than that, subscribe to the channel. Stick around with me for more episodes in the future, and I’ll see you next time on the next episode of runner’s High.