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Excercising with Flat Feet


Here we talk about how people with a flat foot or flat feet need to adapt their workouts in order to reduce excess strain and pressure on the fallen archs of their feet and concentrate on using more of the heel.


In order to successfuly go about daily life, walking, running, cycling or working out at the gym we rely on our legs. We use them as our main mode of transport, to sit up and go fetch a drink, to walk to the local shops, around the house or take a stroll. Little, however, do we think of our feet which I find astounding seeing as we would simply become idle without feet, in terms of walking, running etc. These limbs serve to balance our stance and provide the means to delivery movement effectively in combination with the quadriceps, abductors, hamstrings, glutes and calves.

So it is strange how many of us do not pay much attention to our feet as it can severely affect our posture and this can lead to many problems later on in life. Those of us who have flat feet walk differently, and thus might use different muscle groups when performing excercises. Lactic acid builds in the fallen arch (the bit of meat/muscle that is causing the foot to be flat, where a normal foot would have an arc, flat footed individuals do not, or at least it is not a full arch thus causing the foot to be 'flat) and walking or running for a long time is more painful than for those with normal feet. We might also put more pressures on the knees as we place more weight on the center of the foot rather than the heels.

Treatment Suggestions:

First and foremost, go talk to a Podiatrist. These are specialised in the field of feet. Yes, foot specialists do exist and for whatever reason they have chosen to work a career analysing people's feet, detecting abnormalities and finding ways to remedy these abnormalities. Like a curvature of the spine with scoliosis, flat feet come with side effects. A podiatrist will ask you to perform a variety of simple tasks such as standing on one foot, both feet aligned then pushing you slightly to see your reflexes (which foot you use first, how you use it to balance yourself)

Once this is finished, you might be prescribed some specific shoes, insoles or boots. Personally, I find that Podiatrists might recommend expensive products, but find out more about which training and excercise shoes I recommend.

Footwear that is desired for a person with flat feet must have a heightened heel area. You will find that sneakers and skater shoes will bring out the most pain from your flat feet because they are, well, flat shoes. You need something that is elevated at the heel area, such as most black work shoes, boots and quite a few trainers/sneakers.

Specific instructions for the Gym:

When weightlifting with flat feet, you need to pay extra attention when performing a  few excercises. Things such as the squats and calf raise could be performed in a wrong pay, putting extra pressure and load on your ankles and knees, which is something you definitely do not want in the long run. Heard of arthritis? That could results from such pressure on the joints and cartilage.

Use a wider stance for squat, what is called a 'Sumo Squat'. This will help centre your core and should enable you to push more with your glutes. Make sure your back is not rounded and that you go low enough (so that your legs are parallell with the floor at least)

Calf Raises should be done via dumbbells. You hold one on one side and you place the foot for the leg which you want to work the calf on the edge of a solid, immobile surface (such as the spotting platform at the back of benches, stair steps etc) make sure you have something to hold on to with your hand and then simply lower your heel and push up with your toes. Like going on tip toes but with extra weight and focusing on one Calf at a time.

I hope this help you with your flat feet. Feel free to leave a comment on our Facebook page too.