• Running Limitless

"Flat Foot "All You Need To Know

Let start with the good news: if you have flat feet you can still be a very successful runner.

You can manage to run free of injury for a long time if you put the right attention to your training, your warning signs, and especially your footwear.

Flat Foot: What is it

The arch of the foot is formed by the tarsal and metatarsal bones and strengthened by ligaments and tendons. This allows the foot to support the weight of the body in the erect posture with the least weight.

The arch height of the foot can easily be known by using the wet feet test. The height of the arch determines pronation(impact absorbing capability) and foot type.

People with a Low arch than normal do not have a distinct curve along the inside of the foot. The imprint taken in a wet test may nearly show the entire foot. Insufficiently expressed arches are called low or fallen arches, this low arch foot makes you more prone to injuries while running.

The term flat feet applies to the arch which is touching the ground completely.

What causes flat feet and what can you do about it?

  • Genetics

  • Weak arches

  • Injuries

  • Rheumatoid arthritis

  • Dysfunction, rupturing, or damage to the posterior tibial tendon

  • Nervous system or muscular diseases

  • Collapsed arches cause flat feet and happen because of muscle weakness. This can be helped, but your feet might need arch support until they get stronger.

If you have flat feet due to muscle weakness, there are some simple stretches and exercises you can do at home to help strengthen the muscles in your feet.

Tennis Ball Rolls

Put a tennis ball under one foot, sit straight up, and roll the ball under the arch of your foot for two to three minutes. Repeat on the opposite foot.

Heel Raises

Stand and lift your heels as high as you can using a chair or wall for balance. Hold the position for five seconds then lower heels back down to the floor.

Do two to three sets of 15-20 raises.

Tower Curls

Sit with a towel under one foot and scrunch the towel up with your toes. Make sure to keep the ball of your foot on the floor.

Do two to three sets of 15-20 towel curls.

Toe Yoga

Lift your big toe up while pressing the others down and hold for five seconds. Then lift your four toes up while holding your big toe down and hold for five seconds. Repeat on the other foot.

Those with anatomically flat feet have more stress on knees which leads to knee problems. The reason for this is flat feet can cause misalignment of the lower body causing the shin and thigh bones to twist inwards.

Put in extra care in choosing the best running shoe

Your foot arch is your natural shock absorption system. Nature designed it so that when you put your body weight over your feet the shock is absorbed by this mechanism in order to alleviate the impact (and subsequent injuries) that would otherwise hit your feet, ankles, knees, and hips.

A flat foot is the most visible sign of overpronation, meaning that your arch collapses during the impact on the ground. As a consequence, your ankle twists inward and your knees overcompensate.

Flat feet are a particular concern for runners, as during the running gait the arch is supposed to support on average 3 times their body weight.

Some common injuries from overpronation include:

  • Low back pain

  • Shin Splints

  • Bunions

  • Knee pain

  • Plantar Fasciitis

  • Achilles Tendonitis

  • Hip pain

So look for shoes that have a straight “last”, which determines the shape of the shoe. A straight last is designed to be motion control shoes and will provide you with stability.

Tips for running with flat feet


Stretching is important, it will strengthen you and make you flexible. Warm-up and cool down before you run to help keep injuries away.

If you still experience pain even after wearing the right shoes, consider custom orthotics. See a local podiatrist who will assess your feet and set you up with custom inserts if needed. Custom orthotics are specifically designed to the specifications of your feet and provide you with stability.

Remember to replace the shoes before they wear out and the midsole breaks down. Once the midsole wears out, you will not receive the same about of stability and you could end up overpronating. In turn, this can cause injuries and pain.

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