What You Need to Know about Running with Flat Feet
Is running with flat feet painful? So many of our patients want to know the answer to that question. So, here it is: it can be painful to run when you have flat feet. Thankfully, our Louetta Foot and Ankle Specialists team has tools to minimize or eliminate that pain. But before we tell you how we can help, we first need to help you understand this condition.
What are Flat Feet?
When we talk about flat feet, it means your foot has a very low arch. In some cases, the arch will be completely collapsed. Flat feet are normal in children under the age of two. But, after that age, they can cause problems. These include foot and heel pain. People with flat feet also have an increased risk of developing bunions.
You may have inherited your flat feet, or they could be the result of your bones fusing (tarsal coalition.) Most people, however, develop collapsed arches over time. This problem is quite common in women over the age of 40, whose tendons have stretched out as a result of their love for high heel.
With the different causes of flat feet, there are also different kinds: flexible and rigid flat feet. With flexible flat, your arch becomes visible if you take your foot off the ground. It only flattens under the weight of your body, when it touches the floor. Flexible flat feet are usually caused by tendon stretching.
Rigid flat feet, on the other hand, are caused by your bone structure. They will always look flat, either on or off the floor. Most cases of flat feet are flexible, and easy to correct.
When you have flat feet, your weight distributes unevenly as you walk or run. This puts more of a strain on your muscles and ligaments, which is why you often develop foot pain. You’ll also need a bigger shoe budget: people with flat feet tend to wear out their shoes at a faster pace.
Even walking can be painful with flat feet. But running is a bigger problem because of something we call pronation (how your feet roll.)
When you have flat feet, you’re more likely to over-pronate. That means your feet will roll inward more than other people’s feet. And this rolling happens right at the end of each step, just as your feet absorbs the impact of your stride. That means the side of your foot takes on more force, and your foot and ankle joints may be affected.
These physical changes show up in different parts of your body. Your feet, knees, hips and legs may hurt. If you run for a long time, your feet are more likely to swell. And you’ll be more likely to develop shin splints and tendinitis, which is inflammation in your Achilles tendon.
There are so many ways to make running with flat feet easier. Try to maintain a healthy weight, to take extra pressure off your feet. You should also stretch before and after your runs, to help avoid inflammation in your tendons. Physical therapy may also be helpful, teaching you better strides and helping you recover from any existing issues.
We also recommend getting custom orthotics if you’re running with flat feet. When we fit you for these custom shoe inserts, we can help your body make up for it’s missing arch. If you run with your orthotics, you should see the pain and complications disappear!
Recently, our patient Sandra S shared a five-star review of her orthotic experience, saying, “Dr. Amy (at right) was careful to examine my feet even though we were there for orthotics she noticed other items relating to my plantar and offered treatment and exercise options.” We were so happy to help her feet feel better, and glad to offer lifestyle interventions to make running even easier.
At Louetta Foot and Ankle Specialists, we’ve seen the difference orthotics can make in your running and walking experience. And we also know that you may need more than one pair of orthotics. Having two sets can reduce the inconvenience of switching between shoes. You may also need a different type of orthotic for running than for walking, so a second pair could be valuable.
Many insurance companies cover the cost of orthotics, but we also want to help you afford this important treatment for flat feet. So, in the month of September, we’re offering a $100 credit for your second pair of custom orthotics. Contact us to schedule your September orthotic fitting today. We’re following all CDC guidelines in the office to keep you safe while we get you walking comfortably.