how to run with flat feet

How To Run The Extra Mile With Flat Feet?

How To Run With Flat Feet

Do your feet often get sore when you run? Or have you recently started to notice that your knees and ankles are getting easily sore after workouts?

Before you head out for that next run around the block, take a moment to stop and reflect on just what could be bothering your feet. Maybe you’ve just discovered that you have flat feet, which can be problematic for your body; if not careful, your flat feet can contribute to issues such as injury and chronic pain when moving.

However, before you throw in the towel on your running career, know that having flat feet isn’t the end of the world when it comes to doing the sport you love.

In this article, we are here to help you figure out how to run with flat feet.By taking these tips into consideration, you’ll hopefully be able to get a better idea of how to take care of your feet while continuing to run at the same time. Let’s get started!

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What you need for your flat feet

Before getting started with helping your flat feet with running, you’ll need a few required materials for doing so. Below is a quick list of items you will need when starting this regimen:

For the wet feet test:

  • Shallow, rectangular bucket
  • Some water
  • ​Flat paper towel, about foot’s length or more
  • ​Running shoes
  • ​Orthotics
  • Smooth, even ground
  • A towel

In the next section of this article, we’ll demonstrate how to use each of these objects on the list for helping your flat feet.

Step-by-step tutorial

1. Take the wet test.

In order to see if you have flat feet or not (or how flat your feet really are), you can take an easy test to do so. Known as the “wet test,” it’ll show you the shape and curve of your arch which in the end will help you determine how you can go about caring for your flat feet.

  • 1. Start by pouring the water into the shallow, rectangular bucket.
  • 2. Lay out a piece of paper towel right next to the bucket filled with water, making sure that the towel is big enough to cover your entire feet.
  • ​3. Slowly lower your foot into the water-filled bucket; you’ll only need to get the bottom of your foot wet, but it’s fine should you choose to fully submerge your feet underwater.
  • ​4. Pull out your foot, now wet, and carefully drag it over to the paper towel next to the bucket.
  • ​5. Place your foot down on the paper towel and press firmly, holding for a few seconds. Carefully release it afterward.
  • 6. Examine your footprint

To determine if you have flat feet, look at the arch design, which is located in the center of the foot. If you see that it’s all filled out, then that means you are, indeed, flatfooted. In other words, you have low arches that complete or nearly touches the ground upon impact.

Other foot types, including medium and high arches, would show imprints of the foot’s center with a reasonably filled out arch or little to none at all, respectively.

For a demonstration of the wet test, check out this video here: 

II. Buy good running shoes.

Now that you know that you have flat feet and how your arches are, it’s now time to purchase some good running shoes. When buying them, it isn’t a matter of getting the highest quality, most expensive ones for your feet; each person’s body type is different, and so finding a custom fit is the best way to go about it.

When looking for running shoes for flat feet, consider these important factors:

  • Get brand new shoes. They should not already be broken into and be in top shape. Typically, running shoes should be switched out every 300 to 500 miles, so getting them when they’re fresh will help you start off your workouts well.
  • Check for a stable heel. To prevent your heel from taking most of the impact on runs, opt for a running shoe that has a heel that’s firm, but not too hard, as it’ll need to bounce a little to cushion the impact of exercise.
  • Solid support for arches. Since the arches are the most important part of your foot for stability, try to find shoes that already have built-in arch support; look for shoes that have a noticeable inward curve in the middle, as this is where your arch will be molded into when wearing them.

If necessary, you can also wear orthotics to give your feet extra support for running. Wearing these inserts will prevent injuries from happening to the foot and the ankles, so it wouldn’t be a bad idea to consult your doctor about getting these for your shoes.

​For more information on giving your feet good support for running, check out our previous article : "How To Get The Best Insoles For Flat Feet" & "How To Find The Best Knee Brace For Running"

For a guide on how to choose running shoes for flat feet, check out this video: 

III. Avoid uneven surfaces.

While it might feel like it takes pressure off your body’s joints, running on uneven surfaces such as grass, sand, and dirt trails can make your feet over-pronate, which consequently leads to added stress on your knees and ankles.

Such unstable surfaces can also cause injuries such as strained muscles and even sprained ankles, if not careful.

With that said, do your best to find flat, even surfaces such as concrete or asphalt to run on for your next workout.

IV. Rebuild your arches.

Get some definition in your arches by doing some raise-up exercises. Here’s one that you can do:

  • 1. Take a seat in a chair. Place a cloth towel right in front of the chair, right next to your foot.
  • 2. Place one of your feet directly on the towel. In a slow, controlled manner, curl your toes towards you while trying to gather a good amount of the towel with them.
  • 3. Release and repeat for a total of ten times.

For a demonstration of this exercise, check it out here: 

Take away message (Conclusion)

As a dedicated runner, having flat feet can be a problem not only for your body’s health but also on how you enjoy the sport itself. However, by taking measures to alleviate or otherwise prevent pain and injuries from happening (e.g. buying good shoes, avoiding uneven surfaces, strengthening your arches), you can continue to run to your heart’s (or foot’s) desire!

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