Flat feet are common, occurring in almost 20 percent of the population. If you have them, you likely already know that they can really hurt your ability to workout, or at least workout as effectively as you could be. In this video, I cover 5 ways that flat feet can destroy your workouts and provide you with two exercises for flat feet that you can start doing right away.
A flat foot comes from having a fallen arch or lack of a normal arch in your foot. The cause is not exactly known but can come from overall ligament laxity, a weak posterior tibialis muscle, or even congenital or hereditary contributions. There are certainly a host of problems that you’ll experience when working out at your feet, but the bigger issues are those that occur further up the kinetic chain that really cause problems.
When your arch collapses, your heel kicks out or everts which causes the tibia to internally rotate or fall inward. This causes a torque at the knee as well as the hip and creates muscle adaptations and shortness that can lead to many other issues in the back and other areas of the kinetic chain.
As you can imagine, having flat feet can cause normal exercises to become much more challenging. Squats for instance can be really challenging to perform properly if you have fallen arches. With a much harder time keeping your knees tracking outward because of the internal rotation at the hip, you will struggle to keep proper alignment and form during the squat exercise.
When you become more explosive and try to run or jump, the problems with flat feet become even more pronounced. With the impaired ability of the foot to absorb shock, every landing from a jump can send shockwaves up through the kinetic chain into the knees, hip and back. Likewise, with a poor ability to transform the foot into a rigid lever, the body loses it’s ability to run explosively and fast. Sprinters attempting to run with flat feet are almost always going to find it much more of a struggle to compete against runners with normal feet.
Two exercises are shown to help build up the strength of the posterior tibialis muscle (which acts as a supporting sling for the arch when adequately strong) and the intrinsic muscles of the arch. You can perform each of these exercises two to three times per week to try and slowly build up the strength and endurance of the muscles of your feet.
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