WHAT ARE FLAT FEET?
Flat feet are the weakening of the muscles of the feet and falling of the longitudinal and transverse arches of the feet.
Our feet adapt to our shoes and our muscles weaken over time as we become more dependent on shoes.
CYCLE OF WEAKENING MUSCLES OF THE FEET:
Slightly Weak muscles > Supportive Shoes > Increase Weakening Muscles > Orthotics > Increase in Injuries = Dependency on Orthotics and Supportive Shoes = Flat Feet.
You have the potential to improve your feet and restore some of the natural structure and strength.
STEPS TO RESTORE STRUCTURE AND STRENGTH:
- Stay away from orthotics. If you have been wearing them consistently, start reducing your use by removing them from your shoes for an hour every day, for 4 days. Progress to two hours less per day for 4 days, three hours less per day for 4 days, etc, until you no longer need to wear them at all.
- Try to wear shoes that are minimalist in structure with no arch support so your feet are forced to work (examples of these shoes: Nike Free, Vivo Barefoot Gobi, Merrell Barefoot Run Vapor Glove, Vibram Five Fingers, New Balance Minimus Line, etc).
- Spend as much time as humanly possible in your bare feet.
- Exercise your feet:
- > Toe Spreads – sit, stand or lie down and fan your toes out as wide as possible.
- > Place a hand towel by the couch and use your toes to scrunch the towel up into a ball.
- > Heel raises in 3 positions- toes pointing forward, inward and outward. Do this 10 times each.
- > Stand on your tippy toes and walk around for 5 minutes- strengthens your ligaments of your feet.
- > Walk in sand. Sand is never the same so walking barefoot forces your foot to adapt and thus strengthen.
- Visit your local RMT to loosen those tight calves and legs. Especially if you are prone to plantar fasciitis or shin splints it is necessary to get the trigger points released in your calves.
Don’t rush into these changes as you can cause more damage. Start with walking around your house barefoot, then exercise your feet. Eventually you can try toe running for 5 minutes on a treadmill.
Follow this plan to restore the strength and structure to your flat feet.