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15901 Views 17 Replies Latest reply: Feb 22, 2014 6:09 PM by crl8686 1 2 Previous Next
LStanhope Amateur 18 posts since
Aug 24, 2013
Currently Being Moderated

Jan 20, 2014 9:28 AM

Running With Flat Feet

Does anyone here have any experience with running with fallen arches? I have always had flat feet and it definitely affects how fast and far I can also affects how often I need to buy shoes.


When I was younger I was told that flat feet don't go away, but now I'm hearing otherwise. Likewise, I've also heard that it's possible to "lose" your arches (I'm sure there's a better, medical term for this).


Anyway, I just wanted to know your thoughts on this: have any of you flat-footed runners been able to improve your mileage? What kinds of stretches do you do to help  your feet and ankles? Even if you don't have flat feet, I'd love to hear any thoughts on maintaining the health and flexibility of your feet. Is it true that one could get arches? I imagine there's a limit...

  • ydiez Pro 161 posts since
    Nov 7, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Jan 21, 2014 2:19 AM (in response to LStanhope)
    Running With Flat Feet



    I had a similar problem. I had been running for a long time but only two three times a week and never longer than 10k. After I started running more and more often, I started experiencing all kinds of problems in my feet and ankles. I ended up going to a podiatrist and got insoles made. After that, most of my problems just disapeared and the ones left I can cope with.


    I think I was pretty lucky as my podiatrist is also a serious runner and really knows how to manage "feet problems" for runners. The insoles (which were not cheap) had an inmediate and visible effect, but having a chat with her about running shoes also went a long way to improve my confort when running.

    Current PB:

    5k: 19:53 (December 31st 2014)

    10k : 42:30 (March 9th 2014)

    Half Marathon: 1:32:40 (February 1st 2015)

    Marathon: 3:33:31 (March 15th 2015)

    Completed my first marathon! Feeling like getting some more!

  • Haselsmasher Legend 538 posts since
    May 25, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. Jan 21, 2014 6:41 AM (in response to LStanhope)
    Re: Running With Flat Feet

    I have horribly flat feet.  I used to run in rigid orthotics and motion control shoes.  My podiatrist at the time said I needed all this support and control to deal with the fact I had such flat feet and wanted to run.  My current podiatrist (long story) says "The foot was meant to move.  Let it move and let it get strong."  He'll, depending on the injury/situation, use orthotics *temporarily* to provide support - like when you put an arm in a cast or a sling - to help tissues heal.  But he then very much wants you to get out of the orthotics to let the foot move.


    I now run in relatively minimal shoes (not Vibram class shoes - but I've done some running in shoes similar to those.  I run now in Brooks Pure Connect.)


    I think, as a society, we assume flat feet are a problem when, in most cases, they're not.  At a very summary level I think there are four things which had the biggest impact on me being able to run with less:

    *  Strengthen your hips.  The strength of your hips has a huge impact on the forces your feet have to deal with.

    *  Make sure you're running with a fast cadence and short steps.  (I don't think we need to get hung up on the exact foot strike.  The intent is short steps and quick cadence.) 

    *  Walk barefoot.  Outside.  It does wonders for nerve and muscle stimulation.

    *  Loosen up the calves.  Foam roller - not stretching.  More and more (as I understand it) people are finding stretching just isn't effective.  The calves have a huge impact on the state of the feet.


    Good luck!



    "Kick off your high heel sneakers, it's party time."

    -- From the song FM by Steely Dan

  • dgmiter Rookie 1 posts since
    Nov 1, 2013
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Jan 29, 2014 8:35 AM (in response to LStanhope)
    Running With Flat Feet

    I too have horribly flat feet.  Out of the gate came into all sorts of IT band, Hamstring pulls and problems.  I switched shoes out to more neutral ones and got some good rigid inserts that were recommended by my DR.  I amgetting some orthotics that should also aid with my running going forward.  From what I have seen and done, Strengthening the hips = great idea.  Strengthening cavs, legs in general = also good idea.  Stretching AND rolling both pre and post activity.  Ice also a good idea.


    Keep at it, mix in some cross training to work on muscle groups.


    Best of luck !!



  • shipo Legend 499 posts since
    Aug 9, 2013
    Currently Being Moderated
    4. Jan 29, 2014 8:45 AM (in response to dgmiter)
    Re: Running With Flat Feet

    Keep in mind that pre-run or pre-workout stretching has fallen very much out of favor these days.  Many of us, me included, figured out long ago that pre-run strecthing was just a good way to get injured instead of the other way around.  I'm thinking the last time I stretched out before a run was back in the early 1980s.

    Fat old man PRs:

    • 1-mile (point to point, gravity assist): 5:50
    • 2-mile: 13:49
    • 5K (gravity assist last mile): 21:31
    • 5-Mile: 37:24
    • 10K (first 10K of my Half Marathon): 48:16
    • 10-Mile (first 10 miles of my Half Marathon): 1:17:40
    • Half Marathon: 1:42:13
  • Irishwolfhound Rookie 3 posts since
    Jan 5, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. Jan 29, 2014 10:48 AM (in response to LStanhope)
    Running With Flat Feet

    I have flat feet too and have had orthodics made, which is pricey and they do wear out eventually. Couldn't at the time to get new ones I stopped wearing them all together without issue for years.  Went to a podiatrist two years ago due to an ankle issue, thought maybe I need the orthodics again. Had a broken cartiledge in the ankle, now healed. The podiatrist though checked my feet out, i am flat footed and provided me with shoe inserts. They were $30 bucks for the 3/4 length. Find them comfortable, and i have no issues i'll be running my first half marathon in April and do not expect issues. I find i stretch more than others i see that run, but I find I need to for everything below the knee down through the foot.

    I can't remember the brand name, you should get checked out by a professional before you do anything.

    I have tried the inserts you see by any shoe department but none fit well.

  • Haselsmasher Legend 538 posts since
    May 25, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    8. Jan 30, 2014 10:55 AM (in response to LStanhope)
    Re: Running With Flat Feet

    I've seen reports of people whose arches have returned and also those that have continued to have flat feet - no matter what they do.  In my opinion it really doesn't matter - at all.  There are certainly barefoot runners who have flat feet and never develop any arch and have no problems.  (I'm not advocating barefoot running per se.  What I'm saying is there are people who have flat feet and require nothing in the form of external support.)


    In my case I got rid of my orthotics ~5 years ago or so.  90+% of my house is hardwood floor and when I'm home I go barefoot 100% of the time.  When it's warm out I run barefoot occasionally (real barefoot - not with "barefoot shoes" - ugh - I can't stand that term) just to exercise my feet a little bit more and clean up any form issues I might find.  I've seen an arch KIND OF return in one foot and the other is flat as a pancake.


    What matters is whether one is having pain/issues.  The arch may or may not come back.



    "Kick off your high heel sneakers, it's party time."

    -- From the song FM by Steely Dan

  • Spishy Rookie 1 posts since
    Mar 26, 2013
    Currently Being Moderated
    9. Feb 5, 2014 6:18 AM (in response to LStanhope)
    Running With Flat Feet

    I have a flat right foot and discovered it as I was having hip pain and ankle pain when running.  The podiatrist determined I have Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction.  Essentially the tendon that supports the arch was slack causing the flat foot.  This was actually caused by years of ballet dancing.  I had custom orthotics made which do help tremendously as they support the arch and keep my foot from turning in to compensate eliminating the hip pain.  Another major thing that helps is KT taping.  I tape the arch and ankle area for extra support while running and it keeps it in place. After running use a tennis ball or something like that to massage the bottom of the foot. 


    Good luck!

  • Kaydee243 Rookie 1 posts since
    Nov 24, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    10. Feb 5, 2014 7:02 AM (in response to LStanhope)
    Running With Flat Feet

    I highly recommend Superfeet insoles -- I use the Berry color.  I've always had low arches, but my left arch fell after my 2nd marathon.  I was unable to run without pain for several months until I got the Superfeet insoles.  I also switched to Hoka One One running shoes (got them on clearance on running warehouse!).  My knees don't knock anymore and I have no foot or ankle pain.  I'm back to running 25 miles a week only a few weeks after getting the new shoes/insoles.

  • sara01 Rookie 2 posts since
    Jun 28, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    11. Feb 5, 2014 7:43 AM (in response to LStanhope)
    Running With Flat Feet

    I know how Fred Flintstone feet feel! I am 49 and have been running steadily for past 8 years, off and on since age 13.  My left foot arch sunk to new lows after marathon training - primarily because of road running against traffic, very common.  My problem was also w/ the tendon at the arch. My podiatrist, also a runner/tri guy, instructed no running for 6 weeks, although I was able to ride, swim and do non impact w/ elliptical, low incline.  My doc's take is quite a bit different and perhaps more traditional medicine than the other posts - he is not a fan at all of minimal shoes!  He put me in a moderate shoe - nothing way heavy duty, with Superfeet.   He had me go to every sporting & running store in town to try different types of inserts before going to a prescription type.  I like the Superfeet and I use them with a Mizuno Wave Rider 9 - just updated to the 10 and I don't like the 10, so trying to round up more 9s.  I believe the Brooks Ravenna would work, too. I also tape w/ tencil (not sure of spelling) athletic tape - this worked better than the KT for me, but I know people swear by the KT.  My tape holds better on that part of my foot & is less $$. Finally, I use a ball or roller.  I started training again in late summer at short distances and low speed, worked upward and have completed 3 half marathons without any pain. I'll do another half in a week, as well as a long relay race & 30 K trail, but have opted to not do a road 26 until late next fall. I am so afraid of jinxing myself!  If you hurt, take time to heal - I had a setback and got very tired of the stupid elliptical, but rest was probably the best medicine. Good luck!

  • runazrun Amateur 16 posts since
    Sep 10, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    12. Feb 5, 2014 10:01 AM (in response to LStanhope)
    Running With Flat Feet

    I have flat feet as well and bunions to boot.  When I was 25 a podiatrist told me I had the feet of an old man.  However this has never caused a problem for me.  I have run 20+ marathons, 2 ironman triathlons and countless shorter races including all of the training that goes with them.  I buy the best fitting shoes that I can find on the sale table, regardless of motion control/cushion/support and never us orthotics/inserts.  Don't know why it has never been an issue for me but it hasn't.  It could be that as a stay at home dad I spend the large majority of my day without shoes on.  Also I'm fairly thin so there is no extra weight on my feet.

  • filby5 Rookie 1 posts since
    Aug 9, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    13. Feb 5, 2014 1:40 PM (in response to LStanhope)
    Running With Flat Feet

    I've been flat-footed since I was born. The wet foot print on a summer sidewalk? Mine is simply a stamp of the entire area of my foot, side-to-side, the entire width of the foot leaves a trace - no arch.


    I once bought motion-control shoes or stability shoes on the advice of certain running stores and well-intended sales folk. It was an improvement, so I believed it to be best and kept on doing so. I'm 6'1" & anywhere from 170-185. I've always felt like my running style should automatically qualify me for clydesdale class in races, because that's what I felt like when I ran.


    Then during the minimalist shoe craze, I found a fire sale on Innov-8 shoes. Normally expensive shoes were available for 1/2 the price of my normal motion-control shoes at a time when I really needed to save the $$$. I had nothing to lose. This isn't a recommendation necessarily for this particular brand, but this is a shoe company that believes in a running style, and so I tried it. I'll never turn back.


    I still buy the maximum minimalist shoe (it's a minimal running shoe, but the model with the most heel), but I have learned to run 'forward', on the balls of my feet & toes at all times - no more heel striking. It took 4-6 weeks to adjust to, and during that time, my pace suffered, but once past re-learning my running style, I improved my pace drastically (which was exhilirating - I have always been doggedly slow).


    No foot pain, no ankle pain, no shin splints, no knee issues. Stronger legs, better balance, and I feel great when I run. Any distance. During good weather, I do anywhere from 8-12 miles routinely for training and thanks to improved foot strength, I get tired before I get hurt.


    I can't swear it will work for everyone, and if you do try it, it does require patience. Good luck with your choice.

  • MotionShoe Rookie 5 posts since
    Feb 11, 2014
    Currently Being Moderated
    14. Feb 12, 2014 7:51 AM (in response to LStanhope)
    Running With Flat Feet

    As you can see from this post, everyone is unique. I think the consesus is saying make sure your doing other things and not just focusing on what shoe to buy. Strenthen your feet, whether that be through exercise or walking barefoot. work on your hips and legs as well. Find the right running style or technique(shorter strides tend to work better for foot pain)


    having Flat feet is not always bad. If you do use minimalist shoes just ease your way into them. Those style shoes will require more muscle in the foot to be used and you dont want to overdue it right away. Try out different styles and use what works best for you!

    Shoe Effecianado | Father | Husband | Runner

    Motion Shoe Lab

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