How to strengthen flat feet for running

4 Tips for Running With Flat Feet

By Deer Creek Foot Care

How to strengthen flat feet for running

The arches of your feet are crucial for supporting your weight while you’re running. Some people have shallow arches—often called flat feet—that can lead to discomfort after an extended run. You don’t have to give up the activity, however. Making a few changes can help you avoid sports injuries and continue to stay in shape.

How to Run With Flat Feet

1. Stick to Level Surfaces

People with flat arches naturally turn their feet outward when they run. This will cause the legs to twist inward when you’re running up or downhill and will create significant stress on the knee and ankle joints, which often results in sports injuries. Try to stick to level running surfaces whenever possible.

2. Purchase Custom Shoe Inserts

How to strengthen flat feet for runningIf you’re a dedicated runner, your first move should be having a foot doctor fit you for custom shoe inserts, called orthotics. They are shaped to your foot and will provide optimal support in any running shoe. It’s important to purchase directly from a foot doctor since custom products will fit much better than over-the-counter insoles.

3. Strengthen Your Arches

You’ll want to add foot exercises to your workout regimen. Strengthening your arches will help better support your weight, and you can do these exercises virtually anywhere. Stand with your feet aligned with your hips. Roll forward, lifting your arches as high as you can. Return to a flat stand and repeat.

You can also curl your toes under and out and roll your arches over a tennis ball—an exercise that will also strengthen your ankles. If you’ve experienced previous sports injuries, ask your podiatrist about preferred exercises.

4. Run Barefoot

Running barefoot is a great way to build arch strength and avoid injury. Not wearing shoes allows your foot to fall in its natural form, making it much easier for even flat feet to support the body. Just make sure you’re running on a clean, flat surface, such as an indoor track.

Whether you’re dealing with sports injuries or want to explore custom shoe inserts, Dr. Warren Trampe and the team at Deer Creek Foot Care will help. This O’Fallon, MO, practice treats a variety of foot disorders, including hammertoe, bunions, and ankle fractures. They’ll create a custom treatment plan and ensure you have the physical therapy to recover fully. Call (636) 240-1127 to schedule an exam and visit their website to explore their full scope of work. You can also subscribe to their Facebook page to receive more foot care tips.

Wharton’s Simple Solution No. 11

The foot is an intricate network of bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles. What is typically referred to as “the arch” is the medial arch, running front to back on the inner half of the foot. But there are actually two other lesser-known arches: the lateral arch, running along the outside of the foot front to back, and the metatarsal arch, which runs across the foot left to right. The following exercises help isolate and strengthen all of these crucial arches.

How to strengthen flat feet for running


Sit on a chair so that your knees are at an approximate 90-degree angle with your feet on the ground. You’ll need a smooth floor so that the towel will glide easily.

Phase 1, strengthening your medial arch, was discussed in the July issue.

Phase 2, strengthening your pronators: Straighten the length of the towel and turn it sideways. If you are starting with your right foot, the majority of the towel will be to the left of your foot. Put your heel on the towel. Starting with your big toe, contract all your toes to tightly draw up the towel and sweep it across the midline of your body left to right. Without moving your heel, continue to gather and sweep the towel across the floor in front of you until you have done 10 repetitions or run out of towel. Complete two sets of 10 with each foot. As you become more proficient, begin adding a light weight to the end of the towel, gradually increasing weight over time.

Phase 3, strengthening your supinators: Straighten out the towel, but leave it sideways. If you are starting with your right foot, the majority of the towel will be to the right of your foot. Keep your heel on the towel. Starting with your little toe, contract all your toes to tightly bunch the towel toward you and sweep right to left. The mental imagery to use is that you’re bringing the little toe under the foot to meet the big toe, and you’re going under the floor to do it in a U-shaped arc. Without moving your heel, continue to gather and sweep the towel until you have done 10 repetitions or run out of towel. Complete two sets of 10 for each foot. As you become more proficient, begin adding a light weight to the end of the towel, gradually increasing weight over time.

Lack of the arch in the foot is a pronation deviation that occurs for one in four individuals in the United States. The study has shown that more than 30% of people in the U. S. have such pronation problem, commonly known, as flat feet. A small percentage of the population suffers from hereditary flat feet , but most of it is developed as a result of mistreating the foot. Flat feet means that the bottom of the foot is in complete contact with the ground. This pronation deviation is caused by weakening the leg muscles because of injury or wearing inappropriate or unsupportive footwear (of course, if it isn’t a genetic peculiarity).

How to strengthen flat feet for running

So can flat feet be corrected? Of course, it can be! Even if you have flat feet, don’t let that bother you as you can cure flat feet and its negative consequences on your ability to walk, run and engage in different sporting activities with foot stretching and special corrective exercises. Here are 5 exercises to correct flat feet and say goodbye to foot pain forever. But, in addition, don`t forget to wear the right shoes for flat feet to support the arch and protect your feet from the increased injury risk. See top cross training shoes for flat feet reviews in 2018 and find your perfect footwear on TheCrossfitShoes.

1. Heel Separation. Such exercise as heel separation helps you strengthen several of the lower leg muscles that provide support to the arch. So it shows you how to strengthen flat feet and stretch the foot spending just five minutes a day. This exercise can be performed in different variations, for example, you may do it sitting or standing, it doesn’t really matter. Well sitting down on a chair or standing up with hands placed on the wall for balance. Put your feet together and start to raise your heels while keeping your toes touching the floor. Do this exercise slowly – back and forth. Complete two sets of 15 repetitions for each foot.

How to strengthen flat feet for running

2. Ball Roll Exercise. One of the best and most effective exercises for flat feet is the ball roll exercise. It helps to stretch the area where your arch should be. For this exercise you need a small ball, it can be a tennis ball. Hold on to something to balance the body weight. Put your right heel on the small ball while touching your toes on the floor. After several minutes of performing this (don’t forget to breathe in and out), roll the ball towards the toes trying to make your heel contact the floor. Then shift the ball to the left foot. Complete this exercise for 1 minute at a time on each foot. Complete one set of 5 repetitions.

How to strengthen flat feet for running

3. Short Foot Exercise. To strengthen your arches you should certainly try this excellent exercise. It focuses on the small muscles that support the arch on the underside of your foot. Its essence lies in sliding the forefoot along the floor towards the heel. Thus, you shorten the distance between the ball of the foot and the heel. But while doing it, don’t let your toes separate the floor. If you perform this exercise correctly, your foot and heel remain in contact with the floor, you raise just your arch. Hold the position for 5 to 10 seconds. Complete one set of 10 repetitions for each foot.

How to strengthen flat feet for running

4. Standing Stretch. If you want to prevent the collapse of the arch and your control foot pronation, you have to stretch the calf muscles. Stand up looking at a wall and step the leg to be stretched behind you. Your toes should be pointed straight forward. Keep the knee of the back leg straight and lunge forward onto your front leg until a stretch is felt in the calf muscles of the back leg. Hold this position 30 seconds. Complete this exercise one set of 10 repetitions.

How to strengthen flat feet for running

5. Toe Gymnastics. Don’t underestimate the muscles that control your toes. They also can affect your pronation deviation and it will be better to use them for improving it. Let’s start… Press the big toe down while lifting the other four toes up. Hold the fixed position for 5 seconds. Then press the four toes down while raising your big toe up. Hold for 5 seconds again. Complete 2 sets of 10 repetitions.

How to strengthen flat feet for running

These useful foot exercises can really help you to correct your flat feet and forget about foot pain and discomfort. Performing them regularly can improve the ligaments and strengthen every part of your foot.

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How to strengthen flat feet for running

Why foot exercises matter

Keeping your feet strong and flexible can help reduce foot and ankle pain, reduce muscle soreness, improve your overall foot health, and keep you active.

Exercises that improve range of motion and help limber up your feet may reduce your chance of getting hurt. Slow and gentle stretches will improve your flexibility. Strength exercises will allow your muscles to provide better support and protection for your foot as a whole.

You can do these gentle stretching and strengthening exercises three days per week or as often as every day to increase your range of motion and strength for lifelong foot health and vitality.

If your feet and ankles ache a lot, if you have any injuries, or if you have arthritis or diabetes, be sure to check with your doctor or physical therapist before you start doing any of these exercises. Depending on your needs, your doctor may add other exercises or take away some of the ones listed here.

How to strengthen flat feet for running

This three-part exercise will start to get your toes and feet moving.

  1. Sit in a straight-backed chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Keep your toes flat on the ground and raise your heels until only the balls of your feet and toes touch the ground. Hold for five seconds.
  3. Point your toes so that only the ends of your big and second toes touch the ground. Hold for five seconds.
  4. Keep your heel off the ground and roll your toes under so that that tops of your toes touch the ground. Hold for five seconds.
  5. Repeat each position 10 times.

How to strengthen flat feet for running

This movement will help you gain control over your toe muscles.

  1. Sit in a straight-backed chair with your feet gently resting on the floor.
  2. Spread all your toes apart as far as comfortable. Hold for five seconds.
  3. Repeat 10 times.

You can make this exercise harder by looping a rubber band around the toes of each foot.

This stretch is good to prevent or treat plantar fasciitis, which causes heel pain.

  1. Sit in a straight-backed chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Pick one foot up and place it on your opposite thigh.
  3. Grab your toes with one hand and pull them up toward your ankle until you feel a stretch along the bottom of your foot and in your heel cord.
  4. Massage the arch of your foot with your other hand during the stretch. Hold for 10 seconds.
  5. Repeat 10 times on each foot.

This exercise will strengthen the muscles on the top of your feet and toes.

  1. Sit in a straight-backed chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Lay a kitchen towel or hand towel on the floor in front of you so the short end is at your feet.
  3. Put the toes of one foot on the end of the towel, and scrunch your toes so you pull the towel toward you.
  4. Repeat five times with each foot.

You can increase the difficulty of this exercise by placing a small weight (like a can of soup) on the far end of the towel.

This exercise will strengthen the muscles on the bottom of your feet and toes.

  1. Sit in a straight-backed chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Place 20 marbles and a small bowl on the floor in front of you.
  3. Pick up one marble at a time with your toes and place it in the bowl. Use one foot to pick up all 20 marbles.
  4. Repeat with the other foot.

Keep good range of motion in your big toe with this three-part stretch. It feels good after having your feet crammed in dress shoes all day.

  1. Sit in a straight-backed chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Pick one foot up and place it on your opposite thigh.
  3. Gently use your fingers to stretch your big toe up, down, and to the side away from the other toes. Hold the stretch in each direction for five seconds.
  4. Repeat 10 times in each direction.
  5. Repeat with the opposite foot.

Rolling the bottom of your foot on a hard ball can ease arch pain and treat plantar fasciitis.

  1. Sit in a straight-backed chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Place a tennis ball on the floor near your feet.
  3. Put your foot on top of the tennis ball and roll it around, massaging the bottom of your foot.
  4. Increase or decrease pressure as needed.
  5. Roll for two minutes on each foot.

You can also use a frozen bottle of water if you don’t have any tennis balls handy.

The cord that runs up your heel into your calf muscles is called the Achilles tendon. Keeping it flexible can prevent foot, ankle, and leg pain.

  1. Stand facing a wall, with arms outstretched and palms on the wall.
  2. Place one foot back behind you with knee straight, and bend the knee on your other leg.
  3. Adjust your stance so that both heels are flat on the floor.
  4. Lean forward from the hips until you feel a stretch in your Achilles tendon and calf muscle.
  5. Adjust your stance if necessary to feel the pull while keeping your heels on the floor.
  6. To feel the stretch in a different place, bend the back knee slightly and push your hips forward.
  7. Hold the stretches for 30 seconds each and repeat three times.
  8. Switch legs and repeat.

Walking barefoot through sand strengthens and stretches your feet and toes and gives a great calf workout. Walking in sand is more tiring than walking on hard paths, so make sure you turn around before you’ve worn yourself out.

  1. Find some sand — for example, at a beach, desert, or volleyball court.
  2. Take off your shoes and socks.
  3. Walk.

If you do these foot stretches and strengthening exercises regularly, your feet will thank you. The stiffness and aches will subside. The exercises can relieve your heel and arch pain, and even prevent hammertoes and stop toe cramps.

Before you start doing your foot exercises, warm up a little bit. Walk around the house for a few minutes or ride a stationary bike. You just want to get some blood flowing before you stretch your tendons, ligaments, and muscles.

These exercises and stretches shouldn’t be painful. Be gentle with yourself. You could be pressing too hard on the tennis ball or stretching too far. Ease up a bit.

If it still hurts, stop the exercise and talk to your doctor or physical therapist about how to proceed. If any of the instructions aren’t clear or if they don’t seem to be helping your problem, call your doctor for some guidance.

How to strengthen flat feet for running

As a runner, you should realize by now that strength training is part and parcel of your training program.

And if you are already mindful of your muscles, then congratulations!

Keep up the good work.

But, I still have a question: “Do you do any sort of feet strength training?”

If your answer is no, then, buddy, you are missing out, big time.

The Benefits of Feet Strength Training

Each foot has roughly 20 muscles, and the main ones are: the anterior tibial, the peroneal tibial, the posterior tibial, the flexors, and the extensors.

Your feet has also 26 bones (25 percent of all bones in the human body are in the feet), 33 joints, and more than 80 tendons and ligaments.

How to strengthen flat feet for running

We use our feet to stand, walk, run and perform almost every other athletic movement from squatting, balancing, jumping, etc.

And truth be told, they can make or break us as runners.

So, it should come as no surprise that the feet are the most used and abused part of the body.

Not only that, any dysfunction or imbalance in the musculature structure of the feet may hinder full range of motion and interfere with a normal running gait, which, sooner or later, can lead to overuse injuries.

Some of the injuries include Achilles Tendinitis, chronic ankle sprains, knee pain/injury, even lower back pains and aches.

Nevertheless, as a runner, you can minimize the risks of injury by following a regular feet strength training program.

In fact, the foot region needs strength training like much the rest of another muscle group.

Furthermore, ensuring good strength in the feet will not only help you avoid injury, but it can also boost your running speed, power, and mobility.

Runners Overlook Them

The bad news is most strength-conscious runners overlook the importance of good foot strength training.

That’s why today, dear reader, I decided to share with you one of my favorite foot strength training routines.

Yes, think feet curls, feet presses, feet push-ups (is there such a thing? Well, keep on reading to find out).

This routine will definitely help you improve your foundation of intrinsic foot strength.

The Lower Body Exercises You Need

Without further ado, here are the exercises you need.

Feel free to perform them at least two to three times a week.

1. Shin Curls

While using a step or a box, stand while assuming an athletic position with the toes hanging off the edge as much as you feel comfortable.

Next, curl your toes and foot up toward your shin as high as possible without rocking backward, hold the dorsiflexed position for a moment, then slowly lower your toes to the starting position to complete one rep.

2. Single Leg Balance

Stand with feet hip-width apart, with the core engaged, back flat, and both hands are resting gently on your sides.

Next, lift your left leg straight toward the 12 o’clock position and balance on your right leg.

If you have any balance issues, then feel free to use a wall or a stable chair for more assistance.

For more challenge, try swinging the lifted leg forward and back, from the 12 o’clock to 6 o’clock, so and so forth, or balance on a balance disc or a seat cushion.

3. Heel Walking

Lift up both your feet, then pace the whole length of the room by walking slowly on your heels.

Make sure that you are on your heels the entire time.

For more, keep your toes pointed forward.

4. Toe Presses

Assume an athletic position with a slight bend in the knees.

Next, lift your toes off the ground then flex the foot (pull the ankle back towards your shin), hold the contraction for a count of three, then release it slowly to the ground.

You can do this exercise while standing tall or while sitting.

5. Toe Curls

Start by placing a towel on the floor, then spread your toes like a fan, then grip the object and pull it toward you.

Repeat 8 to 10 times, then work the other foot.

6. Calf Raises

Begin by standing in a shoulder-width stance with the toes flat on the edge of a step or a box, near a doorway or a counter, then hold on light for balance.

Next, raise up by pushing your toes into the step, hold for a count of three, then lower your back to the starting position.

You’ll know that you are doing this one right once you start feeling a stretch in your calves.

7. Ankle Circles

While using a wall or a chair for balance, stand on your right foot, then raise the left foot a few inches off the floor.

Next, and without moving your legs, rotate your right ankle in a large circle in one direction.

Then perform a circular motion with the big toe.

Clockwise then counter-clockwise.

When you are done with the right foot, release and repeat on the opposite side.

8. Toe Walks

Stand tall with your back flat, core engaged.

Next, while keeping the legs straight and heels pulled up towards the calves, walk forward on the balls of your feet for one full minute.

Make sure to keep your stomach tight and maintain an upright posture throughout the exercise.

Not infrequently, when the topic of barefoot running comes up, or someone takes a look at my Xero Shoes, whomever I’m speaking with will say:

I can’t do that. I need support.

Oh? I’ll respond. Why do you need support?

Then something happens that I love. I get one of two seemingly contradictory answers. Either:

  1. “I have flat feet!”
  2. “I have high arches!”

They usually like to add to their proclamation some form of external validation. Like, “I’ve seen one of the best podiatrists in the world and he agrees that I need orthotics.”

Oh? He agrees that you need to spend an additional $300-1,000 with him? What a shock.

From the perspective of barefoot runners and researchers, high arches and flat feet are not a problem.

First of all, the height of your arch is largely genetically determined.

Secondly, the problem isn’t your arch height, or lack thereof, but whether your arches are STRONG.

That is, the “cure” for the problem is not putting your foot in a cast (which is essentially what an orthotic is), it’s using it, working on strengthening it.

One reason that running in bare feet could help strengthen your feet and arches is that landing with a mid-foot or forefoot strike can actually engage the muscles in your feet.

Think about it: When does immobilizing something make it stronger? Never!

Personally, I had flat feet my whole life. If I stepped out of a pool, my footprint looked like an oval. After a few months of running and walking barefoot, I started developing arches! I ruined all the family jokes about the flippers I had at the end of my legs.

Now, I get out of the water, step on the ground, and you see the outline of a FOOT. Granted, I don’t have drive-a-bus-under-them arches but, again, that’s genes. All I know is that I haven’t used my expensive shoe inserts in years and my feet haven’t had problem in all that time.

Whether running is a hobby, passion or occupation, nobody wants their training to be unexpectedly interrupted by an injury. Sure, injuries may come with the territory but unfortunately, some runners may be even more prone to finding themselves limping rather than running.

All sorts of things can increase the risk of injury and, in some circumstances, flat feet are one of them. Given that up to a third of the population may have low to no arches, chances are that some of you runners out there are of the flat-footed variety

What Causes Flat Feet?

Flat feet are often hereditary and therefore you’ve had them all along. In other cases, flat feet can be the result of the connective tissue that forms the sole of the foot becoming stretched and weakened which allows the natural arch to fall, hence the term fallen arches.

The causes of fallen arches can be complex, but the most common include unsupportive footwear (make sure you check out our guide to the best running shoes for flat feet), injury through overuse, weight gain, or simply getting older. The good news is that no matter what the cause, in most cases the weakened connective tissues can be strengthened through following a foot-specific exercise routine.

Are There Different Types of Flat Feet?

Great question and as it so happens, yes there are.

You can be born with flat feet (the congenital version) or you can develop flat feet as an adult (the acquired version). Flat feet can also be either flexible (the most common form) or rigid. How do you know whether your flat foot is flexible or not?

With flexible flat feet, your arch is right where it should be while sitting but it “disappears” when you stand up and put weight on your feet. That happens because flexible flat feet only lose their arch (or get flat) when enough weight or pressure is put on them.

If your feet are flat 24/7, then you have rigid flat feet on your hands (so to speak!). Although not a substitute for a formal diagnosis, you can try this test: Go up on your tip toes, if your arch “returns”, then chances are your flat feet are flexible rather than rigid.



Some people inherit flat feet from their parents and are simply born with them. While others develop them as a result of external factors such as the following:

Bone deformity.

Improper bone development inside the womb or certain medical conditions can cause a person’s bone shape can lead to flat feet. These instances are usually described as “rigid” or “true” flat feet and often create more symptoms due to the leg mechanics being altered dramatically.

Tendon or Muscle Tightness.

Tightness in either the Achilles tendon or calf muscles can pull your foot out of alignment and cause the arches to fall.

Weight Gain.

Either due to pregnancy or fat gain, extra weight on your joints, particularly your ankles, can impact your mechanics and lead to a flat-footed posture.


As you can see from the above, many cases of flat feet come as a result of your ankle and foot mechanics changing. Injuries are another way in which you may be forced to compensate and change the posture of your feet. Over time, such changes can lead to imbalances and misalignment.

Are Flat Feet a Problem?

You’re reading this article, so it’s safe to assume that your flat feet are a problem – for you. However, it’s important to note that being told you have flat feet doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to have problems as a runner… Haile Gebrselassie, twice Olympic gold medallist in the 10 000 metres and former marathon world record holder has flat feet, so you’re in good company.

The problem with flat feet is that they can make a runner more susceptible to other potentially problematic conditions, most commonly shin splints and overpronation, the latter of which can lead to pain in the ankles, knees, hips and lower back.

How To Fix Flat Feet

Okay, let’s cut to the chase: there is no quick-fix “cure” for flat feet. But, if your flat feet are making you sound like Mumble from “Happy Feet” every time you go for a run or you’re experiencing pain in your feet that’s making it difficult for you to run at all, this article will answer your questions on what causes flat feet and what you can do to help fix the problem.

How to Strengthen the Foot Arch

Foot-specific exercises can help to lift a fallen arch and thereby fix a flat foot, but only if you’re prepared to stick with the routine for a couple of months. Just like improving your running strength or speed, getting results takes time and effort.

Play Footsie:

The most important exercise to get into the habit of performing daily is any exercise that makes the muscles on the soles of your feet work. You can do this quite simply by playing some foot games. For example:

Pen pick-up

In bare feet, sit in a chair and scatter a collection of pens on the floor in front of you. Using just your toes, pick up a pen with your right foot and move it to a different area of the floor, then do the same with your left foot. Keep alternating between your right and left foot, and perhaps challenge yourself to deposit the pens into a waste bin. Even if you find it difficult to pick up a pen initially, the effort of trying is still fabulous exercise for the soles of your feet, so stick with it.

Short Foot:

The aim of this exercise is to strengthen the muscles on the soles of your feet.

  • Sitting or standing, place your feet hip width apart on the floor.
  • Place a coin directly under the ball of one foot.
  • Now, keeping the coin in place under the ball, try to slide it towards the heel of that foot.
  • The aim is to shorten the distance between the ball of your foot and your heel, keeping both in contact with the floor throughout.
  • Repeat the exercise five times with each foot.

With practice, this exercise can be done without the coin, but its purpose is to encourage you to keep the ball of your foot and heel in contact with the floor and to avoid lifting your foot by curling up your toes.

We’ve put together a handy post on the best exercises for flat feet packed full of helpful tips and tricks to help you with your recovery plan.

What About Orthotics?

Stability running shoes and orthotics can be helpful in terms of managing overpronation resulting from flat feet, but to fix flat feet, you need to exercise the muscles that have weakened and allowed the arch to fall.

Flat feet are a common condition. Many runners encounter this problem and successfully manage to address it with the right pair of shoes in their wardrobe.

Yes, it is true! The best way to deal with flat feet is to wear appropriate running shoes that can provide proper respite. Doing physical exercises also help in relieving the condition.

If your flat feet are becoming a roadblock in your daily sprints, this article is all that you need to read. We’ll help you identify the best trail running shoes for flat feet on the market. Read on to find out more.

  • The upper is made of Air Mesh
  • RESH Odor-Wicking Technology
  • Maintain the interior hygienic, perfect for hot weather.
  • They are all-terrain friendly. Even snow!
  • The sole design offer great traction
  • The material protects the shoe from abration.
  • Design with abrasion resistant
  • Ventilated air mesh upper for added durability
  • AdiWEAR in high-wear areas for increased durability .

What are flat feet?

Generally, the anatomical structure of your feet is such that a little gap is formed under the arch of each of them when you stand straight.

The inner part of the feet is a little raised off the ground. People who have flat feet, also addressed as fallen arches, tend to have either no arch or an arch that is very low.

The feet of such people roll over to the inner side when they stand or walk. This is known as overpronation. Their feet point outwards.

However, it is not necessary that both the feet fall flat on the ground. In some cases, people have only one foot with a missing arch.

What are the symptoms of flat feet?

People with flat feet frequently show no symptoms. However, in some cases, there can be excruciating pain associated with flat feet.

Some people with flat feet also experience pain in their back. The symptoms of flat feet depend on the severity of the deformation.

The most common symptom associated with flat feet is a pain. Pain may occur in feet, the arch of the foot, knee, calf, back, hip, lower leg area, as well as the inner side of the ankle, associated with swelling.

There can also be occasional stiffness in one foot or both the feet.

What are the causes of flat feet?

Flat feet can be caused due to several reasons. Some of these include:

  • Genetic factors – if your parents or grandparents suffer from flat feet, you too can.
  • Weak arches – if the arches are weak, they can be quite evident while sitting, but as soon as you stand, they tend to fall flat on the ground.
  • Arthritis, as well as rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Injury to the foot or the ankle.
  • Disorders of the nervous system such as cerebral palsy.
  • Disorders associated with muscles such as muscular dystrophy.
  • Dysfunction, damage, or rupture of the posterior tibial tendon.
  • Tarsal coalition.

How to deal with flat feet in day to day life?

Flat feet are nothing to fret about. It is very easy to manage the condition and the pain associated with it.

All you need to do is perform a few simple exercises and use some devices to bring down the discomfort.

In many cases, the patients align their feet automatically in such a manner that they never experience the symptoms.

In these cases, no treatment is indicated. In other cases, the treatment is designed according to the cause of flat feet.

To deal with the associated pain, the doctors suggest wearing well-fitted shoes that offer optimum support to the feet. Extra-wide fitting shoes provide great relief.

In cases with overpronation, use of orthotics or fitted insoles help in relieving the pressure from the arches and hence, pain.

Generally, the patients are advised to rest. They are encouraged to avoid the activities that could cause strain on the feet.

How to select the best trail running shoes for flat feet?

If you have flat feet, you must stay extra-cautious while buying trail running shoes. Here are some useful things you must check before selecting the best trail running shoes for your flat feet:

Interior Support

Generally, people with flat feet tend to overpronate. Shoes with foam padding on the inner part of the feet come to the rescue of these people.

Look for trail running shoes that can offer you good interior support. The padding lining the inner surface will help to reduce the rolling.

The shoes that offer good inner support with padding are known as stability shoes.

Stiffer Sole

Runners always prefer running shoes with flexible soles, but for runners with flat feet, it is a different story altogether.

You must buy trail running shoes with stiffer soles to get more support while running.

Wide Shoe Design

In people with flat feet, the common problem is that they habitually press their feet against the bottom of their shoes to get relief from pain and discomfort.

Shoes with wide bottoms help them stay comfortable while running.

Pick trail running shoes with a wider toe box.

Deep Tread

Buy trail running shoes with deep treads. Look for shoes with treads of different shapes and sizes running across the sole.

Major tread offers a good grip while running through gravel, dirt, mud, or uneven trail surfaces.

Thick Upper

Generally, runners prefer softer upper for better breathability, but if you have flat feet, you must buy trail running shoes with a thicker upper construction.

Shoes with thicker upper offer a great protection

Best trail running shoes for flat feet

As promised at the beginning of the article, in this section, we will talk about 4 best trail running shoes for your flat feet.

Let’s look at them one by one.

Adidas Performance Thrasher 1.1 M Trail Running Shoe

Type of shoes Trail-Running shoe for flat feet
Weight 12 oz/ 340 g
Price $65 (Check the latest rates here!)
Outsole technology ADIWEAR non-marking rubber
Midsole technology Injected EVA
Upper Air mesh
Heel drop 4 mm

Notable Feature

  • Breathable mesh
  • Removable insole
  • ADIWEAR outsole offering the maximum durability.
  • Excellent traction.
  • EVA midsole offering comfort.
  • Lightweight shoe
  • Affordable.

Sole Technology

  • Outsole Technology

The outsole of the excellent Adidas Performance Men’s Thrasher 1.1 is made from ADIWEAR technology which is a non-marking rubber.

The rubber accounts for amazing traction, abrasion resistance, durability, flexibility, and balance. The amazing tread pattern offers maximum traction.

  • Midsole Technology

The midsole of Adidas Performance Men’s Thrasher 1.1 is made from injected EVA. It offers a smooth heel-to-toe transition which subsequently offers a smooth stride.


The upper of the trail-running shoe is made from ventilated air mesh that offers greater breathability.

The upper also features a padded tongue, as well as the collar. This offers comfort even when the shoelaces are tied tightly.

Never say never, because limits,

like fears, are often just an illusion.

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How to strengthen flat feet for running

Posted by Chau Nguyen on December 6, 2017 in

4 Most Effective Exercises to Fix Flat Feet

Not all feet are created equal. Feet come in various shapes and sizes and everyone’s feet are different. When it comes to arches, the area between the heel and ball of the foot, there are three types: low, normal, and high.

About 60 percent of people have normal arches, 20 percent have low arches, and the remaining 20 percent have high arches (source). If you look at an adult foot from the inside, you’ll see the arch, which is the upward curve in the middle.

In flatfooted individuals, the arch may not be as noticeable since it is very close to the ground. Several tendons in the foot and lower leg come together to form the arch. When these tendons do not pull together properly, it results in fallen arches or flat feet.

Causes of Flat Feet

Low arches in adults can be caused by several different factors, including:

  • Stretched or torn tendons
  • Inborn abnormalities
  • Dislocated or broken bones
  • Nerve issues
  • Obesity
  • Aging
  • Pregnancy
  • Diabetes
  • Certain health problems like rheumatoid arthritis
  • A damaged or inflamed posterior tibial tendon

Symptoms of Flat Feet

Many flatfooted people lead normal lives, experiencing no symptoms and requiring no treatment. Some, however, may notice problems such as:

  • Leg and back pain
  • Feet that fatigue easily
  • Having difficulty performing certain foot movements
  • Swelling in the inside bottom of the feet
  • Painful feet, especially in the arches and heels

If you have any of these symptoms, it’s recommended to pay your doctor a visit.

Potential Problems of Flat Feet

Because low arches are more flexible and biomechanically imbalanced, people with flat feet are more susceptible to common foot problems such as:

  • Overpronation
  • Bunions
  • Heel spurs
  • Posterior tibial tendonitis
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Medial knee issues

How to Test for Flat Feet

It’s easy to find out if you have flat feet by taking the wet test:

  1. Pour some water into a shallow container.
  2. Get the bottom of your foot wet.
  3. Step on a flat surface where your footprint will show, such as concrete or a piece of cardboard.
  4. Step off and look at your footprint. If the imprint is filled in in the arch area, then it’s likely that you have flat feet.

How to Correct Flat Feet

So you took the wet test and it turns out you have flat feet. Now what?

As mentioned earlier, flat feet do not always cause problems so treatment may not be required. But there are some exercises you can do at home to “fix” flat feet.

These exercises and stretches correct flat feet by strengthening the arch and increasing its height, creating a natural arch in the foot. Set aside at least 10 minutes a day, 3-4 days a week to do these exercises.

How to strengthen flat feet for running Calf raises – image via Workoutlabs

  • Calf raises. Not just for strong calves, standing calf raises also strengthen other muscles and connective tissues in the feet, including the arches.
  1. Place the balls of your feet on a thick surface such as a phone book or wooden board. Let your heels touch the floor.
  2. Slowly lift your heels off the floor and pause at the top.
  3. Return to the starting position by slowly lowering your heels. Do 2-3 sets of 10 reps. If this is too difficult, you can do this exercise while seated.

How to strengthen flat feet for running Towel curls – image via WebMD

  • Towel curls. Towel curls are great for building strong foot muscles.
  1. Place a towel on the floor.
  2. Take a seat at one end of the towel and scrunch it towards you with your toes.
  3. Now, push the towel away from you by also using your toes. Do 2 sets of 10 reps. You can make this exercise more challenging by placing a weighted object on the other end of the towel.

How to strengthen flat feet for running Hip flexor stretches – image via fix-knee-pain

  • Hip flexor stretches. Most people with flat feet have tight hip flexors that limit range of motion and pull on different parts of the body, including the arches.
  1. Sit down on a padded surface like a carpet or yoga mat.
  2. Bring the soles of your feet together in front of you.
  3. Using your hands, gently push your knees towards the floor. You should feel a nice stretch in your thighs and hips. Keep your back straight. Hold for 20 seconds and release. Repeat 5 times.

How to strengthen flat feet for running Towel stretches – image via WebMD

  • Towel stretches. This stretch targets the Achilles tendon, which, when inflamed, results in overpronation and fallen arches.
  1. Sit on the floor and loop a towel around the balls of your feet.
  2. Keeping your torso and knees straight, pull the towel towards you until you feel a stretch in the Achilles tendon and calf muscles. Hold for 30 seconds and release. Do 1 set of 10 reps.

In addition to the above exercises, proper footwear is essential in fixing flat feet. Because your foot collapses inward when you run, extra stress is transferred to your feet and knees, increasing your risk of injury. Running shoes designed for low arches help raise the arch of the foot, reducing the pressure placed on your feet and legs.