Flat Feetures

A long time ago in the days of my youth, I was a dancer of ballet, jazz, hip hop, swing, and the list goes on. While my feet were never quite a sight to see, they did in fact hold a beautiful arch. Fast- forward a century later, and running is now my current passion if you haven’t figured that out yet.

Granted I still dance from time to time, but nowhere near what I used to. You can only imagine my surprise when a visit to the sports orthopedic doctor gave me the shocking news that indeed I have flat feet. How did I let this happen? How could I have forgotten about my beautiful arches? I was prescribed inserts (such a dirty word I apologize for my profanity) and told to get shoes with more support. The nerve. The generic inserts ended up giving me blisters so I threw them out. I am going to spend a little more money to get custom fitted inserts that will fit as perfect as the glass slipper that fit on Cinderella’s foot. Despite what the experts say, I refuse to have my soles living in an orthotic world for the rest of my days. Neutral, thin and flat is my mantra and I will not have anyone tell me different!

The good news is that flat feet is reversible, and I am ready to bring my arches back bigger and better than ever before. I vow to never neglect my arches again. I have incorporated a few exercises into my daily routine that will guarantee over time that the flatness will fade.

  • Though I have not done much nor am I an expert, I have indeed incorporated barefoot running into my training schedule. Not only does this help with my overall form that will always be a work in progress, but yep you guessed it, it helps the arch!

  • Standing with feet hips width apart, knees at a slight bend I pretend there is sand under my feet and curl my toes to grasp onto the imaginary sand. I hold and release for up to 50 reps. Almost like doing kegels, but more obvious.

  • Releves, a ballet dance position, is actually a great way to strengthen the whole foot. I do these slowly and controlled. I make sure the weight is equally distributed between both of my feet with the focus being on the ball of the foot. I do releves in first, third, and fifth positions and also parallel (where my feet are not turned out to the side).

  • Arch stretches are pretty simple and can be done while reading a book. I sit on the floor with my legs stretched out in front of me. I Start with my feet upright, then keeping my leg straight, push my toes without scrunching them down to the floor. I Try to get my toes to touch the floor without lifting my heels. It is the basic point and flex maneuver. I Hold the point for about 30 seconds.

  • I have yet to lose my marbles, but I can certainly pick them up with my feet and drop them into a can. So simple of an exercise yet so effective. Surprisingly, my left foot picks up marbles easier than my right foot. I have to admit that I wanted this to be more of a challenge so I downsized to cat food. Yes this is what I do with my spare time - Pick up cat food with my toes. Excitement around every corner really.

So, yes I have flat feet, and no I will not stop running! It’s nothing but a little strengthening can’t fix as I stride for a better tomorrow all the while chanting; neutral, thin and flat shoes are all the support I will ever need.

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