We work with several different types of athletes, who face a range of different problems. Some of our athletes have flat feet and are encouraged by their doctors to use insoles. Insoles are great for support—forcing the arch back into position. With this on my mind, my team and I found over twelve research studies which were performed—examining which exercises are best, whether it matters as to if you have an arch, and why the arch is important. The short answer is yes, flat feet do matter. The part which is unclear, is the degree to which it matters, are which things can be done to help with athletes that have flat feet.
First, let’s be clear that flat feet do not slow you down, or make you less explosive. Instead, they tend to shift your knees in, due to the lack of arch on the foot. The valgus in the knee, gives those athletes a higher probability of knee pain and injuries. That is why most podiatrists tend to recommend insoles for flat footed athletes.
Second, when athletes are flat footed, it doesn’t exactly assist them in being more competitive—but it also doesn’t make it impossible. There are countless professional athletes with little to no arch in their feet. That alone has not stopped them—however, addressing the issue has helped them to be more competitive. Our goal in doing exercises that will help in this area, is not to build an arch, but to allow your foot the mobility to get into the arched position when it needs to be there. One surprising revelation for me, was the hip external rotator exercises in combination with foot strengthening exercises, which has helped to get the arch back. These things can be done as a warm up or at home multiple times a week.
This is just another small step we take to help our athletes to be more competitive. The biggest gains are made in the small details, that often, nobody pays attention to. I know how important these things are first hand, and will work as long as I need to, in order to make sure our athletes are getting the best training we can provide. If you have flat feet and compete athletically, contact us now, so that you can get the edge on your competition!