3 TIPS to Correct Flat Feet

BY ANNETTE VERPILLOT AUG 11, 2019

Flat feet – sounds funny, but it’s no joke. In the US military, it used to be that having flat feet would routinely excuse potential recruits from military service.

Today, that rule is no longer strictly enforced, but if it were, the country would cease to be a world power! Seriously, modern living has produced a virtual epidemic of fallen arches. The good news is there are many practical solutions to fix flat feet.

Fallen arches also cause the bones of both the upper legs and lower legs to internally rotate. This rotation increases stress on the ACL. The ACL is a ligament that connects the upper and lower leg bones and provides stability to the knee, making the ACL critical for dynamic movements.

First, consider that the arch of the foot is supposed to flex and absorb shock. If the arch is flat, the foot lacks shock absorbency and stress is transferred to the knees, hips, and lower back. With fallen arches, the bones of the ankle are not optimally aligned with the foot, increasing the risk of ankle injuries and every other joint located above it.

When the arches of the feet collapse, a lot of bad things happen. First, consider that the arch of the foot is supposed to flex and absorb shock. If the arch is flat, the foot lacks shock absorbency, and stress is transferred to the knees, hips, and lower back. This is why many of the advertisements for orthotics claim that they can resolve back pain.

With fallen arches, the bones of the ankle are not optimally aligned with the foot, increasing the risk of ankle injuries. According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, approximately one million people in the US are treated for ankle injuries every year.

Fallen arches also cause the bones of both the upper legs and lower legs to internally rotate. This rotation increases stress on the ACL. The ACL is a ligament that connects the upper and lower leg bones and provides stability to the knee, making the ACL critical for dynamic movements.

Approximately 300,000 ACL injuries occur annually in the US, and the risk of injury is greater to athletes and women. Also consider that only 30 percent of ACL injuries are a result of direct contact, which suggests that an important step to preventing ACL injuries is to address the structure and function of the foot.

Another solution to fixing flat feet is the practice is to work on foot proprioception, here are a few exercises that can help.

Step 1– Improve proprioception by gently stroking the skin of your feet with a pen or fork.

Step 2– Roll out Your feet. Sit comfortably in a chair with both bare feet on the floor.

Place the lacrosse ball under the inner arch of your right foot. Lean forward to put weight on your right foot — enough to feel an intense pressure from the ball. Roll the ball toward the heel slowly, then along the outer arch and across the forefoot, massaging the entire sole.

Continue for 30 to 60 seconds. When you reach a tense spot, try pointing and flexing your toes to intensify the massage. Repeat with your left foot.

Step 3– Sit in a chair with your bare feet on the floor. Place a bath towel flat on the floor.

Put the toes of your right foot along the bottom edge of the towel.

Use your toes to crunch up the towel. When you reach the end of the towel, extend the towel flat on the floor again. Repeat 10 times on both feet.

References: 

The Epidemiology of Ankle Injuries Identified at the National Football League Combine, 2009-2015
Mary K. Mulcahey, Andrew S. Bernhardson, Colin P. Murphy, Angela Chang, Tyler Zajac, George Sanchez, Anthony Sanchez, James M. Whalen, Mark D. Price, Thomas O. Clanton, Matthew T. Provencher

10-Year Epidemiology of Ankle Injuries in Men’s and Women’s Collegiate Basketball
Sailesh V. Tummala, David E. Hartigan, Justin L. Makovicka, Karan A. Patel, Anikar Chhabra
Orthop J Sports Med. 2018 Nov; 6(11): 2325967118805400. Published online 2018 Nov 5.

National Athletic Trainers’ Association Position Statement: Conservative Management and Prevention of Ankle Sprains in Athletes
Thomas W. Kaminski, Jay Hertel, Ned Amendola, Carrie L. Docherty, Michael G. Dolan, J. Ty Hopkins, Eric Nussbaum, Wendy Poppy, Doug Richie

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