One of the most common culprits for lower body injuries in athletes are fallen arches.
Some teams will even refuse to draft a player with flat feet because they’re correlated to ACL injuries.
The arches of the foot, formed by the tarsal and metatarsal bones, are strengthened by ligaments and tendons, allowing the foot to support the weight of the body in the erect posture with the least weight.
A fallen arch will inevitably lead to valgus knees (collapsing inwards) and a loss of torque, whether you’re just standing, walking, sprinting or squatting. This loss of torque will put your body in compromising and weak positions, inevitably leading to injuries.
Think of your lower body as a chain. A chain is only as strong as it’s weakest link. Similarly, a weak arch will make the rest of your body collapse.
HOW DO YOU GET FLAT FEET?
- Humans evolved living barefoot during the ancient ages before transitioning from minimalist footwear to today’s nonfunctional footwear.
- If you take a look at most shoes, they have a super narrow design and silhouette, an ultra raised heel for the sake of fashion and not enough space for the toes to move freely.
- Even the super cushioned “running” shoes are terrible since the higher the heels are, the more damage occurs on your natural arches overtime. Some shoes are also improperly stiched from the factory, putting your ankles in a compromised position from the get go.
Wearing flip flops is another way to destroy your arches because with every step, you have to use your big toe to keep the flop in place, therefore completely altering your gait pattern.
IF you have to wear something and you can’t go barefoot then wear slides instead of flip flops.
HOW TO FIX FLAT FEET
- You have to realize that reversing the damage won’t happen in a day or two. It’s going to be a long term process, but it’s worth it.
- Be conscious of your feet. Every moment you spend standing, squatting or deadlifting, you must create torque by screwing the feet on the ground. This will not only create a strong foot arch before the lift, but it will help you engage your glutes, which are an extremely important muscle group for every athletic movement.
- Use a lacrosse ball and roll the arches of your feet everyday. You can also use it to try to spread the toes to their original position.
- Strengthen your arches. One of the most important muscles to strengthen is your extensor hallucis longus, that’s the extensor of your big toe. You can easily do so by performing your basic lunges or even isometrics with your big toe off the floor while keeping the remaining toes on the ground. DO NOT do this while deadlifting or squatting.
- Go barefoot as often as you can and progressively start wearing minimalist shoes when sprinting, lifting and walking.