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Exercising and flat feet

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I have flat feet, which makes even walking long distances a huge pain...literally. When I exercise, I love ellipticals, but it kills my knees A LOT. Treadmills make it worse. Bikes are not any better. I do not want to give up my elliptical workouts, but I am tired of the pain. Any suggestions on how to cope?

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i have flat feet, too.  obviously, really good shoes are the most important thing.  i have a pair of adidas supernova trail shoes that i like (though i'm afraid they're almost worn out, after only six months.  they weren't cheap, either!). 

i've been having some knee issues, too.  not sure if it's related to the flat feet, but i tend to lock my knees and hyper-extend a little when walking.  i've learned to be careful, but if i go for a run today and my legs are a little tired, i'm more likely to hyper-extend my knees walking tomorrow.  you know?  i just try to be aware. 

I bought some awesome new balance shoes which help quite a bit, but not really the ticket for me. I just need something to make it tolerable, because it realllyyy sucks. 

I have really flat feet as well. There are two brands of shoes that I have tried that I really like - Ryka and Mizuno Wave Rider II. I like to run as well, but I only do it three times a week. The other three days I do Curves circuit training, which doesn't cause as much pressure on the knees and you still get a good workout. I will only have issues with my knees every once in awhile, but if I do, I just scale back on the pace that I go. Unfortunately, both brands of shoes are expensive, but worth it. Six months is about the max that you can wear them too. You might want to also see an orthopedist(?) and get some inserts if you're that much in pain. I agree with the post above, you have to be aware of your form as well. you might want to give the elliptical a rest for a bit until you see a dr.

To echo what the others have said, buying a great pair of shoes is one of the best thing you can do for yourself.  And that will probably mean having to spend a bit more money.  I also have very flat feet, and I always buy my shoes at a specialty running store (NOT a generic sporting goods/shoe store), where the staff are more knowledgable about their products and know how to correctly size my feet, make suggestions on what shoes will give me the most support, and assess my stride in the shoes to ensure the shoes are doing their job.  Personally, I'm a big fan of Aasics.

I have also used inserts in addition to these more-supportive sneakers.  The brand I use is called Superfeet, and their inserts last FOREVER - I always have them checked out when I buy new shoes and haven't had to replace them since I've bought them.  And though I primarily use them for exercise, I also stick the inserts in my Converse sneakers just for walking around town.

Oh and one more thing about inserts - be careful about building up too much support.  I used to have a pair of custom-made orthodics that I used in addition to an extra-supportive shoe, and they gave me terrible blisters!

Sep 09 2008 03:34
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I have flat feet-- so badly I have chronic stress fractures in my shins, I fractured my back, and my knee caps slip. I'm only 19!!


It goes without saying that I gave up sports. BUT! What really does help is getting ORTHODICS. If you are serious about stopping the pain, etc. You're going to have to spend quite a bit on some GOOD orthodics.


The ones I have are cast to my feet. The cast is done iwht plaster then sent to a lab. I got to an orthopedist for this service. Unfortunately, these orthodics cost upwards of 300 dollars. :( I've tried other types where your feet are cast in some sort of plastic, foam mold. Those we're fruitless and PAINFUL!


The orthodics are WELL worth the money!

Ditto to almost all the comments. I have found that good sneakers are VERY important. I have a pair of mizuno and about 3 pairs of Saucony. You may also need orthodic insoles which I agree as well worth the cost, however try buying a good pair of sneakers first. Any good quality running store will have helpful staff that can help you pick out the right shoe for your flat feet Smile

a tip from a runner i took a clinic with a few years back: rotate your shoes.  giving your shoes a day off allows them to recover their shape.

i try to alternate between three pairs, one for strictly walking (they're just about toast, though), my trail shoes, and my NB road shoes.

most people do this naturally, especially if they have indoor shoes for the gym and outdoor for running, but i thought it was worth bringing up.

oh - and if you find a pair you really love, go on-line and order additional pairs after they're discontinued ;)

Hi Christine

My name is janice and I am new to this forum.. 

I have had flat feet most of my life.  I have been obese all my life as well so hauling all that excess weight on flat feet was awful.  Many years ago I had the opportunity to see a chiropractor, getting adjustment help greatly almost to the point of no pain.  But what helped the most was getting to a sports doctor and having him make a pair of hard orthopedic inserts for my shoes just like the ones the professional basketball players wear.   I was amazed at the relief I got wearing them.  After wearing them for about a year I no longer needed them and my feet have felt great ever since.  I am a professional chef by trade and I stand on hard floors for many hours a day.

Hope this helps

I too have flat feet, and I found that using a forefoot/midfoot strike (landing on the middle or front of your foot instead of landing on your heel) lets me run pain-free much longer than I used to. It means I'm not flattening out my arch with every step.

It is quite the calf workout the first time you try it though!

Christine, the new balance shoes are probably the best I have used and I'm completely flat! I also have knee problems that I have had for about 15yrs...really bad too; If I run or use the treadmill on a fast speed it will make my knee get swollen. What I found is that when you train your legs (squats) it will strengthen your knee to be able to handle the pounding of a jog but not a long run... maybe a sprint too if you are careful to not do it on a hard surface.

*I avoid toe raises too; but you can get away with sprinting to strengthen your calfs. I had amazing calfs when I used to be able to use a good running college's have or high schools.

You shouldn't be getting much pain from the elliptical may need to bump up the resistance so that your feet don't actually come off of the little steppers. I'm thinking if you get pain from the elliptical than you are doing low resistance and basically moving fast. More resistance will get you to slow down (burn more calories over the course of a day or 2) & it will make it harder...if you notice you are still going too fast (raising your feet) keep increasing the resistance until you move relatively slow but it will be a lot harder! Also don't push with your toes; focus on pushing down your heels and standing proper (I see a lot of girls slouching on the machine).

Best of luck...

plantar fascitis hurts doesn't it???

I haven't spent the money for orthotics but I do want to make the investment soon. Can anyone ball park how much this will be?

I get some achiness from an elliptical too. You can't keep your heel on that thing really...even if it is hard. I gave it up for a while and did the recumbent bike. Your feet need time to heal up and it will take a few months with good orthotics but they will heal and then things like the treadmill or calf raises will be doable.

I have flat feet but I never let it stop me from running a long ways or anything. Good shoes + right form = all the difference.

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