Flat Feet and Foot Injuries
Although having flat feet is not a painful condition, it is a common condition that requires special footwear. According to several studies, individuals with flat feet, or more specifically, individuals with flat feet that engage in sports or other athletic activities, have a higher risk of medical and lateral midfoot injures such as metatarsal stress fractures. Metatarsals are the long bones in the forefoot. Metatarsal injuries are commonly seen in runners, gymnasts, and ballet dancers. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid injuries such as these. For runners, specifically, prevention begins with finding best running shoes for flat feet.
What Types of Shoes Are Best for Flat Feet?
Individuals with flat feet have flattened arches in the insides of the feet. When a person with flat feet stands up, the entire foot touches the floor. A normal foot has an arch on the inside, which means this part of the foot never touches the ground. The arch provides natural shock absorption. In its absence, extra stress is placed on other parts of the body such as the hips, ankles, and knees. To reduce the impact on other parts of the body, including the other parts of the feet, running shoes that provide either ample cushion, support, motion control, and stability are essential.
Shopping for Running Shoes for Flat Feet
When shopping for shoes, one of the best indicators of whether or not a running shoe will work for you is how your feet, hips, ankles, and knees feel while you are running in them. Most athletic shoe stores have enough space (and in the case of Nike, a small running track) that will allow you to test the shoes. Individuals with flat feet do not necessarily have all of the same concerns, so in one case a motion control shoe is enough, while in another, stability and cushion may work better. However, all individuals with flat feet have one thing in common. The condition will always require shoes with ample support.
Best Brands for Flat Feet
Within the past two decades, most athletic shoe manufacturers have jumped on the bandwagon by providing running shoes that address each of the major concerns associated with flat feet and running. Some names may sound familiar while others may sound somewhat obscure. Some of obscure brands, however, are among the industries best running shoes for flat feet. Brooks is one of the top manufacturers of specialty shoes for flat feet, followed by Mizuno, New Balance, Nike, Saucony, Asics, and Reebok.
Prices for specialty running shoes vary, but according to several price comparisons, prices are comparable to the cost for regular running shoes. Expect to pay around $100 or more for a quality pair of specialty running shoes. If you prefer to shop online (not recommended), special Internet discounts are plentiful.
Other Ways to Protect Flat Feet and Prevent Injuries
In addition to wearing special running shoes, many individuals with flat feet perform foot exercises (using ping pong balls) and they use insoles in other types of footwear. New Balance sells insoles for flat feet as well as companies such as ProKinetics, and of course, Dr. Scholl’s.
Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER)
Queen, Robin M., et al. "Differences in plantar loading between flat and normal feet during different athletic tasks." Gait & Posture 29.4 (2009): 582-586. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 21 Sept. 2010.