Cure Flat Feet for Better Posture
The little video “Flat Walk” clearly shows that having flat feet affects the alignment of the ankle joint with upward consequences for the knees, hips, spine, all the way up the skeleton. What are flat feet in real life?
What Are Flat Feet?
Flat feet (also called fallen arches) refers to a condition of an inward and down drop of the ankle joints. The arch of the foot collapses so that the entire sole of the foot comes into contact with the floor. The consequence of having flat feet is misalignment of the whole body the feet have to carry with inevitable postural problems. Play the above video again at full screen – the lines drawn on the back of the subject’s legs in the video indicate this misalignment. If left uncorrected, flat feet will, over time, cause ankle, knee and hip trouble. The condition can be cured with targeted realignment exercises and changing the way you use your feet. To facilitate curing flat feet, first find out how he human foot is constructed to work for best performance.
How your Feet Support your Body
The feet are the foundation or the roots of the body. To be able to stand upright, walk, run and jump with minimum impact on the rest of the skeleton the feet are cleverly constructed with a potential spring mechanism resting on 13 pads and 2 arches.
The 13 Pads
A bit like in a kitten’s paw, a human foot too has “pads” to catch the weight of your body. Ideally, each toe has 2 pads, then there are 2 large pads under the forefoot, these are often described as the “ball” of the foot which should really be called the “balls” of the foot. Ever wondered where women get “balls” from? And lastly, of course, the large area under the heel is also a small trampoline.
The Two Arches
1. Longitudinal Arch
The longitudinal arch is under the sole of the foot and goes from the back to the front. Look at the foot sideways at floor level. If you cannot see a clear gap between the floor and the middle of the sole of the foot, the foot’s longitudinal arch is sunken. The center part of the sole of the foot should never touch the floor. Check this by soaking your foot and making a footprint on a piece of brown paper.
2. Latitudinal Arch In addition to the longitudinal arch, the foot has a lesser known latitudinal, or cross arch that spans from side to side across the forefoot. The cross structure of the combined longitudinal and latitudinal arches in the foot ascertain proper support in standing and a soft bounce for impact from walking, running and jumping. Good arches reduce stress on all the joints above the foot in the entire skeleton. It is evident that unless flat feet are corrected, they can cause ankle pain, knee, and hip pain and affect the whole posture irreparably.
Don’t Believe in Orthotics
Insole supports do not to cure flat feet. On the contrary. While artificial supports or special shoes may temporarily relieve pain, they only weaken the muscles that are supposed to keep the joints aligned properly in the first place. And Please, don’t blame your grandmother either. Hereditary factors work in both directions. If you cure your flat feet, perhaps a future child of yours may not inherit the condition. So instead of resorting to artificial aids that don’t work, or blaming your flat feet on history, let us come back to the here and now. Look at the shape of the foot. How is the foot designed for optimum efficiency and comfort?
Shape of the Foot and Alignment
The shape of the foot is very similar to the shape of a spread out hand. When you are standing on bare feet and lift up your toes you can see the five long bones running from the toes towards the ankle. Those bones make a fan shape as illustrated. Unhindered by pointed shoes, the direction of the toes should follow the fan shape alignment created by these thin, flexible bones. In other words, always aim to spread the toes as far out as possible for a greater surface to stand and balance on. Or, to put it bluntly, the more “grounded” you are, the less of a push-over.
Flat Feet and Bunions
When the big toe is not aligned as a continuation of its attached foot bone (as in the previous illustration) but instead deviates towards the outside of the body, flat feet, and bunions may easily develop. The exercises featured here, provided you stick with them, can cure both conditions, fallen arches and bunions. Meanwhile, mind the shoes …
Once you know what shape a healthy human foot should be, you begin to wonder where you can find a shoe to fit it. Since shoes are made for fashion, not for comfort, that is not such an easy task. The shoe industry benefits from making shoes as uncomfortable as possible so people buy more shoes. Do the following test to make sure a shoe fits your foot before even trying it on.
Shoe Fitting Test
Place the sole of the shoe against the sole of the opposite foot. If the foot sticks out (as in the second sketch above), then the shoe does not fit your foot. Needless to say that narrow pointed shoes and high heels kill the natural given strength and balance in a foot. More about that in the link provided at the end, “Shoes Are not Made for Walking”. For now, how can your flat feet be realigned to strengthen the fallen arches back into the bouncy function they were designed to perform?
Realignment Exercise to Cure Flat Feet
1. Stand up with your feet turned in, big toes touching, heels apart.
2. Rise up on your toes, holding onto something if necessary.
3. Now while keeping your big toes in place,
4. slowly lower your heels while bringing them together. Do both actions in (4) in one slow move so that you end up standing with the feet parallel with your big toe still in place, pointing inwards. You should feel a re-positioning of the big toe joint. If this proves tricky at first, practice one foot at a time and use your hands to keep the tip of the big toe in place.
When your heels are down and your big toes pointing straight forward,
5. bend the knees while keeping the heels on the floor and
6. push the knees outwards a little. When you look down, the kneecaps should be aligned exactly above the third toe.
7. Practice until you feel the muscles working at the outsides of the lower legs.
8. Repeat the realignment exercise to cure flat feet as many times as necessary until you can really feel it working.
Benefits of Curing Flat Feet
Training the muscles situated on the outside of the lower leg will lift the ankle back to its central place above the base of the heel. When this correct alignment is preserved, future injuries in the knee and hip joints can be avoided. Do the Realignment to Cure Flat Feet Exercise daily before putting your shoes on or before going to bed, or both. With repeated practice, you will develop a constant awareness of how you stand and walk. Continued attention to relapses, daily practice, and increased awareness will cure your flat feet once and for all.
More Excellent Foot Exercises by Lisa Maree
Useful Links About your Feet
A good way of keeping up with curing your fallen arches is to bookmark this page and come back to it frequently. Good luck! You KANDO it!
Fancy Getting Published?
Do you have flat feet or bunions or both? Any other ideas or exercises to cure the condition? Then please publish your findings right here, right now. You may include up to two links back to your own domain/s in each article.