/ Flat footed

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climb the peak - on 27 Jan 2013
Went to get some new road running shoes earlier on today and thought I'd take advantage of there free gait analysis. Turns out I completely over-pronate and am flat footed which I had no idea about. Anyway the shop assistant recommended I get some shoes with arch support which I did.
Does anyone else have experience with flat feet and would you say arch supporting shoes are a good idea?
I run fairly regularly and haven't really had any running problems apart from the occasional bout of shin splints which I think is just due to increasing mileage to quickly.
Advice would be great
cheers Alex
Oh and I am a bit sceptical as to whether or not arch support is needed or if it's just an excuse to make more expensive shoes
readysalted - on 27 Jan 2013
I too am flat footed.

I had always been about 75ish KGs which is light for somebody about 6 foot 1, meaning I was reasonably thin and wirey. I decided to get on the weights and bulk up a bit, which I did by training 6 days a week, and eating literally twice what I had been previously. This meant that within the space of about 3 months I put on over 20G taking my weight to 95+Kg. The downside to putting on so much muscle so quickly (irrespective of the obvious limitations in the sport of climbing), meant that I had also put on a deal of fat. In order to try and remove this fat, and regain the CV fitness level I previously had I went out doing alot of CV work which was basically, steady state runs, interval training, and sprints.

I felt substantially less fit and felt much more lumbering and felt as though I was running with a heavy, bulky gait. I didn't allow for this and carried on attempting to do hill sprints, and fast paced runs after which I began experiencing a bit of pain on my shins. Initially the pain would last a few hours. Then after a few weeks the pain would last longer, maybe a day or so. After about 2-3 months of trying to do decent cardio, I would have horrendous shin pain which would now kick in when I was exercising, and stay with me until about 2 days later. I visited the physio, and my GP, and they told me that I had a collapsed arch, meaning I was flat footed. This was probably caused by the sudden shock to my body in trying to run again, after a period of only upper body training, and this extra weight which my body wasn't conditioned to carrying, caused my gait to change, and therefore my shin splints. The treatment at that stage was to rest with ice after training, but to try and rest and increase distance or speed in my training gradually.

I tried their advice and after a few weeks of sensible training, and good rest in between, I began having some very bad pain in the base of my heel. The feeling was similar to what having a Hb pencil jabbed up into your sole would feel like. Again I visited the doctor to be told that the flat footedness had not only caused shin splints, but also a condition known as plantar fasciitis which is a swelling in a band of connective tissue in the sole of the foot. Again the only remedy for this is rest and trying to raise the arch of the foot.

To that end I was advised to get some half length insoles from a chemist, which basically raise the heel very slightly, but the instep considerably.

These insoles completely removed the effects of plantar fasciitis, however shin splints is still slightly present after alot of exertion, and the platar fasciitis does return if I stop wearing the insoles for a day or two.

In my last physio appointment the doc told me that I will probably be wearing those insoles for life. With regard to shoes... I buy the shoes I like, and which fit my feet, and then use insoles in them. However in running shoes or approach shoes I will aim to buy ones with a high arch.

Hope my boring story is of some help.
highclimber - on 27 Jan 2013
In reply to climb the peak: gait analysis is a gimmick designed to sell you shoes. it is a hook to make you less likely to leave the shop without purchasing. the people in the shop are nothing more than amateur runners with little or non-existent experience in podiatry.

Rant over.

I am severely flat-footed and have tried all arch supports you can get from any good walking/running shop. all they did was provide me with a lovely painful blister in the middle of my foot.
I now run (off-road) without any support but in shoes slightly longer than I usually buy from any other purpose. this give the foot plenty of room to lengthen and contract during your natural gait.
not had any trouble since I changed to low-profile shoes without too much cushioning and plenty of mid-sole stiffness.
Simon_Sheff - on 28 Jan 2013
In reply to climb the peak:

Get some minimal shoes and your foot arch will strengthen up over time.
thedatastream on 28 Jan 2013
In reply to climb the peak:

Take a trip to Mountain Feet in Marsden near Huddersfield. Those boys know feet and running shoes.
Nick Russell on 28 Jan 2013
In reply to highclimber:
> (In reply to climb the peak) gait analysis is a gimmick designed to sell you shoes.

But you do get to see a slow-motion video of yourself running on a treadmill. Sadly it's from behind and only focusing on your feet, so no Baywatch imitations

I agree with what you're saying though. Maybe it's not the norm, but the two times I've had a 'gait analysis', they've basically echoed what I told them to say (i.e. what they think I want to hear)
Shani - on 28 Jan 2013
In reply to readysalted:
> I too am flat footed.
>
> I had always been about 75ish KGs which is light for somebody about 6 foot 1, meaning I was reasonably thin and wirey. I decided to get on the weights and bulk up a bit, which I did by training 6 days a week, and eating literally twice what I had been previously. This meant that within the space of about 3 months I put on over 20G taking my weight to 95+Kg. The downside to putting on so much muscle so quickly

Muscle simply does not grow that fast - even with noob-gains. I'd be surprised if 17kg of your weight gain wasn't simply fat (and water).
Mountain Llama on 28 Jan 2013
In reply to climb the peak: Hi Alex

I have had flat feet since my early 20's (now 47). I have been running for the last 10 years, initially this was to keep fit now I run off road as a hobby. Initially, I just used to use "support" style shoes to control over pronation but after time my big toes started to give me jip. A friend recommended a podiatist, so I popped along and got some orthotics (£80) and this cured my big toes. So I've used orthotics for about 5 years now and recently got fitted for some new ones (£90). They initially feel strange but you get used to them - I now have several pairs and wear them in all of my shoes / boots whether ice climbing, running or in the office.

Sounds like you just need a supportive shoes at present and only look at orthotics if theres an issue.

HTH Davey
wbo - on 28 Jan 2013
In reply to climb the peak: What shoes were you using, how often did you change them and how many miles were you doing.

It's not so simple as to say get minimal shoes and all your problems disappear by magic without the wicked shoe companys influence. Nonetheless your current shoes seem to to mostly do the job so only a slight tweak might be needed. I would always avoid orthotics as they certainly fix some problems, but overprescription was a problem, and once you have them you're kind of commited.
If you feel about in the shoe how does the cushioning feel where the toes would go?
Darkskys - on 28 Jan 2013
In reply to climb the peak: I'm on the other end of this...I have feet like ballet dancers and when I went for a gait analysis they looked at me like I had 7 arms.

I bought new insoles worth around £70 which at first (when walking out the shop) felt completely un-natural and I started using some muscles I didn't know existed. They told me to adapt to it slowly and within a week or two I should start seeing the benefits.

Cut to the chase...the insoles were sh*t. I run trail runs 4 times a week racking up around 30 miles and have only used standard soles in my shoes. My feet do perfer salomon shoes though but I wouldn't pay for anything extra.

Your body has changed quite alot over 3 months so you might need some extra support for your feet, but I'd go somewhere else before relying on the info they've given you.
Irk the Purist - on 28 Jan 2013
In reply to climb the peak:

If it aint broke, don't fix it.
yarbles - on 28 Jan 2013
In reply to climb the peak: I got fancy shoes with arch support for my flat feet, after gait analysis.
Not good. My feet blistered v quick and I have persevered with two different arch support shoes. I'd rather run flat footed.
climb the peak - on 28 Jan 2013
In reply to climb the peak: I normally run about 30 miles a week. Just went on a run in the new shoes and they feel fine, no aches or pain whatsoever. I do have a pair of minimalist shoes and a pair of fell running shoes. I will alternate between the three (depending on terrain) and see which ones work the best for me. There seems to be a lot if mixed views on this subject so I guess I'll just see which approach works best for me.
I defiantly overpronate and have completely flat feet so the shop assistant wasn't just telling me what I wanted to hear, also quite happy since I managed to get a pair of shoes in the sale for £30 reduced from £70
Ridge - on 28 Jan 2013
In reply to Eric the Red:
> (In reply to climb the peak)
>
> If it aint broke, don't fix it.

That would be my take on it. I do wear custom orthotics, but that's after some very nasty achilles problems and exhausting various stretching and strengthening exercises. Cost me a lot of money, but life-changing.

In the OPs case he doesn't seem to be having any problems, so is probably as well continuing to run in what feels best to him. On the minimalist front, there's as much nonsense attached to 'barefoot' running as there is to the various fancy types of running shoe.
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hnmisty - on 29 Jan 2013
In reply to climb the peak:
Feet are as flat as pancakes. I have othortic insoles from Boots, only problem I find with them is I too sometimes get that middle-of-arch blister (got HUGE ones after a 10k race...nothing after a 50 km ultra) but I've inherited my mum's feet, and the 40-odd years she went without insoles has left her feet completely broken up and she now quite often has problems getting shoes to fit (narrow heel and very wide across the toes, plus the joint at the base of each big toe sticks out so making a lovely pressure point). I'd rather take the blister!

When I got a new pair of trail shoes, the guy in the shop said it's not such a problem when running over rough surfaces as you're not repeatedly loading the same stresses as you would on a flat surface, where your foot always hits the ground in the same way.


I would NOT say it's a case of "if it's not broken, don't fix it" as the breakage will happen further along the line! My mum (who has always done a lot of walking) was facing an operation 10 years or so ago, until she went to see a specialist who recommended insoles. The moment she put them in her shoes she could feel the difference- the pain from her broken up feet went.
I see it as prevention- I'm only 24, but I know I have her feet and I will try whatever I can to avoid ending up quite as bad as hers!

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