Now that you have your correct running shoe, orthotic, and have been warming up with stretching exercises you are ready to hit the pavement. If you are new to running I would suggest slowly and gradually increasing your pace and mileage. I would not recommend "Barefoot Running" if you suffer from flatfeet. I have seen many cases in my offices of achilles tendontis, plantar fasciitis, stress fractures, and posterior tibial tendonitis with barefoot shoes and vibrams, I would advocate barefoot running for the experienced runner, with excellent running technique and arch height.
One style of running that I feel can help you run more mileage without suffering pain or injury is adopting the style of ChiRunning. ChiRunning is a running technique that improves efficiency and performance. Now you do not have to take Tai Chi as a class but some of the concepts of Tai Chi are brought to the running technique. The main principles of ChiRunning include:
- Correct alignment and posture
- Shorter strides
- Landing with a midfoot strike
- Using a "gravity-assisted" forward lean
- Engaging core strength for propulsion
- Connecting the mind and body to prevent injury.
Slowly increase your mileage each week. I would recommend running two to three days a week. Running on grass or softer surfaces can tend to decrease pressures on the flattened arch. Cross training is key making sure to especially stretch the achilles tendon, plantar fascia, and hamstrings before and after running. If you are having pain in the arch after running I feel that icing with a frozen gel pack for 20 minutes and soaking in warm water and epsom salts helps to naturally reduce inflammation.
As your mileage increases week by week you may begin to get more aches and pains in your arches. I would recommend if you are than to back off of your running that specific week in order for your musles, tendons, and ligaments to heal. You can swallow your pride as well and do a walk run technique which can still give you the necessary cardio workout during this recovery period.
Lastly keeping your weight under control. The more weight you have the more pressure on the flattened arches. I don't like to always blame foot pain on being over weight but it does contribute to foot discomfort. Look to have a well balanced diet and cross train if you feel at first you can not run for long periods of time. As the weight comes less pressure is on the feet which should allow you to run longer distances.
These are some of my tips and experiences with personally having flatfeet. I feel that the soft tissues of your individual internal foot structure are very adaptive and can withstand incredible forces over time. If you still are suffering from flatfeet and continue to have discomfort for your given activity please contact us at: Carolinafootspecialists.net