Flat feet are common. They shouldn’t stop you from running or walking.

What if having flat feet wasn’t such a bad thing?

A group of podiatrists in Canada and Britain recently emphasized this editorial In British Journal of Sports Medicine. The authors, not all clinicians or researchers, say it’s time to move beyond the idea that flat feet are a handicap and low arches. Up to a third Individual, healthy anatomical variation must be considered.

“Every day that I’m in the clinic, I see patients who are concerned about their feet, flat feet,” says Gabrielle Moison, lead author of the editorial. Always, someone said flat feet is a problem for such patients, he adds.

Yes, flat feet – the medical term for this condition is “pes planus” – may be associated with problems, but it’s not certain. Focusing on the pain and getting treatment is more important than worrying about how the legs or arches look, say Moison et al.

“You can have a low curve, but a lot of people do, and a lot of people with low curves don’t have anything wrong with them,” says Patrick McKeon, associate professor and athletic training clinical education coordinator at Ithaca College. New York who did not contribute to the article. How, then, can it be a distortion, how can it be a departure from the ordinary, especially if so many people have it, he asks?

“We’re splitting hairs and calling it normal or abnormal,” says co-author John Kiel, MD, an associate professor of emergency and sports medicine at the University of South Florida’s Morzani College of Medicine. Paper of Pes Planas. Kiel and her co-authors note that flat feet are common among children, but most children develop a “normal arch” by age 10.

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The base and spring of your foot

The Foot arch – Medial Longitudinal Arch – This is a tough, elastic network of ligaments, tendons, and connective tissue that runs between the front and back of the foot.

The basis of the body’s support, the arch acts as both a shock absorber, dissipating weight-bearing forces, and a spring, storing and releasing energy during walking and running.

Instead of treating flat feet as part of a bell curve of normal variation, for decades the medical and footwear industries rushed to treat flat feet with supportive shoes. Orthotic inserts And surgeryEven in the absence of pain or other problems.

But there is little to say that treating flat feet helps with anything.

“If there is a causal relationship between flat feet and injury, most people with flat feet will get injured,” says Moison. “It’s not like that.” Moisan highlights several important factors to consider, including variables such as the amount of exercise, the surface you’re walking or running on, and past injuries.

Many Meta analysis want Could not find the link Between many biomechanical factors, including foot shape and running injury.

One of them, 2022 review 30 studies and 3,404 runners included more than 100 unique biomechanical and musculoskeletal risk factors. The researchers concluded that available research does not generally support biomechanical or musculoskeletal measures.

Part of the treatment includes shoe selection, especially for walkers and runners. That paradigm suggests supportive shoes, stability, or motion restriction for people with flat feet. Individuals with high arches tend to gravitate towards more cushioned shoes as their feet are considered more rigid. But there is little evidence that this approach, matching foot shape with shoe type, makes any difference.

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Military Running Shoes Review

Research on military members illustrates this point. Because injuries occur frequently during basic training, injury prevention is a significant area of ​​research for military medicine.

A Aggregated analysis In three studies involving about 7,200 Air Force, Army and Marine recruits, reviewers determined that choosing running shoes based on arch height had little effect on the risk of injury in Army basic training.

Shoes are important, not as much as we think, says physical therapist and author Jay Tichery.Running Rewired: Reinvent Your Running for Stability, Strength and Speed.”

“Someone who does validation and innovation work with different brands of footwear, footwear makes a difference,” he says. “But a shoe isn’t going to fix your problems. A shoe might make an ouch and a difference in style, but it’s not going to fix things.

Instead of relying on passive measures like shoes and orthotics to prevent injury, experts like McKeon emphasize a more active approach to foot care. As the core stability of the spine, McKeon says The core of the foot plays an important role in injury prevention, using the intrinsic muscles of the foot.

Tichari agrees: “We train the core, hips and knees to improve athleticism. The feet are no different.

“That’s really the way we started to look at the leg core,” McKeon says, “and if a person can learn how to better activate the intrinsic leg muscles, two things can happen.”

First, he says, they become excellent instant stabilizers of the joints of the foot. Second, the foot becomes a kind of sensor, a link between the body and the surface. “By learning how to activate leg muscles, we get better sensors for how the leg changes with movement,” he says.

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For runners and walkers, McKean recommends starting with what he calls your “neutral foot,” which you can find by raising your arch up and down while sitting, then while standing, and swinging the foot side to side — and finding the middle ground between the two. The climax.

When it’s time to go to the shoe store and pick out a pair of shoes, Moisen has two rules. “The number one rule I have is, if you’re not injured, don’t change your shoe type.” Resist the pull of new colors or trendy brands if it means replacing something that works.

His second rule is that the shoe should fit well – it should be comfortable and light. “It sounds simple enough to say, but a lot of people wear shoes that aren’t wide enough or that are too narrow,” says Moison.

Ultimately, Moisen says, the message is simple: “Don’t worry about the way your feet look.”

For doctors, what he takes is similar. “Try to de-emphasize the foot and put the emphasis on the problem.”

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