Running is an awesome sport many of us love doing, including me! It provides a lot of health benefits, from weight loss down to toning the legs and other muscles. However, those with flat feet or high arches may have trouble trying to run properly.
But not to worry, you can learn how to run easily with high arches and flat feet with the right tips! So read on to learn more about running with these specific feet conditions.
- 1 How to Run Easily With High Arches and Flat Feet
- 2 Wrapping It Up
How to Run Easily With High Arches and Flat Feet
Flat feet and high arches are two different conditions but have similar effects if you run wrongly.
With flat feet, it means that you have no arch or have very low arches. It can happen due to genetics, foot or ankle injuries, certain medical conditions, as well as aging, pregnancy, or obesity.
High arches refer to a “wrong” foot strike when too much of your bodyweight will be placed on your feet’s ball and heel. The unnatural foot strike makes feet unstable, usually caused by medical conditions.
Both lead to pain as you stand, walk, or run, especially when running as you are more active and will put more weight into each foot strike! That doesn’t mean it’s impossible to run without feeling any pain or risking injuries.
To help lessen the intensity and painful symptoms, follow these tips to run properly:
1. Invest In the Right Shoes
You need to focus on your feet and what it wears when running, meaning your shoes are a crucial factor. It’s important to research and invest in the best running shoes made for those with high arches or flat feet. These will offer the necessary support while running, lessening chances of injury, and any pain as your feet strike the ground.
Consider the shoe support: If you have high arches, get shoes that offer great arch support and a lot of padding and cushioning. For those with flat feet, opt for shoes that come with orthotics or removable sickliness that can fit your custom-made orthotics prescribed by your podiatrist.
Besides this, consider the breathability and overall comfort of your shoes while running to lessen pain. It should have soft yet responsive padding, as well as breathable mesh uppers to keep your feet cool.
You’ve also probably heard about running barefoot or with minimalist shoes.
Some studies show positive effects on those who start running barefoot or using minimalist shoes. It may reduce pronation in those with flat feet and feel a bit comfier for those with high arches.
But do take this with a grain of salt and try going barefoot for a short run first before doing this for the long-term! What may work for some runners may not work for you, it’s all about your individual preference and comfort.
And obviously, NEVER wear high heels or flip flops for running. These can even worsen your feet condition, leading to uses like plantar fasciitis or inflammation. It’s also best to go for open sandals or supportive footwear when walking or standing in casual situations.
High heels and flip flops have NO support at all and will cause further pain when worn for long periods.
2. Stretch Those Muscles
Just as important as it is to use the right running shoes, you also need to properly warm-up and cool down. Stretching and exercising your feet before and after runs will help lessen pain and risk of injuries during the intense runs.
Here are some exercises you can do to help with your runs:
This is a stable reference position and that starting point for exercises. Stand tall and ensure that there is even weight distribution on the three points of your feet, which is the heel, ball of the big toe, and ball of the pinky toe.
Foot and Toe Connectivity
Move each toe independently while you maintain the tripod position, which all other toes relaxed. Lift your big toe, then the other four toes, then all toes, lowering the big toe first and the other four afterward. Spread the toes wide, and piano them down, one by one.
Release Plantar Tissue
This is similar to foam rolling. What makes it different is that you are pinning and holding certain points of your feet for a more accurate release. Hold all these positions for 20 seconds each:
- Relax your body weight to the ball of your feet, releasing its connective tissues
- Follow it with the middle of your feet arch, doing so while lifting and spreading your toes
- Pin the weight towards your heel, then the outside area of your foot’s mid-arch, to end with the inside part of the mid-arch
There are also other exercises you can do such as calf raises, tennis ball rolls, arch lifts, toe raises, towel curls, and step-ups.
I also recommend that you cross-train and incorporate strength workouts to improve your leg muscles. This can help it work better for your runs and prevent feet injuries from overpressure in the constant running.
3. Run On the Right Track
Now that you have the right shoes and exercises, the next thing to look into is WHERE you should run. The surface you run on can make or break the way your feet respond when receiving all your bodyweight as it hits the ground.
Whether you have flat feet or high arches, it’s best to run on leveled ground, whether uphill or downhill. You can run best on tracks, fields, or on treadmills, which usually have leveled ground and allow more resistance. If you just started running, go for the treadmill or running track first.
Do NOT run on bumpy roads or tracks, as this can worsen your arches, causing pain during or after the run. It’s also best to avoid grass or dirt surfaces with uneven ground, such as trails. You’ll want to go for leveled roads and tracks to reduce the impact as you run.
4. Focus On Technique and Posture
This tip goes out to all kinds of runners! If you have poor posture or technique, then you will most likely incur an injury or experience bad pain post-run. It’s especially vital for those with flat feet or high arches, as you want to distribute your body weight properly with good running form.
While running, stay aware of the way your feet land. Your doctor will give you the right advice on how you land your feet, depending on what’s most comfortable and what works for your feet. It may take some time to get used to a different way of running and landing on your feet, but with practice, you’ll get used to it.
Always maintain an erect yet relaxed posture to prevent further complications. A podiatrist or running specialist can measure your typical stride and arch. They can give more recommendations on how you can improve your runs for realignment.
5. Take Your Progress Week By Week
Last but not least, do not overdo your runs, especially if you just began your running journey! Your feet are more prone to injuries if you have flat feet or high arches, so it’s best to take it slow and take it one week at a time.
Avoid adding too much pressure to your feet and adding more distance and speed to your runs than you should. Increase the intensity of your runs only by 5% every seven to ten days.
Also, take rest or recovery days every other day or at least once a week! Do not add unnecessary stress to your feet, especially when you’re recovering from runs.
Do you want to learn more about having high arches or flat feet? Check out this informative video:
Wrapping It Up
Running with flat feet or high arches may seem difficult, but with the right methods and knowledge, you won’t have a problem. Just be sure to take proper safety precautions and take it slow until you can build up on speed and distance. After a few weeks or months, you can break personal records!
I hope that these tips on how to run easily with high arches and flat feet helped you out. So don’t wait any longer and look into any of these tips today.
Do you have any questions or want to share your tips and experiences on running with high arches and/or flat feet? Share it in the comments section below, all your thoughts are much appreciated.