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tiffanywu 01-28-02 11:32 AM

anyone with flat feet (low arches)?
Hi folks,

I went to a great running store last weekend and they recommended a pair of Adidas running shoes to me after assessing the way I walk, the bunions on my feet and the kinds of activities I do (I told them I was contemplating doing interval run-walks in the spring once the snow is gone but that for the most part, I would use them for speed walking, floor aerobics, some spinning and weight training). When I tried them own, they had great lateral motion support which is exactly what I wanted because my last pair of Nike cross-trainers was lacking in that and I think, might have contributed to some of my knee problems (my right foot was always rolling outwards when I was lunging and squatting).

Anyhow, I tried the Adidas shoes, did FIRM Strength in them, walked around the apartment in them, and felt that they had too much arch support, especially in my right foot. So, I called the store and they said no problem, they can re-fit for a different pair of shoes. In the meantime, I went to City Sports and picked up a pair of New Balance 1003 cross-trainers (kind of optional but I am in need of two pairs of shoes sooner or later). I used these with Charlene Prickett's Low Impact, High Intensity and they felt better, i.e. I didn't feel as much pressure on my right foot's arch. But then again, they didn't seem to provide as much lateral support as the Adidas shoes. Sigh.

And the saga continues, I explained to my boyfriend's father (an avid runner... he's completed the Boston Marathon five times) that the arch of right foot was feeling uncomfortable in general, yes, even when walking in regular boots or shoes, he took one look at my feet and told me I have flat feet - my arches are pretty much touching the ground. So, he recommended I get arch supports from the local pharmacy and try those. I tried a pair of his arch supports and it felt like there was so much stuff in my shoe, in fact, a bit like when I was wearing my Adidas running shoes! So, now, I'm all confused. Has anyone dealt with flat feet, arch supports and the ordeal of buying the right workout shoes given these circumstances? Thanks in advance for any advice!

Tami S. 01-28-02 11:42 AM

I have flat feet, as well as a myriad of other problems (with my feet, that is). I would suggest going to a podiatrist. Well worth the time and effort to get an educated opinion.

I've been wearing orthodics for several years now and notice a big improvement in my comfort while running and doing aerobics. I also get new shoes now every 3 months. Although this does add up, I figure it's a lot less expensive and painful than having surgery!

peggy h 01-28-02 12:34 PM

Another flat footed VFer!

I would suggest getting some professional help. I have very flat feet (as a shoe expert in a sports convention once told me "You have the flatest feet I have ever seen!") and I've had a lot of problems with them. The worst was in late 2000 when I was in a lot of pain. My orthopedic surgeon took one look at my feet and pretty much guessed what the MRI later revealed...tears in my tendon. He said that though there is no 100% certainty, this problem occurs often enough to flat-footed people that he pretty much figured that was my problem.

Now, after surgery and casts over the last year, I am almost never without my orthotics which give me great support.

So I guess I'm telling a cautionary tale. I'm definitely a fan of giving arch support to flat feet! As for shoes, I try to look for wide shoes, especially now that they have to accommodate the orthotics.

GonnaBeFirm 01-28-02 12:53 PM

Me too!
Hi Tiffany,
I am another with "flat feet". I found out about orthotic inserts after going to physical therapy for knee pain. I had been very diligent about my therapy but I was seeing very little improvement. The physical therapist then went through a series of tests and determined that I had "flat" feet (the right worse than the left). She reccommended Superfeet inserts (they have a website and if that didn't work, to go to the podiatrist.

I bought the inserts at a runner's store and they made sure they fit properly in my shoe. It is my understanding that the insole that comes in your shoe needs to be removed and the orthotic needs to go directly into the bed of the shoe. (If your insoles are not supposed to be removeable, you need to peel them up carefully or you'll leave chunks inside your shoes!)

I noticed a huge difference immediately, as soon as I started wearing them. Some of my knee pain left immediately, and I was able to do many of my physical therapy exercises with only minor discomfort (Lunges, squats, stepping were previously not doable for me at all.)

As for how the inserts "feel", I was told to only wear them for a few hours at a time for the first 3 or 4 days, and work up to wearing them all day. It does feel strange, but, I am now used to the feeling of having something against my arch. I do think that I have read that you should "feel" you arch being supported in your shoe.

I hope this helps. By the way, the shoes that I am using right now are Addidas, the superfeet insole fits inside them very well (although I did have to rip out the old one, it was glued in!)


Roxanna425 01-28-02 01:09 PM

Superfeet RULE.
You need to see a podiatrist. If you'd rather try the Superfeet first they are pricey but they have a very liberal (30 days for any reason, used is ok) return policy. I wear them in all my shoes.

There's 2 kinds of flatfootedness. Rigid and flexible. You can have both on the same person. Flat footed people like me that have flexible flat feet need arch supports to support the structure of the arch so that it can not fall during exercise and cause a lot of pain in the foot. Ppl with rigidly flat feet cannot accomodate the arch support. If after a while (a week) your foot does not accomodate to shoes like Bortkenstocks or the Superfeet you may have ridigly flat feet and need a customized insole made for you by a podiatrist. All feet arches need cushioning and support during running and walking to prevent foot pain. If your feet are rigid they just need to be specially made.

I hope this helps and good luck.

sly 01-28-02 01:13 PM

Low arches
I have low arches. I am wearing Ryka Re-evolutions for aerobics. I put super cushy inserts with high arch support in them (you have to remove the existing inserts first). I wear a running shoe with a lot of structure and support for running.

I wouldn't advise wearing the same shoes for both activities. My running shoes are great for running, but they don't provide the lateral support I need for aerobics.

I also like to wear comfy, wicking socks when I workout. Cotton socks rub against my feet and irritate my skin.

Shoes aside, another thing that has helped me is to do exercises for my ankles and arches using an exertube. I went to the running store one day when there was an orthopedic doctor there and he told me what exercises to do.

Good luck.

Tami S. 01-28-02 01:50 PM

Re: Low arches

Originally posted by sly

I wouldn't advise wearing the same shoes for both activities. My running shoes are great for running, but they don't provide the lateral support I need for aerobics.

Just wanted to mention that my podiatrist actually instructed me to wear running shoes for my aerobic and step workouts. Just goes to show you we're all different and have unique problems and needs. Another reason to get specific instructions regarding your particular problem from a podiatrist.

LHMerritt 01-28-02 02:28 PM

My 2 cents
I second or third or fourth what everyone has said. I have flat feet and
I got orthotics from my podiatrist. I always wore them for workouts but
not my everyday shoes (trying to be cute ;) )
I had lots of problems with my knees after I exercised,
I staring wearing them in my regular shoes and my knee problems are significantly less.


tiffanywu 01-28-02 03:33 PM

thanks folks!
Thank you all for the advice! I made an appointment with my primary care physician to get a referral to a specialist, so hopefully, within two weeks, I will have professional help on my side. I posted this question on the FIRM forum too and someone there replied that she had "fallen arches" - I almost think I have this instead because I could've sworn my arches were more "normal" a few years ago. Sigh. Anyhow, as a temporary solution, I went to the local pharmacy and bought Scholl's Dynastep inserts and put them in my boots. It feels a little better already. I have brand new pair of Birkenstock sandals at home - just bought them at the end of summer. Do these help too? I also looked at an arch brace on that looks like it might help in the interim too. Has anyone tried this temporary measures before being able to see a real doctor?

Marina 01-28-02 04:07 PM

flat feet
Even though I have custom orthotics, I still use Dr. Scholl and Spenco products in many of my shoes. I love my custom orthotics, but they don't fit any of my "cute" shoes. The price of vanity! I haven't had any problems with the Dr. Scholl or Spenco products, and it beats moving my orthotics from shoe to shoe all the time.

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