Running is a great way to get outside and stay in shape, but for many runners with flat feet, it’s also a guarantee that their ankles are going to ache the following day. Flat feet and low arches can cause several problems for runners, from tendonitis to chronic back issues. If you have flat feet or fallen arches, there are a couple of things that you can do to avoid injury and prevent pain after your run.
Buy New Shoes
The right pair of running shoes for flat feet can help to improve your athletic performance and overall stamina, while the wrong ones can do just the opposite. If you’re wearing the wrong running shoes for your feet, you may be exacerbating the pain you feel after you exercise.
Flat-footed runners and those who have low arches usually overpronate, or roll their foot inwards when they walk. Overpronation can cause stress to the hips, ankle, and arches of flat feet if left uncorrected. The best shoes for runners who overpronate are motion-control or stability shoes, which offer firm support along the inner sole and middle portion of the foot to prevent pain while running.
Change Your Running Route
If you run on a hard surface such as concrete or astroturf, you may be placing excess stress on your joints and arches. Running can put a good deal of force on the ankles and knees, and so it’s best to run on softer surfaces that absorb some of the shock as your move. Dirt, grass, and asphalt are all able to absorb impact well, helping to reduce your risk of injury. You should also try to stick to level terrain, as you’re liable to twist your ankle on rough or bumpy surfaces.
Add Stretching to Your Routine
One of the best ways that you can prevent pain after you exercise is by stretching. It’s a good idea to stretch before you work out, but flat-footed runners should also stretch after a good run. Be sure to target leg muscles such as the calf and hamstring, but also make sure that you stretch the muscles lining the arches of your feet.
Ice Injured Feet
If you do accidentally injure your feet while running, you can work to stop swelling and numb the pain by icing your injury. You can also take over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) such as aspirin to relieves aches and sprains. Be sure to take it easy for a few days after any injury and stay off your feet to give yourself time to heal properly.