Military fitness is a demanding practice for the whole body, but as your feet are at the very root of your entire being, it is often this region which absorbs the highest impact. For this reason, the fallen arches of flat feet can quickly turn into a training nightmare, due to the lack of support where you need it the most.
If you are currently living with flat feet, look over the following list to help ease the role of over-pronation in your military fitness.
1. Boots with Arch Support
When seeking out the best boots for your military training, a flat foot does require an additional aspect to consider: the arch support. It is recommended that you explain the situation to a suitably qualified healthcare or fitness professional who can then ensure the most comfortable fit for you.
2. Shoe Insole
Another way to address this issue is to look at removable orthotics. These inserts rise up to support the arch, holding your bones correctly in line while reducing the shoe’s general wear and tear. Furthermore, as these products are detachable, they can be used for multiple shoes which could be a cheaper solution.
3. Kinematic Taping
Many people who suffer from a flat foot report some relief in a little DIY taping. Studies have proven this act of compression can decrease much of the pressure while also granting you the peace of mind to push your performance. There are a few variations you can try, but it is always recommended to wrap at least one piece right around the foot, running beneath your arch and then over the top. Just be wary of any skin allergies and do not wear this tape for longer than 12 hours.
4. Dealing with Related Injuries
There are many potential training injuries associated with flat feet. Due to your collapsed arch, you may regularly discover blisters on the area, in which case, try moleskin as an inexpensive solution to skin damage. Overpronation is also a leading cause of plantar fasciitis, a repetitive condition which hurts the arch’s tissue. This may be a shoe-related problem, but you could also wear a night splint for additional support. And finally, flat feet and knee pain are often related, which is an injury best rested with ice, compression, and elevation.
When warming up before training, do not skip out on your feet! Touching your toes, the downward dog yoga pose, and deep lunges are all great options to stretch out your calf muscles which, in turn, loosens your arches. You can also roll your foot around a tennis ball for further relief.
6. Strengthening Exercises
Your arches are still a muscle group that can be trained every day. A clever approach to achieve this is to focus on your toes, using them to pick up different sized objects such as marbles, stationary, or towels. Another exercise tip is to wrap a resistance band around your arch and then repeatedly pull the other end towards you.
7. Lose Weight
If you are carrying too much meat on your frame, then there is an unnecessary amount of pressure on the bones and tendons of your feet. Tackle this problem through the diet, skipping out those bad carbs and sugars, while stocking up on fruit, vegetables, lean protein, and fibre.
8. Go Barefoot
This is a controversial suggestion, but many sufferers have reported positive results from a more barefoot lifestyle. Go for the occasional run or do some personal training without your shoes, as this may force your foot to better support itself while delegating the impact more evenly. However, there are some hygiene concerns with this practice, so always know your terrain.
9. Speak to a Physiotherapist
Flat feet solutions are similar to shoes in that there are no one-size-fits-all answers here. When nothing seems to be working, it is probably time to visit a healthcare professional, as they can analyse your condition and recommend a rehabilitation programme perfectly suited to your precise situation.
10. Consider Surgery Options
When you have exhausted all avenues and you can no longer live with the pain, there is always the final surgical resort. It will be up to a specialist to judge whether you qualify or not, but either way, this is no walk in the park. These procedures will put your training out of action for an indeterminable amount of time and they may even lead to further complications. Simply put, you should not take this option lightly.