Being categorized as flat-footed means that your feet do not absorb shock when walking or running as effectively as the feet of someone who has a normal arch. You may feel some pain in your ankles because of the added pressure and impact. The goal is to lower the risk of injury and pain by wearing the right pair of shoes and strengthening the tissues in the area.
If you are flat-footed, your feet tend to overpronate (roll over to the inner side) because your feet arches are flat and do not naturally curve as they are supposed to. You can determine for yourself if you are flat-footed by standing on your toes or pushing your big toe back as far as you can. The arch of your foot should appear. If not, you are flat-footed. Flat-footedness may be acquired genetically, or it may develop through conditions like arthritis. Your body weight is evenly distributed between your two feet, but you may experience pain and discomfort when moving because of the added strain on your joints as your overpronate. You can develop ankle or Achilles tendon pain over time.
Pain in Flat-Footedness
You will experience a sharp pain or soreness in the area of inflammation -- often indicative of joint, tendon or muscle damage or pressure -- especially when running. The pain in your ankle is generally caused by two bones or a bone and the tendon or ligament rubbing against each other while you run because of the overpronation of your feet, which often triggers pain and discomfort. The specific joints and areas affected are your ankles, Achilles tendon and supporting ligaments. You may feel pain radiating from the ankles towards your feet or shin.
Treating the Pain
There are special exercises that strengthen your feet and alleviate pain. Running on sand is effective in minimizing the impact on your ankles and feet. It trains your feet to maintain a natural arch and also strengthens muscle tissues in the area. Run for 20 to 40 minutes at the beach three times a week for best results. Toe spreads are done by standing or lying down and then spreading out your toes like a fan as wide as you can. Hold the fanned position for 10 to 15 seconds, and then repeat for a total of 10 sets. When you are choosing shoes, look for a neutral pair or those that have a wider toe box. Insoles, which create an artificial arch where it is absent, will also help.
Be mindful of signs of severe or developing damage in your joints and tendons. You will know when you experience swelling in the area or start to feel some pain. Avoid activities that cause a lot of pressure or impact on your feet or ankles, such as playing basketball or volleyball. These sports require you to jump high and then land on your feet powerfully. Be cautious for signs of severe pain and inflammation. Eat less red meat and food sources that are high in uric acid to prevent joint inflammation.