How to Identify Flat Feet and Improve Walking

Flat feet, as the name suggests, refers to the collapse of the arch of the foot, causing the sole to fully contact the ground. This condition can lead to discomfort when walking and exercising, and even cause some foot problems. So, how can we determine if we have flat feet? And if we do, how can we improve our walking to alleviate discomfort?

Methods to Identify Flat Feet

Determining whether you have flat feet is not complicated and can be done through the following methods:

smart watch for men

1. Wet Footprint Test

This is the simplest and most intuitive method. Prepare a piece of white paper, wet your foot, and then stand on the paper. Observe the footprint left behind. If you can clearly see the entire sole of your foot, especially if there is no obvious gap in the arch area, you likely have flat feet.

2. Observing Standing Posture

Stand barefoot and observe your feet. If the inside of your foot is fully in contact with the ground and there is no noticeable arch, you might have flat feet. Having someone take a photo for you can make this easier to observe.

3. Professional Examination

If you're still unsure, it's advisable to visit a hospital or a professional podiatry clinic for an examination. Doctors can confirm whether you have flat feet and assess its severity through physical examination and imaging tests such as X-rays.

How to Walk Better

Once you confirm you have flat feet, you might worry about how it could affect your daily life and exercise. In fact, you can reduce the discomfort caused by flat feet and improve walking comfort through some small tips and methods.

1. Choose the Right Shoes

The right shoes are crucial. Choose shoes with good arch support and avoid overly soft soles and high heels. Athletic shoes are usually a good choice as they are designed with foot support and comfort in mind.

2. Use Orthotic Insoles

There are many orthotic insoles designed specifically for flat feet. They can provide extra arch support, help distribute pressure evenly across the sole, and reduce discomfort. You can choose different types of insoles according to your needs, such as full-length or half-length insoles.

3. Strengthen Foot Muscles

smart watch band

Specific foot exercises can strengthen the muscles of the feet and improve the stability of the arch. For example, you can try the following exercises:

  • Towel Scrunches: Sit on a chair, use your toes to scrunch up a towel placed on the floor, hold each scrunch for 5 seconds, then relax and repeat 10-15 times.
  • Arch Lifts: While standing, lift your arch as high as possible, hold for 5 seconds, then relax and repeat 10-15 times.
  • Rolling a Bottle: Roll a small bottle filled with cold water under your foot, which can massage and exercise your foot at the same time.

4. Pay Attention to Walking Posture

Proper walking posture can also reduce the discomfort caused by flat feet. Keep your body upright and avoid leaning inward or outward. When walking, distribute the weight evenly across your foot, avoiding placing too much weight on the heel or toes.

5. Regular Massage and Stretching

Plantar fasciitis is a common complication of flat feet. Regular foot massages and stretches can relax the foot muscles and prevent and alleviate plantar fasciitis. You can use a tennis ball or a massage stick to roll under your foot, or try simple stretching exercises like pulling your toes upwards.

While flat feet can cause some inconvenience, we can mitigate its effects through proper identification and appropriate walking techniques. Choosing the right shoes, using orthotic insoles, exercising and stretching the feet are all effective methods. I hope this article helps you and wish you a healthy and comfortable walking experience!