by Amanda Jane Snyder
Growing up in dance class I always got compliments for how "lucky" I was for my high arches and beautiful pointe.
But I'd like to argue while, yes the shape of our feet DOES have to do with our genetics, we can also improve flat feet by strengthening our arches.
In dance, having strong arches means having a beautiful pointe which means a nice aesthetic in the image of dance.
My arches may be high but I've been discovering lately that they’re kind of weak. What do most people do when they have fallen arches or pain in their feet... They turn to insoles or cushioned shoes!
People don’t want to hear that insoles aren't the answer especially since adding insoles or extra cushion is the simplest solution… people like playing the victim and blaming genetics. I get it. It’s easier to just say “I was born like this”.
Your cushioned shoes, your orthotics, your insoles, are only serving as a CRUTCH for your weak feet. By wearing insoles, by wearing cushioned shoes, you are not allowing your foot muscles to gain STRENGTH. Your arches have fallen because your muscles there are not used to supporting themselves on their own.
If you had weak glutes and they were causing you pain... would you walk in crutches for the rest of your life? Or would you strengthen your glutes and get rid of the crutches or not even rely on them in the first place?
INSOLES = CRUTCH = WEAK FEET = FLAT FOOT
But with more hype on barefoot training we’re starting to see how we can actually improve and strengthen our arches by training them daily.
It takes time to strengthen weak muscles and it's not going to happen overnight. Trust me from someone who tried strengthening them fast and learned the hard way. But those insoles aren't helping... they're only harming.
Here are 3 exercises you can do to Improve Flat Feet
1. Roll Out Daily
2. Arch Activation
3. Big Toe/Arch Stretch
And finally, walking around barefoot will definitely help to strengthen your arches! Walk barefoot as much as you can, train barefoot, and wear toe spacers! You got this!
Amanda Jane Snyder is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Corrective Exercise Specialist, Certified Personal Trainer, and Mindset Coach living in Brooklyn, NY. She has been vegan since 2016. She specializes in Strength and Conditioning for Actors, Singers, and Dancers but loves creating, exploring, and enjoying all things vegan and gluten free!