Flat feet!: I’ve been struggling a lot... - Marathon Running ...

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Flat feet!

MadDave profile image

I’ve been struggling a lot with pains in my calves and on the inside of my ankles, which has been getting steadily worse since October. At first, I though it was that I was relatively new to running, having graduated from C25k in July, and I just needed to keep running but build up my endurance gradually.

Over the Christmas break, I had more time to ‘check in’ like Abi recommended in her recent post, and take stock. Clearly the pain was not going away, although some comfy 3/4 gel inserts from boots (about £21) made a difference.

So on Tuesday I took the plunge and visited the sports physio our club coach recommended to me back in December. I should have gone much sooner!

It turns out I have got VERY flat feet with terribly fallen arches, and have probably had them for years. After a 1/2hr sports massage of my incredibly tight calf muscles, I was sent away with a set of prescription 3/4 orthotic inserts (£35), some specific stretching and spikey ball routines to practice, and told to give it a rest for a day or two. After that I could start running again but told to take it easy & report back for another session next week.

Well... last night I went on a club tempo run, an activity which in the past I often suffered at, with my new inserts. The difference is incredible- no pain in the calves and much less tiredness after the run. There’s some discomfort in the arch of my foot, but nothing like the pain I’d normally be in the day after one of those runs.

So I can vouch for Abi’s ‘check-in’ idea - if it’s not feeling right, find a recommended sports physio and get it sorted out!

25 Replies
MutleyShuffle profile image
MutleyShuffleHalf Marathon

That's great you have found a solution - never good to run with niggles. I also have flat feet but I'm lucky (touch wood) I haven't got any niggles. Remember to take it easy now! 😊

Razouski profile image
RazouskiHalf Marathon

Glad you got it sorted eventually.

Madge50 profile image

Excellent.....you’ll be gazelle like at the Cambridge HM then,....🏃‍♂️👏🏅

Me, on the other hand will arrive once you’ve finished, showered, read the papers and sat down with a cuppa and biccies.....😂🏃‍♀️


MadDave profile image
MadDave in reply to Madge50

Or on a stretcher more like!

roseabi profile image

Wow, this is great news!! Well done, and enjoy your running xx

misswobble profile image

The foot exercises will be good You can strengthen those arches Oh yes💪😃👍

Foot lifts (google for correct stance). Slow calf raise, slow lower into a heel drop (on a stair or step) You do them slowly to ensure a stretch top and bottom They exercise the entire foot and leg, safely Lunges too are good. Just take care with them and build up slowly 👍

You're very lucky - I have had a problem with my ankle and haven't run since November. Just been to the physio for the fifth time. I had bought new trainers and was experiencing pain across the top of my foot and the ankle was very tender. I went back to the running shop and they gave me inserts both for my trainers and for my shoes (£88). I had been wearing a very comfortable pair of sandals all through summer and had driven down to France on cruise control with my foot 'cocked' over the brake. I obviously drove back and then 2 weeks later did the journey again. So, putting all these things together we don't actually know what has caused the problem. Apparently it's the ligament but the physio says not to go back to wearing the inserts - if they didn't think I needed them when I bought the trainers why do they think I need them now? My foot does lean in when I walk, I can feel it - but why didn't they sell me trainers to accommodate that in the first place?

As you can appreciate, I'm pretty fed up about it all. I had graduated and got my Park Run bar code all ready and the end isn't in sight. Sorry for the long drawn out post but does anyone have any advice as I'm piling on the pounds! Not a lot I can do with a sore ankle.

roseabi profile image
roseabiPartner in reply to 59er

The shoes that are manufactured to help stop feet rolling in (shoe shops call this 'overpronation') are generally called 'stability' shoes, or possibly 'support' shoes. These terms may help you if you're asking in a shop, or browsing online. Perhaps you could find a cheap pair and give those a go - maybe try going for a walk in place of running if this doesn't hurt so much. It is important to keep that ankle mobile.

Has the physio given you a set of exercises to do? After five visits with no answers I'm tempted to suggest you tell them you can't afford to see them any more and that you'd like some advice to take away with you.

Have you considered another sort of activity that will help improve your fitness without stressing your ankle? Swimming is the obvious one, and I can't recommend it enough.

But unfortunately neither running or swimming will help with the weight gain, you need to investigate your consumption and take action. A food diary is a great tool to tackle this - I suggest you give the My Fitness Pal app a go.

Good luck, hope the ankle improves soon!!

59er profile image
59er in reply to roseabi

Thank you roseabi for the advice. The physio has given me exercises and thinks there's inflammation there. He does say it's taking longer than he'd expect. I do have faith in him - I've used him for years. He's always really booked up so I went to another more local one and she told me it was my muscle and to keep running! I went swimming on Wednesday which was ok as you'd expect - I just hate swimming! I'm on the food consumption - back to watching what I'm eating and being sensible. I just miss the running - it's so good for my mental health and of course the weight thing 🙄 I'll take a look at that app!

roseabi profile image
roseabiPartner in reply to 59er

Which muscle?

Swimming isn't for everyone, I'll admit :) Do you enjoy walking?

59er profile image
59er in reply to roseabi

The muscle around my ankle? She massaged it and said it would be ok and to keep running- thankfully I didn’t!

I do enjoy walking yes. I’ve been doing that too over the last couple of days and I’ve been out on my bike a couple of times too. The physio said these would/should all be ok. So far so good 🤪

linda9389 profile image

Brilliant that you've found a solution. I've been to a couple of people about my recurring quad problem now, and neither are able to pinpoint what it is. No matter how they push it, pull it, prod it etc. it simply will not hurt anywhere, but if I move over on the bed, or walk on it, it hurts every time! So far my only cure is rest; and of course that's not a cure it's just fixing the symptoms because then it's back again.

I may have to try a running clinic of some sort further down the linde but they look hopelessly expensive and I don't think that approach is going to be a quick fix so would soon add up. Hey ho. Rest it is :D :D :D

roseabi profile image
roseabiPartner in reply to linda9389

Have they looked at your hips, Linda?

linda9389 profile image
linda9389Administrator in reply to roseabi

The guys yesterday did, but more importantly an excellent sports physio took a good look about this time last year when I had some 'hip' pain (TFL I think). Again she said all was well structurally and diagnosed the old ' lazy butt' syndrome rather than anything structurally amiss. She also watched me on the treadmill for a little while and didn't pull me up on much. Once I'm back at work I will probably go see her again at the first sign of any quad pain if it recurs.

59er profile image
59er in reply to linda9389

Perhaps if you went for a sports massage when the pain reoccurs? They may be able to see where it’s tight etc.

linda9389 profile image
linda9389Administrator in reply to 59er

I have tried that a couple of times, though not when it has been at it's worst I guess. It may have eased it slightly but not hugely. The guy has the capacity to cause great pain (as my calves will testify 😀 ) but he couldn't find any spots in my quads tender to pressure, nor could he find anything obvious that needed breaking down. I guess quads are pretty big muscles and it must be deep inside somewhere! I always feel so stupid when they repeatedly ask 'does this hurt' and always my answer is no 😀

MadDave profile image
MadDave in reply to linda9389

FYI I went to a physio specifically recommended by an athletics club coach. Their approach is to get you up and running again and there’s no pressure at all to have more than two sessions, with the occasional MOT, so I’d be a bit concerned if after a few visits any issues hasn’t been resolved, or if more serious then referred to specialists. I’m fortunate in that I cycle and do kettlebells as well, so am pretty well conditioned except for the flat feet. The physio said the range of exercise I did had helped my problem not get any worse than it is. So if the physio isn’t working, maybe get a second opinion and if you can’t run try something like kettlebells or cycling?

linda9389 profile image
linda9389Administrator in reply to MadDave

Out of interest, are you a member of the club? or did you just contact them and ask fora recommendation?

I've only seen a physio the once since beginning running, and that was about a different niggle to my current issue. I had a couple of sessions, did my exercises and the problem cleared up which was great. The quad thing has come and go, and to be fair I have not yet gone to a physio about it - only the sports massage guy and then the uni clinic this week. If it persists, I will take myself off to a physio (the one I saw last time was a runner herself which hopefully helps). I'm not a member of a club, but maybe that wouldn't stop me calling one and asking for a recommendation :)

MadDave profile image
MadDave in reply to linda9389

Yes I joined my local club after I’d started getting to over 10k in my runs, as I thought some coaching would help. You should be able to do a few taster sessions with your local club before deciding to join. I find it helpful to have coaches and other runners who have a lot of experience they can share, such as physio recommendations. Hope that helps?

Really really pleased you got that sorted Dave. I got orthotics at some point last year, in the middle of doing JuJu's 10k plan, and they certainly helped me. I have flat feet too apparently, which cause me to underpronate.

Cautionary tale: I ran 17.5k last Friday and forgot to put my insoles in, but had taken the stock ones out. Blisters, severe calf pain, yeah. Don't do that :P

MadDave profile image
MadDave in reply to


Do you do any resistance exercises?

Lordi profile image

Could be something to do with your cruise control technique. No need to hover over the brake because the cruise control deactivates if you pip the accelerator pedal, engine braking then kicks in as you move onto the brake (if you need to cover it). The gas pedal is also lower if you really need to hover over one pedal or the other. Hope that makes sense.

Edit - Reply was meant for 59er. Sorry.

MadDave profile image
MadDave in reply to Lordi

😂 nothing like a bit of surreal running advice 😂🏃‍♂️

Katnap profile image

Thanks for the info! You'll have to post again on your progress at the end of the month.

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