There Is No Such Thing As "Flat Feet"

Updated: Oct 19

What are flat feet and, more importantly, what does having them mean?

Feet are called ‘flat’ when they have fallen arches and, as a result, overly pronate inwards – it is a fairly common condition. They can be hereditary, be the result of an injury, or a combination of genes, footwear, and other lifestyle factors. Labeling yourself with "flat feet" is going to put you in the wrong mindset to help improve your situation. "Flat feet" is always seen as a negative thing so the moment you say you have "flat feet", it is automatically a negative mindset. Having the belief that your pain, restrictions, injuries can be fixed is the very best way to start because your mind will help you get there a lot quicker.

Feet and humans go back a long way. In fact, they go back all the way, right to the beginning. They grew up together and evolved together, for hundreds of thousands of years before any shoes showed up on the scene. In the modern world, shoes have served to protect our living tissue from the unnatural surfaces that generate excessive forces, both at the surface (skin), and below it (bone). The increase of human-made debris has also created safety issues while walking barefoot through natural environments. Stemming from pre-antibiotic days when foot puncture could be catastrophic even for a healthy person. Footwear gradually evolved from light surface protection to completely engineered full-body stabilisers like the hiking boot.

Footwear has evolved to a level of almost complete protection of the tissue from the environment. What began as the protection of the foot has steadily become the encasing of the foot, usually in materials more rigid than the feet themselves. In other words, what da Vinci called "a masterpiece of engineering," a machine whose refined design evolved over millennia is now stuck in one of your shoes.

When an engineer begins making repairs or modifications to any machine - whether made of metal or organic tissue - the engineer has to ask the question: What else might this change affect?

A biomechanist looking at the mechanics of the human body will ask a similar question: For all the benefits that protective footwear may bring, what else might it affect?

Consider all of the bones and muscles that make up and control your hands and fingers, and how many wonderfully unique ways you can move them. The ability to type, play the guitar, conduct surgeries on microscopic tissue, and even button up your shirt is all a result of learning how to use the muscles in your hands and keeping them limber through regular use.

Now imagine that when you were two years old, someone placed stiff, tight, leather mittens over your hands, lumping all of the bones together, every day, from morning to night. Your body would adapt to the situation, learning how to use the muscles of the forearms and the joints of the wrist to a greater extent. You would learn to use the outside edge of your hand as one "finger" and train the digits to all work as a single entity. This way of using hands would be completely normal to you, as that is the way it would always have been.

Now ponder this: the anatomy of your feet indicates the potential for them to be about as dexterous as your hands. However, the act of wearing modern footwear every day has created a mitten-hand situation in your feet - and you didn't even know it. We have weak, underdeveloped muscles within the foot and have placed large loads on the muscle of the lower leg, on the joints in the foot, and on the passive tissues (those that cannot adapt strength) like the fascial systems and ligaments of the foot.

The good news is,