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Flat feet, AKA collapsed arches are a common foot condition that affects about 30% of the population. The condition is characterized by the lack of arches along the inner side of the sole, just in front of the feet. There are many reasons why this happens. Some people are born with flat feet, while conditions like cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, or spina bifida lead to the slow flattening of the arches.
What Causes Flat Feet?
The arches are supported by a band of leg muscles called the posterior tibial tendon. This thick band of muscles and tendon goes from the calf muscles to the bones inside the foot. When this network of muscles is overworked or injured, the bottom of the foot becomes flat. Over time, the flatness becomes apparent and permanent.
While flat feet do not cause any issues like pain or immobility, they can sometimes lead to discomforts ranging from lower back pain to the inability to dance properly, run, or perform certain activities. Some studies suggest that fall arches contribute to severe conditions such as arthritis, neuromuscular diseases, and traumatic injuries.
Can You Correct Fallen Arches?
Unfortunately, once the arches have collapsed, there is no way to correct them. At this point, you can minimize the pressure on the feet as you engage in intense physical activities and reduce pain. If you don’t take care of your feet, dancing will lead to pain, stress, and imbalances in various parts of the body.
Of course, prevention is better than cure. Don’t wait until you’re starting to see your feet flattening before doing something about it. You have to be mindful of your body alignment when you dance so that it won’t lead to collapsed arches. And once the arches have collapsed, you need to care for your feet to manage the pain and discomforts they bring.
Ways to Ease Collapsed Arches
Wear Supportive Social Dance Shoes
You’ll need to wear proper dance shoes if you are a professional dancer or a social dance enthusiast. Unlike regular shoes, Latin dance shoes like Yami dance shoes feature supportive, cushioned insoles that absorb peak impact with every step. Combined with arch support, sturdy heel cups, and thick, durable straps, Yami dance shoes let you dance longer without forefoot pain. These shoes bring the entire body into alignment, bringing much-needed relief from painful arches.
Apart from wearing proper dance shoes, you should also invest in custom orthotic shoes. These shoes won’t correct flat feet, but the semi-rigid shoe inserts will support the foot’s arches, promoting better biomechanics as you stand and walk.
Perform At-Home Heel Exercises
Some exercises can minimize pain caused by flat feet and even correct the flattening arches. You need to perform heel exercises at least three times a week to achieve the best results.
Ball Rolls: This simple workout alleviates pain while defining the arches.
Sit on a chair and put a tennis ball or a golf ball on the floor. Step on the ball and roll it under your foot. As you move the ball with your foot, keep your back straight, so you're not hunching down. Do this for 2 to 3 minutes, then switch to the opposite foot.
Calf Raises: Another classic workout that tones the calves and streghten the arches.
Stand up straight with your hands on your hips. Lift your heels up as high as you can, then hold for 10 seconds, then lower back down. If you need support, get a chair or perform the workout near a wall. Do three sets of 15 reps each.
Arch Lift: An easy workout that targets the muscles within the arches, building strength and releasing stress.
Stand up straight with the feet parallel to the hips. Shift your weight to the outer soles of the feet and lift the inner sides of the soles or the arches. Lift as high as you can, but the feet should be in contact with the floor. Hold the position for 5 to 10 seconds, then release back down. Do three sets of 15 reps each.
In cases when the arches have collapsed completely, you might have to consult with a specialist and go through physical therapy to restore the arches. Usually, arches collapse when the muscles and tendons are injured or overused.
Developing a deep sense of awareness minimizes the risk of poor posture and movements, which will decrease your chances of developing fallen arches. This goes especially when you’re dancing because body imbalances often lead to injuries. Just as important is your choice of shoes when you’re dancing. Always wear dance shoes like Yami Latin dance shoes and never regular shoes to prevent arch pain and flat feet.