Walking With the Ducks

Dec 16, 2011
by: spalmer
Baby Feet
Ducks Walking

Recently I suffered from an injury in my foot. Ever since I can remember I've walked on my tip toes, due to the fact that I have little to no arch. The correct term for this is being "flatfooted", or some like to call it "walking like a duck". Being very athletic I have struggled with keeping my feet healthy and pain free. I decided to do some research and found some very interesting things.

"Researchers in India found (PDF) that flat foot was far more prevalent among people who wore footwear before the age of six. Kids who ran around barefoot for most of their first six years – the formative years, it turns out – had better developed longitudinal arches and less flat foot. Among children who wore footwear on a regular basis, 8.2% suffered from flat foot (compared to 2.8% of barefoot kids). No other factors had comparable impacts. Adults didn’t have higher rates of flat foot than the kids, unless they reported wearing shoes as children."

Maybe my flat feet were from the shoes I wore early on...

"The first, perhaps most important step is to stay away from orthotics and shoes with “plenty of arch support.” Rather than help you solve your problem, shoes with arch supports prop you up and lead to weak, atrophied foot musculature. Your feet aren’t grasping, pulling, pushing, and flexing inside a pair of athletic trainers; they’re growing soft and growing weak. Fixing, or at least mitigating, your flat feet is going to require some serious foot strength."

This was shocking do to the fact that I have spent over $600 on orthotics and arch supports. That isn't counting all the top of the line running shoes I've purchased...

"Next, spend as much time as humanly possible with your bare feet. If you’re at home, remove your shoes as soon as you enter. If you’re heading out to take the dog on a walk, try circling the block in your bare feet. Mail’s come? Shoeless. Early morning paper? Barefoot. Living room workout? Do it without shoes on. You’ve got to learn to use your feet again, and the best way to do so is to simply live, eat, breath, and sleep barefoot."

Back in the day the cavemen and women or native americans did everything barefoot. Hunting, eating, dancing, and making fires... I wonder if they had any foot problems....

"Try toe running. When I haven’t done any serious barefoot work (which is very rare, actually; I’m almost always barefoot or in minimalist footwear) in awhile, I’ll hop on the treadmill in my socks (to reduce slippage) and do five or six minutes of light jogging. The catch is that I make sure to stay on my toes the entire time. This strengthens the ligaments and muscles (there are over a hundred of ‘em in the human foot) and prepares them for future activity."

I completely agree. I've always walked on my toes like I said and I have never had pain in my arches. However, when it comes to track and being fast... running on your toes is not the fastest.... now you can see where my issues are coming from