Flat Feet

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AlexsGymmyMom

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Mar 20, 2009
2,532
USA
Are flat feet common in gymnastics? MY daughter has been told by one of her coaches that she lands flat on her feet rather than on her toes when doing tumbling and that she could end up with flat feet. What are some exercises or stretches that could she do to help prevent this. SHe is trying to concentrate on walking heel to toe and landing on her toes but she forgets sometimes. I know flat feet can be painful but in gym you can't wear can't special shoes or anything to help prevent it.
 
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bogwoppit

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Feb 26, 2007
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MY youngest has flat feet and suffered some side ankle pain as her feet roll in on landings etc. She got assesed by the sports therapist who gave her some exercises to strengthen her arches.

Here is a link to the type of execises she does.

ankle and feet exercises, Flexibility strengthening exercises for arthritis, Arthritis, conventional treatments, alternative remedies, complementary therapies, integrative therapies, mind-body therapies

She also wears a product called FABS, they are great and alleviate all pain, but are not cheap. They work great for gymnasts as they only fit under the arch of the foot.

Dr Roth's Footcare Products | FABS Banding Arch Supports for Flat Feet, Heel Pain, Plantar Fasciitis & More...

It would be good to have her feet looked at by a podiatrist, problems can originatein the back, hips, legs or the feet themselves.
 

AlexsGymmyMom

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Mar 20, 2009
2,532
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Thanks so much for the great information. I will def look into the FABS. They look as though they could really help!! The exercise with the towel looks like it would be funny to watch! Thanks!!
 

claire1985

New Member
Aug 5, 2009
17
Hi
When you say your daughter lands flat footed do u mean she lands and looks like has no arch or is it that she lands with whole foot in contact with the floor.

How old is she- if under 8 i reall would not worry as structually most kids have flat feet ( no or small arches) at this age especially if not having pain tho i can understand you concern if effectting her gym.

if its flat feet as in no arches it may be due to a tightness in the calf and knee musles some stretching should help standing with heels of back of a stair and lowering them and holding i say 20 sets holding for 10 secs each
also may benfit from some insole that will hold feet in improved position when not gym and will encourage them to form and stegthen in good position

if its the other one just landing with whole foot in contact with ground ankle stegthing exercised may be good such one on link abouve the simplest one i get my gymnasts to do is jsut standing on tips toe and holding for 10s and doidng 20 reps once mastered it on two legs get them to do it on one leg at time. if ankle weekeness prob may be idea to get some ankle supports in meantime i like the bioskin ones with elasticated strap from ossur they come in pretty small sizes.

hope this helps

Claire
 

NotAMom

Active Member
May 27, 2009
894
Region 6 (Northeast)
Both of my kids have flat feet. For them, it was something genetically passed on by yours truly. It's much more pronounced with the older one. Both her and my arches totally collapse while standing.

This is an unfortunate (but workable) condition for a gymnast. It's very unnatural for her NOT to run and bounce on her heels. When she runs (during vault especially), you can distinctly hear the pounding on the runway. When she tumbles, she struggles more than others to get the same height. Her knees are also slightly knocked when relaxed. That leads to sloppy form (more so on bars and vault) which she also worked very hard to overcome. Her feet still involuntarily separate during her clearhip handstands and sometimes her giants.

Her ex-HC was the first to notice the condition at L4 and how it was impacting her performance in form and execution. Over the year in gymnastics, the pounding has been lessened but it still can be heard more than others'. One thing that helped was to jump rope regularly. This exercise built her muscle memory to stay off the heels and use the balls of the feet (for the most part).

Because it's a condition she was born with (and she does gymnastics mainly for fun), we chose not to seek medical remedy for her flatfootedness (and deal with podiatric aids). For other active sports and activities where she puts a ton of weight and needs to be quick on her feet (such as hiking and ski racing), she uses OTC insoles/footbeds. Luckily, they appear to be enough to correct her over-pronation and knockknees during those times.
 

gymnafreak

Member
Nov 29, 2008
248
26
Minn eee sooo ta! :)
My brother and i also have very flat feet. Because i am a level 9 gymnast, we needed to do something about it. I got orthodics made for my shoes (very expensive $300+) and i'm supposed to wear them as often as i can. My flat feet caused me to get plantars fasciitis, where the tendon on the bottom of your foot gets too tight and the tendon starts to rip away from the bone. Very painful. Very bad.
As a gymnast, some doctors say that all the pounding helps to cause the flat feet, but other disagree. I don't really know, but as a gymnast, our feet are very important, and if you don't chose to get her orthodics, try to have her wear tennis shoes as often as possible. The more arch support the better. Flip Flops are the worst thing you can wear.

Hope this helps!
:)
 

AlexsGymmyMom

Active Member
Proud Parent
Mar 20, 2009
2,532
USA
This is an unfortunate (but workable) condition for a gymnast. It's very unnatural for her NOT to run and bounce on her heels. When she runs (during vault especially), you can distinctly hear the pounding on the runway. When she tumbles, she struggles more than others to get the same height. Her knees are also slightly knocked when relaxed. That leads to sloppy form (more so on bars and vault) which she also worked very hard to overcome.
Thanks so much. This sounds exactly like my DD. You can totally hear her when she runs and tumbles. Her legs also drift apart on back hip circles...We dont yet do giants or clear hips. However she can still get height when doing tumbling. Hmmm...I wonder how much more height she would get if she used the balls of her feet.
Thanks again! All the information has been very helpful!!
 

gymalex

Member
Jan 3, 2009
75
Dallas, TX
I have actually never heard that landing flat-footed could cause flat feet. I don't think I buy it. :p I believe that you are born with flat feet (genetic), or can get flat feet later in life as the arches weaken and fall. Landing flat-footed in tumbling isn't going to CAUSE flat feet in a child, but can cause ankle injuries and mess up the tumbling. Kids should learn to land and punch with the balls of their feet. Good drills for this are practicing hurdle-punch on the rod floor or tumble track, taking care to land properly on the balls of the feet in a tight hollow position. Also handstand snap down-rebounds are a good drill, again looking for the right landing position. If anyone knows of any research where landing flat footed contributes to flat feet in children, please let me know. I've never heard of such a thing and would like to know about it. Otherwise I'm sticking with my theory. :)
 

bogwoppit

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Feb 26, 2007
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I beleive it's the other way around, flat feet cause poor tumbling and running.
 
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