Yoga for Flat Foot
Feet tell a lot about a person’s state of mind and body. Experienced yoga teacher know how to read the feet of their students. The normal sole of the foot is not flat but has an arch in the middle which is visible from the side as an undulating gap under, along the instep of the foot. The main purpose of this arch is to distribute the weight of the body equally on the feet and the legs in a standing position. Flat feet is a condition when this natural arch in the sole of the foot is absent and the entire sole appears flat at all points on it.
On its own flat feet do not cause any discomfort but due to the wrong distribution of the body weight along the legs and the feet this condition can cause ankle, or foot injuries due to bad posture. It can even cause balance issues while walking. In a lot of cases of flat feet the ankles seem to cave inwards (over pronation) causing undue stretching and pulling on its ligaments which may lead to ankle pain.
Persons with flat feet tend to stand with their feet turned outward which causes stress on to the knees leading to knee pain or other related issues. The arch under the foot is meant to provide a spring in one’s walk, the presence or absence of the arch under the foot determines the way a person walks. The pronated ankles due to flat feet can also cause undue stress on the hips as it completely alters the standing posture of the afflicted person.
Similarly flat feet induced postural aberrations can also cause pain in the lower back, and in the calves. People with flat feet must wear special shoes which have the sole modified to the condition of the foot, wearing normal shoes will lead to uneven wearing down of one side of the show which can enhance the postural issue further.
Flat feet can be inherited from one’s parents, or caused by arthritis, injury to ankle or the foot, weak tendon which keeps the arches pulled up, muscular dystrophy, or a disease of the nervous system (cerebral palsy). People suffering from obesity, or diabetes, women during pregnancy are prone to flat feet. Arches of the feet can fall with age related degeneration of the muscle and the tendons which keep them up.
How to cure flat feet with Yoga
The design of the yoga asana for flat feet is such that it teaches the practitioner to become aware of how he stands. It also teaches the basics of the right posture, and how to place the feet on the ground (grounding the body properly) while standing and also while doing yoga asanas.
The flat foot treatment exercises involves the knowledge of the three points under the foot – point under the big toe, the point under the little toe, and the point under the center of the heel – and how to keep them equally pressed onto the floor while standing for the right activation of the muscles in the foot. Moreover remembering to stretch the sole of the feet while doing any posture helps create, maintain the natural arch under the feet.
A shortened Achilles tendon is a natural corollary to the condition of flat feet. Stretches for flat feet like going on one’s toes help lengthen the Achilles tendon to its normal, comfortable size. The yoga for flat footed people include yoga asanas where the legs are stretched upwards taking the lift from under the center of the feet, and asana which stress on placing the heels on the mat in the standing forward bend position.
These asana tone, strengthen the tendons which are responsible for keeping the arches sucked up into the feet. Yoga asanas for improved balance train the muscle memory on placing the foot right on the floor while balancing the body on one foot , This automatically tends to correct any aberration in the structure and biomechanics of the foot.
Persons afflicted with flat feet must learn the how to stabilize their leg by mindfully pressing more into the mound under the big toe. Yoga for flat feet works by strengthening the ankles, a strong ankle correctly distributes the body weight from above on to the toes and the heel than pressing directly down , and out on to the arches of the feet.
Stretching the calves with yoga exercises also helps improve the dorsiflexion ability of the ankles which provides a healthy stretch to the muscles of the sole. Tight calves restrict this movement of the foot which is necessary for maintaining the healthy tone of the muscles of the feet.
Learning the right way to stand will automatically guide the arches to stay up, right standing posture demands a slight anterior tilt in the pelvis which pulls up at the length of the legs sucking the arches of the feet upwards.