How Martial Arts Can Help Flat Feet

Flat or lowered foot is the deformation most commonly occurring in smaller children. According to the researchers, it is found that at the age of three and onwards that up to 7.55 percent of children suffer from flat feet, while in adults, it is about 30 percent.  

Modern Life
Unfortunately, the modern way of life makes us move less and sit more, as well as the use of various inadequate footwear, and the increasingly frequent overweight of many people, also contribute to the emergence of flat foot deformation both in children and adults. It is obvious that certain professions where people are less likely to move or sit for longer or spend longer time with a certain amount of inadequate footwear can potentially cause this deformation. With women, flat feet deformities often appear during pregnancy. 

Flat Foot Exercises
Many people with flat feet deformity do not realize the importance of exercising certain foot muscles in order to strengthen them and, therefore, firm the foot. It is often thought that if the person with the deformation of the foot wears the insoles, it will solve the problem of the flat foot. Unfortunately, such an opinion is a big mistake. Also, it is wrong if children are forced to wear these insoles without gradual training, especially when they are small. 

People do not often understand the extent of a flat foot problem as well as the consequences of the foot deformation. People with flat feet deformation have an irregular way of walking and thus have more frequent pain in the legs, calves, but also in the knees. People have poorer circulation as well as more frequent muscular pains. They often have pain in the hip, lower back, but also in the neck muscles, which is why they have more frequent headaches. Also, such persons are prone to spinal column deformation and have poorer posture and often have some spinal deformities such as -scoliosis, lordosis, or kyphosis.  

The physician’s recommendation to people with flat feet deformation will certainly be to walk barefoot on the possibly uneven ground because this is how the foot muscles get activated. This advice can also suit preventive purposes in all children, whether they have normal or flat feet. For this very reason, taking up certain martial arts leads to the removal of flat foot deformation. People that exercise certain martial arts such as; judo, karate, aikido, sumo, kendo, ju-jutsu, tae kwon do, kick-boxing, muay-thai, kung fu, hapkido, MMA, grappling,  kalaripayattu, capoeira as well as some others; practice yoga, are frequently barefoot while performing. This is just the way that people with flat feet deformation will benefit from. 

Foot Kicks
Frequent walking barefoot, combined with various exercises, leads to strengthening the foot muscles. Also, by performing a variety of foot kicks, like in karate or tae kwon do, exercising basic front kick (mae-geri, ap-chagi), side kick (yoko-geri, yop-chagi) or front hook kick (mawashi-geri, dolyo-chagi) as well as other ones, the exerciser develops the feet muscles. Each of these different kicks requires the practitioner to set the foot in the exact position, regarding the impact surface, i.e. the surface of the foot, by which the trainer will strike a particular foot kick. For example, for the aforementioned strikes, the names of the foot surface striking the opponent during their performance are: chusok (apkumchi), sokuto (balkal) and haisoku (baldung). Whilst performing each of these strikes, the practitioner must place the foot in a precisely defined way, i.e.  in an adequate position. Thus, practitioners strengthen and develop the feet muscles that help to eliminate flat foot deformation.  

(Written by: David “Sensei” Stainko – Mag. of  Kinesiology, Master 7th Dan   – mixed martial scientists)