The Connection Runners + [YOGA]

Falling Flat

True Story: I have flat feet.

Legitimate, I-had-to-wear-orthopedic-shoes-as-a-child-and-orthotics-growing-up flat feet. I've heard mixed reviews as to whether or not flat feet exist, and if they have any implication on athletic training--but the fact of the matter is--I think they really do. Growing up, I was a soccer player and regularly saw a podiatrist to get fitted for orthodics (painful shoe inserts). I don't think they really helped me much, but I don't recall ever getting much instruction as to what to do about the sequelae that come with the common condition. Unfortunately, while I don't have foot pain, I'm entirely convinced that
flat feet-->decreased shock absorption-->
spinal compression-->messed up skeleton!
I've been riddled by low back, shoulder, hip and neck pain for a few years now and it leaves me feeling like an old lady after exercise that an otherwise healthy and active 25 year old should certainly be able to tolerate.

Although there really isn't much treatment for flat feet and spinal issues aside from overspending on orthotics or unnecessary surgery, here are a few things I'm working on to overcome my funky anatomic issues:

1. Flexibility: Once upon a time, I used to be a gymnast. Back-flips, splits and all. At this point, I can barely do a back bend and have been doing more stretching and yoga (as boring as I find it) to loosen everything up.

2. Core strength: I work a lot to strengthen my abdominal muscles, but core is not just abs, it's back too! Enter Supermans, Russian Twists, leg lifts, and most pilates core exercises.

3. Running form: I tend to run, well, flat-footed. I'm making a concerted effort to run on the balls of my feet, one foot in front of the other w/ small strides.

Anyone else have flat feet/musculoskeletal problems? Any suggestions for exercises/remedies that help?