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Playing Soccer With Flat Feet: Is It a Problem?

As a general rule, most people’s feet have distinct sections to them, namely the heels, toes, and arches and while problems with the first two aforementioned parts are pretty rare, issues with your arches are relatively common.

Many people around the world suffer from having high arches, an ailment that can leave your feet appearing higher. An equally as common problem is having flat feet, which is the complete opposite of having high arches.

People that suffer from problems with their feet often wonder whether it will impact their ability to play certain sports, especially sports like soccer that require constant use of your feet.

Today we will be taking a closer look at what flat feet are, whether any professionals suffer from them, ways to limit their impact, and how much it affects soccer players’ ability to perform.

Having flat feet does not impact your ability to play soccer a great deal, you may occasionally suffer from aches and pains, but these can be controlled by buying insoles that have been specially designed for flat-footed individuals. Plenty of famous players suffer from flat-footedness including Luis Figo, Karim Benzema, and Diego Costa. 

What Are Flat Feet?

To fully understand whether having flat feet is a problem in terms of playing soccer we must first understand exactly what they are. To begin with, having flat feet is an incredibly common problem that is not life-threatening in any way, they are also not particularly life-altering either. 

The condition itself is caused by an issue with arches of your feet in which they are naturally lower than is considered normal. When pressure is applied to the base of your foot through walking or running the foot appears to flatten more so than others.

This can cause some discomfort to those suffering from the ailment and in some extreme cases can lead to further complications with your ankles and balance (this is very rare however). 

For the most part flat footedness is something that occurs when you are very young, so if you are reading this on behalf of a small child then it is possible that they will outgrow the condition once they reach around 6 years of age. Of course, if you are ever concerned about your child then go see a doctor immediately. 

For those that don’t grow out of the condition, or develop it later in life, it is a lifelong issue that can be controlled in a number of ways we will discuss later in this piece. 

Do Any Pro Players Have Flat Feet?

As we have already touched upon, having flat feet is a very common problem in society and soccer players are no exception to this rule.

Some of the greatest athletes of all time have struggled with flat feet, even before the development of insoles that can combat the problem. Perhaps the most notable sportsman of all time to suffer with flat-footedness is American sprinting legend Jesse Owens. 

In terms of great soccer players to have played with flat feet, some of the most famous to have done so are Luis Figo, Karim Benzema, and Diego Costa (among many others).

Of course, professional athletes do have access to better quality equipment and physiotherapy than the average Joe does, but the main point is that these people still made it to the very top of their sport whilst struggling with flat feet. 

Having flat feet does make balancing a little more tricky for these players and as such this is something that they have to train for regularly in order to keep up with their teammates. If you are struggling with your balance then try activities such as balance beams to work on it without any cost. 

Ways To Limit The Impacts

There are a number of ways that you can prevent the impacts of having flat feet from becoming a limiting factor in your sporting life or career, the main one being finding the right insoles for your cleats and trainers.

These insoles work by supporting the base of your feet more than regular insoles do. By providing increased cushioning as you apply pressure to the base of your feet, the amount of pain and fatigue that builds up should be reduced. 

Given the individual nature of flat feet, it can often take a few attempts to find the right insoles for you, and as such, patience is a key thing to consider when buying them. 

If your flat feet are becoming a major problem in your life, there are more extreme ways of correcting them too. A procedure known as flat feet reconstruction surgery can rebuild the arch of your feet by altering the position and shape of your foot bones and tendons.

This procedure can be expensive in the US and will take up to 12 weeks to partially recover from and up to a year before you’re fully recovered, so make sure that it’s something you’re certain about before committing to the operation. 

What Are The Best Insoles For Flat Feet? 

There is a wide range of options when it comes to buying insoles for flat feet, however, some are far too expensive when they don’t need to be for regular folk.

The best option for those simply wanting to play soccer at a casual level are Scholl sport gel insoles as they can be bought for around $10-$20 per pair and cut at home to fit any kind of footwear you like. You can check the current price on Amazon here.

The insoles work by providing a layer of cushioned gel under the base of your feet, helping to reduce the build-up of pressure and hopefully limit discomfort. 

Hopefully, this short guide has helped familiarise you with what flat feet are as well as the fact that they do not impact your ability to play soccer at a casual or professional level.

As expressed earlier in this piece though, don’t be afraid to seek medical assistance if your flat feet are causing you a lot of pain and discomfort.