My Figure Skater Has Flat Feet! What Should I Do?
Todays question comes from reader Annie.
What should I do about flat feet? Right now my daughter uses Superfeet, but Im starting to wonder if thats enough.
Is there a specific brand that supports flat feet the best? Or should I invest in some custom skates?
Another question, as well: should I mount my daughters blades a bit to the side? To accommodate her flat feet? Or should I just keep it the way it is?
This is a great question, Annie. Ice Girl, too, wears the yellow Superfeet in her figure skating boots. For those of you who arent familiar with Superfeet, theyre an insole that you can purchase off the shelf (about $40) to help support the arch of the foot. One thing Ive learned about buying Superfeet is that its not always best to go with the size on the package. Line up the arch to your skaters foot instead and cut the superfeet insert down to size. Ice Girl wears a Superfeet insert thats much bigger than her actual foot, but the arch lines up, so thats what we went with. We bought Ice Girls Superfeet at the skate shop, but you can also find them at running shops. Ideally, a skater will wear these in her street shoes and her skates (yellow for the skates), so that her foot is always supported. Realize that Superfeet need to be replaced every so often. Now that Im thinking about this, I should do that, too.
I know of skaters who have visited their sports medicine clinic or a podiatrist to have themselves fitted with custom orthotics. These will set you back about $300 or more, but insurance sometimes covers it. Again, make sure you have a pair for the skates and for street shoes.
Now, Annie, Im not a doctor, but I do have flat feet. Ive bought arch bandages for myself, but in my experience, these tend to slip around. I would think that a skater would find these pretty annoying out on the ice, but for $3 or so, you might want to give them a try. She could also just wear them walking around town and receive some benefit from that.
My favorite remedy is the Flex-Tastic from PROFOOT Care. My pair set me back $8 from Walgreens (on sale) and I use them every night. I cant say enough good about this simple little product. Some people think that flat foot pain comes from underdeveloped foot muscles. Im a writer, not a clinician, so this is totally anecdotal, but I am landing in this camp myself. I started out with my Flex-Tastic just one minute a day and built up to about 15 minutes. I just put them on my toes and flex my feet while I read before bed. OMG. My feet feel so much better. You dont want to start out wearing them for long periods of time because your feet arent used to them. Work up slowly to five or 10 minutes each day. I bought a pair for Ice Grandma and Ice Girl, too. Thats how much I love these.
I also bought the Foot Alignment Socks, but Im not as enthusiastic about these as the Flex-Tastic. If my feet really hurt, Ill sleep with these on, but the commenters on the Amazon site are right: the toe separators are wide. If you purchase these, be sure to begin with the separators at the tops of the toes and, over several days, work the separators down to the base of the toes.
Another thing you can have your skater do is to give her feet a work out. Ask her to trace the alphabet with her feet in the air several times a day to build up foot strength. Place a small towel on the carpet and ask your skater to pick it up several times with her toes.
More good advice is to ban flip-flops and junky street shoes. Good luck with that. Around here flip-flops are like the many-headed Hydra. Toss out a pair and up sprouts three more to take its place.
I would think that you want to keep your skaters blades mounted in the normal way and not tweak them, but Im not a skate tech. Skate techs? Any ideas?
Do you have ideas for helping a figure skater with flat feet? Please let us know what works or hasnt worked for you or your skater.
Ice Moms back, but I think Im just going to blog on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. At some point I have to sleep, or so my family says. Thank you Annie, for your question, and thank you to those of you who sent me questions while I was away. Im working through them. Do you have a question for Ice Mom or the Advisory Board? Do you have an idea for a blog post? Send me an e-mail! Im working through them, I promise. Annies was on the top of the stack. IceMom.Diane@gmail.com