flat footed exercise n00b needs help!
January 6, 2011 10:08 PM   Subscribe

Wii Fit and fallen arches/flat feet/plantar fasciitis. Will shoes kill my poor balance board?

I've got a nice area rug next to the board, but it still hurts after a short (20 min) amount of time. I'd really like to increase my time spent using the fit, but my feet hurt and start to cramp up...feels like I'm overcompensating for something and tensing up. Is there anything I can do? Note: I'm a total exercise n00b.
posted by fillsthepews to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'd worry less about the board than your feet! Do you have active PF? If so I (as a fellow PF victim) would really stay away from anything other than swimming, or Pilates (via DVD, if convenience is most important).

Try Runner's World's tips on injury prevention (runners get everything). There are a handful of stretches that help with arch/PF problems, though I'm sure you're probably familiar with many of them. Good ones are scrunching up towels with your toes, and rolling your foot on a tennis ball.

Stability or orthopaedic shoes are a good investment. (Though there's another camp that advocates strengthening your natural foot, and doing things barefoot. For me, investing in shoes made access to fitness quicker and easier.)

You could also tape your feet with a special sports tape, as in these videos. It's meant to provide extra architectural support for your arches.
posted by nelljie at 10:52 PM on January 6, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks! I'll admit that I don't know which of those aliments actually affect me... I'm undiagnosed but have given up wearing flip flops and flat shoes for good, and it helps enormously.
posted by fillsthepews at 11:07 PM on January 6, 2011

IMNYD. But a lot of people have problems with their feet when they first start exercising. The muscles are just not used to moving about at that intensity for that long. Strengthening your feet is a natural part of becoming active.

I try to not wear shoes as often as possible so my feet are constantly working. My plantar issues went away after I stopped trying to support my feet and started working on strengthening them.

I don't know what shape you are in. I don't know what your lifestyle is like. I don't know what your exercise regime is like. But if you are going from a mostly sedentary lifestyle to slogging out a 45 minute workout, of course your feet are going to hurt! Perhaps you should keep it to 20 minutes and increase the intensity. You need to find out what your current capabilities are and slowly push them. Couch to 5k is a 9 week program so work your way up there.

Keep at it!
posted by munchingzombie at 11:20 PM on January 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

posted by alex_skazat at 11:39 PM on January 6, 2011

There are feet that just plain need orthotics or fancy shoes. Years of walking barefoot and doing foot exercises as much as possible trying to get my feet "strong" just left me with angry knees. My feet were as flat and sad as ever. I'd visit a doctor and get a referral to a sports medicine person for a consultation, 'cause you can definitely do lasting damage to yourself by ignoring foot issues. Barefoot is great, but don't let the Cult of No Shoes convince you to do something your body can't handle.

For off-the-shelf type shoes, anything with a Birkenstocks footbed is fine for me without orthotics. Footprints, Finn Comfort, Birkenstocks, etc. In running shoes there are tons of options for motion control/stability, though I always come back to the Brooks Beast.
posted by pjaust at 5:41 AM on January 7, 2011

Maybe I'm not doing the "strengthening" thing right, but ever since I developed plantar fasciitis last summer (after having no foot problems for the first 42 years of my life), going barefoot or wearing shoes with poor support definitely sets my healing back a notch.

Because I work at home and often don't need to put on shoes until after lunchtime, I've developed a trick of wearing a pair of good supportive inserts (these PowerStep Pinnacles are truly Teh Shit) inside my socks.

(For what it's worth, I bought a pair of Ecco plantar fasciitis shoes several months ago, and they did not make significant impact on my PF on their own. I have now, however, removed their standard insole and wear them now with the PowerStep ones, but I think I might get the same effect from any ordinary athletic shoe + PowerStep insoles).

If the Wii Fit balance board doesn't seem like it will put up with usage in shoes, you might try the sock trick with a a couple wraps of athletic tape to keep the insoles in place while you're moving around vigorously.
posted by SomeTrickPony at 9:06 AM on January 7, 2011

You should see a podiatrist to diagnose your problems. If you have structural problems with your feet, no amount of exercise will fix it and you will need orthotics. The people who say that you can fix all foot problems by going barefoot are just as nutty as the folks who say you can get rid of your glasses by doing eye exercises.
posted by JackFlash at 9:14 AM on January 7, 2011

Response by poster: Wow, I've opened up a can of worms! Thanks, all. I really should go see a doctor, and I'm going to try the taping - and, just keep at it.
posted by fillsthepews at 10:15 AM on January 7, 2011

When I worked at Nintendo it was pretty much SOP for people to take their shoes off when using the board, even when I was showcasing a game PAX. Personally I don't think sneakers or trainers would hurt it, and I think it had more to do with people who had hard soled shoes so it was just an overall shoes-off policy.
posted by P.o.B. at 1:51 PM on January 8, 2011

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