Squatting with orthotics...

Hey everyone:

For those of you who are flat-footed and have orthotics…

Do you squat with your orthotics?



I have clients with Flat Feet and I generally keep them away from any bilateral squatting motion until there is an appropriate amount of strength in the arches of their feet.

When you have your orthodics in, they can make you weaker, but they will improve the alignement of the hips and knees through the range of motion.

I always choose alignment over load, but you may have other goals. It all depends on what you’re looking to get from the squat.

Check out the Flexor Hallicus Longus exercise in John Defranco’s Vertical Jump article to help improve your arch strength.

Hey Rob,

Would the “sport sandals” that Eric Cressey mentions in a T-Mag article, assist an athlete with flat feet? I know they help with teaching you to fire the glutes properly.

How bout in proper weightlifting shoes? Can you fit orthotics in there? My feet are pretty flat and I’ve been wearing orthotics for a couple years and I was considering buying some weightlifting shoes…anybody know if you can wear orthotics in those?

i use orthodics in chuck taylors… you can help fix a flat foot though…

avoiding a bilateral squatting motion = mostly sticking with lunges, deadlifts, and machines?

I was born with my right foot club-footed. It got straightened out over time thanks to casts and those shoes with the bar in the middle. The lasting result is that both feet are severely flat; my right lower leg (calf, ankle, and foot) being significantly smaller than my left: at least an inch on the calf, half an inch on the ankle, and a shoe-size on the foot.

I’ve always had problems with my balance on squats. I hit a sticking point and then my form kinda goes to cr@p if I want to go all the way down. Sometimes my sticking point is just above parallel; so even powerlifting squats are questionable.

I’ve also got problems with my knees. Any kind of deep knee bend, even with bodyweight, will give me some killer tendinitis in my knees.

I’m curious if anyone’s got any recommendations. Currently I drop the weight way down to go perfect, “low as I can go” form, and use a heavier weight to try to hit thighs parallel for the purpose of load. I feel I could go much heavier if i wasn’t afraid of falling over.

n e body got any more info?

You may want to try doing Peterson step ups in place of squats for a while. I’d do them on a platform about right below your knee level. Try them without weight and work up from there. They will strengthen your quads and get rid of the tendonitis. Add some split squats with rear foot elevated on a bench, they will hit the VMO.

I’ve been squatting with orthotic inserts in various tennis shoes and running shoes, since about 1991. I’m too cheap and broke to buy $100+ lifting shoes, but I suspect that orthotics will work in them just fine. They work in every pair of shoes or boots I’ve had, except the gymnastics slippers I use for the deadlift in competition. Strength & courage,
Coach Joe

Thanx TrenchDawg!
I’ll get on that today.


I developed a terrible case of plantar fasciatis (when the arch muscle gets screwed-up) in both feet about two years back as a result of skipping rope on a concrete floor (i box) and from running sprints on the top of a concrete parking deck (yeah, i know, not too bright, but hey my jungle is made of concrete, not peat moss). It got so bad I would tape the hell out of my feet and leave them taped up for days so i could go to work and hit the gym. When the smell got too much i’d rip off the tape, wash my feet and do it all over again. Finally i went and saw a foot doc who set me up with custom orthodics (damn things were expensive). But i tell you it was money well spent. It took a while to get use to them but now i wear them in every kind of shoe i wear and my feet feel great. I do road work and sprints (i found a track) in running shoes with the orthodics inside. And i box and lift weights in wrestling shoes with the orthodics inside. The one thing i found was that i have to buy shoes 1/2 size larger than before cause the orthodics take up some space.

But the things have been a lifesaver for me. I wouldn’t squat or bang without them.


I kickbox, which means a lot of the same time spent with the rope.

Some days it’s murder on my knees; sometimes I can even feel it in my hips.

It got worse when we switched from a cushy rug to a hardwood floor. Going back to a softer surface made it harder to have the same bounce.

I had to replace roadwork with elliptical crosstrainer; running is absolute murder on my knees. Plus the cross trainer has some interval training settings which is nice, because you can keep a close track on things.

I invested the 2 or 3 hundred on the custom orthotics. They seemed alright, but I think I tore through 'em in like a month or two. The guy at the clinic said to replace them every 6 months on average.

Sorry man, but I can buy more supplements with that money. hehe

Wider stance has helped out a lot.
Doing lunges with the back foot on the bench is kinda awkward.

When I stand up, I have an arch, but when I walk apparently I lose the arch. I got a set of $300 orthotics when I was 15, apparently designed with athletes in mind, and they tore up my feet, I had awful blisters for about 3 months. I bought a bunch of the Dr. Scholl’s inserts, sport and work, and I havn’t had problems since. Jumping rope is out of the picture, but I didn’t have any problems with track or rugby where I wasn’t on a super-hard surface.