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I am having flat feet. Planning for judo. Will Judo cause scoliosis or spinal disk degeneration?

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Orthopaedic Surgeon
Practicing since : 1994
Answered : 9086 Questions
Dear Doctor,

I'm thinking of taking Judo but I have a few questions and concerns. Judo is a Japanese martial art and sport that involves throwing down your opponents using leverage and techniques. If you don't know what Judo is, here are video clips of Judo.


I have severe flat feet. My feet is so flat that it literally has no arch and touches all the way to the ground. Do you think there any disadvantages in Judo if a person has flat feet? My flat feet don't bother me so much; it only bothers me when I run for a while and when I play basketball. My back, knee, and feet start hurting after I run or play basketball. I'm afraid I might have a disadvantage in balance or in footwork in Judo because of my flat feet.

Also, does training in Judo for a long time make you shorter? I heard you would be throwing people 3 times your size, so wouldn't that be bad for your spine? If you practice Judo a lot and you are constantly throwing people wouldn't you be shorter over time because of all the weight you'd be throwing?

Would Judo cause scoliosis or spinal disk degeneration over time?
Also, I have really flat feet so if I take judo would the flat feet and judo combined together make me shorter?

I worry about these things the most and these are reasons why I'm hesitating about taking Judo.

Please give me an honest and informative answer.

Thank you doctor.
Posted Wed, 17 Oct 2012 in Exercise
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 2 hours later
Thanks for posting your query.
Flat feet may be a disadvantage in judo as the main thing is balancing in this art.
However, with adequate practice, you can overcome this problem upto some extent.
Judo is an exercise and throwing people larger than you is not going to affect your spine and make you shorter unless you are injured in the spine.
Judo does not cause any scoliosis or spinal degeneration. Rather it decreases the chances of developing these degenerative problems due to a rigorous exercise schedule.
Please do not worry. It will only help you in leading a healthier life.
I hope this answers your query.
In case you have additional questions or doubts, you can forward them to me, and I shall be glad to help you out.
Please accept my answer in case you do not have further queries.
Wishing you good health.
Dr. Praveen Tayal.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: I am having flat feet. Planning for judo. Will Judo cause scoliosis or spinal disk degeneration? 39 minutes later
Thank you for honest answers. I still have one more thing to clear.

I've contacted some Judo players and some of them told me that flat feet can be an advantage because my flat feet are more intact to the ground which can help me stay more balanced and it will be harder for people to throw me. However, based on your answer, I'm guessing this is not true?

Thank you again doctor.

Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 4 minutes later
Thanks for writing again.
Flat feet is a disadvantage as far as balancing is concerned. Being more intact to ground will not help you if your balance is compromised.
Hope my answer is helpful.
Do accept my answer in case there are no further queries.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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