Exercises for Flat Feet: Strengthening and Improving Foot Arch Support

Did you know that pes planus/flat feet/fallen arches is a condition when the entire sole contacts the ground, and the arches of the feet are lowered? The foot’s arch collapses, bringing the midfoot closer to the ground, which is why this occurs. Tendons and ligaments extending from the heel to the toes form the foot’s arch of the foot. Normally, this structure forms a small C-shaped curve in the center of the foot. The entire bottom surface of the foot touches the ground when the arch flattens.

Although they are not always an issue, flat feet can lead to discomfort, irregular walking patterns, and more stress on the ankles, legs, and feet. There are several exercises that can help strengthen the feet and improve arch support for people with flat feet. Regularly performing targeted exercises can relieve pain, improve mobility, and prevent complications.

Calf and Achilles Stretches

Tight calves and Achilles tendons can worsen overpronation in flat feet, increasing strain on the arch and forefoot. Doing gentle stretches helps improve flexibility and reduce tension.

  • Stand facing a wall a bit more than arm’s length away. Place hands on the wall at eye level and keep feet shoulder-width apart. Step back with one leg and bend the front knee while keeping the back leg straight. Hold for 30 seconds then switch legs.
  • Sit down and loop a towel, rope, or stretching band around the ball of one foot. Gently pull back on the band to stretch the calf muscle while keeping the knee straight. Hold for 30 seconds then switch feet.
  • Sit down and loop a towel under the ball of one foot. Use the towel to gently pull the foot toward you, feeling a stretch in the calf and Achilles tendon. Hold for 30 seconds then switch feet.

Towel Grabs

This exercise strengthens the toes and intrinsic foot muscles.

  • Sit on the floor and spread a towel out in front of you.
  • Use your toes to scrunch and grab different parts of the towel and lift it off the floor a few inches.
  • Repeat this motion for 2-3 minutes for each foot.

Marble Pickups

  • This exercise improves toe flexibility and control.
  • Place 20-30 marbles or similar small objects on the floor.
  • Use your toes to pick up one marble at a time and place it in a bowl.
  • Repeat until you have picked up all the marbles.
  • Do 2-3 sets per foot.

Foot Intrinsic Exercises

Targeting the foot’s small intrinsic muscles can strengthen the foot arch.

  • Sit with legs extended. Use your toes to spread out a towel or piece of paper on the floor. Crumple it back up using just your feet and repeat.
  • When sitting, pick up marbles by squeezing them between your toes and transferring them one by one into a bowl.
  • Draw the alphabet with your big toe to work the toe muscles.

Doing foot intrinsic exercises for a few minutes daily can noticeably improve arch strength over time.

Besides these exercises, follow the tips mentioned below if you have pain or tenderness in your feet:

  • To reduce pain and inflammation, ice your feet. Several times a day, use an ice pack covered in a towel for ten to fifteen minutes.
  • Apply bandages or compression wraps to offer support and stability. Compression also lessens edema.
  • When your feet start to hurt, take a break. Minimize the things you do that hurt your feet. Take pauses and steer clear of lengthy walking or standing.
  • Put on well-cushioned, supportive shoes that include arch supports or orthotics. Wearing the right shoes can reduce pain from flat feet.
  • Think about getting custom orthotics prescribed by a podiatrist or using over-the-counter arch supports. These disperse weight evenly and sustain collapsed arches.

Doral Health & Wellness employs Podiatrists with extensive education and expertise. Trauma to the tendons, muscles, and bones of the foot is quite common. It’s not a good idea to put off seeing a Foot Doctor Brooklyn until you’re in a lot of pain. Our address is 1797 Pitkin Avenue, New York, NY 11212. To make an appointment, please call +1-347-384-5690 or send an email toinfo@podiatristsbrooklyn.com.