People with flat feet find they have no arch across the bottom of their feet when standing. Some people are born with flat feet or never develop defined arches during childhood, while others get flat feet later in life when their arches “fall,” or flatten.
Congenital flat feet don’t always cause problems, but fallen arches later in life due to injury or obesity is often associated with foot pain that interferes with daily life. If this sounds like you, a few simple exercises can strengthen your foot muscles and prevent further damage.
At Apple Podiatry Group, our expert team specializes in treating a full scope of podiatry concerns. We’ll assess your medical history and current symptoms, explain your treatment options, and help you make an informed decision regarding your foot and ankle care.
If flat feet or fallen arches are contributing to your chronic foot pain problem, we may recommend physical therapy to help you strengthen your arches, improve your balance, stimulate optimal lower extremity circulation, and ease discomfort.
Exercises to strengthen your feet and ankles
Depending on the severity of your flat arches, these foot-strengthening exercises may seem simple or challenging. Whatever stage you’re at to begin with, practicing these four exercises each day can help you strengthen your leg, ankle, and foot muscles and ease arch-related foot pain.
1. Calf raises
This is a good exercise for building strength in your calves and ankles, which helps you improve your balance. You can do this on the floor or on the edge of a step with your heels hanging off. If you’d like, you can gently grip the back of a chair or the edge of a counter for support.
Stand with your feet hips-width apart and slowly lift your heels off the floor, raising up onto the balls of your feet. Slowly lower your heels back down to the floor and repeat. Start with three rounds of eight repetitions to gradually build up your calf muscles.
2. Towel scrunch-ups
Place a small towel on the ground. Put one bare foot on the towel, using your toes to scrunch it up. Repeat the process a few times with each foot. This exercise stimulates the muscles across the arch of each foot.
3. Toe taps
Stand with your bare feet hips-width apart and tap your toes on the ground. How much can you use the arch of your foot to reach your toes out? The goal is to feel the ground under each toe and lengthen and stretch your toes. Foot and toe mobility are important for healthy feet.
4. Heel and toe walking
If you have relatively good balance, practice walking across the room on your heels, toes pointed up, and then reverse the process, so you’re walking on your tip-toes. Both these exercises are good for strengthening ankle and foot muscles; just be sure to practice them with bare feet.
What you can do about flat feet and fallen arches
There are many reasons people develop painful fallen arches, including injury, diabetes, and obesity. Our seasoned team can diagnose your problem and provide effective treatment solutions — including custom orthotics — to help ease your arch-related foot pain for good.
Ready to improve your fallen arches? We can help. Call the Apple Podiatry Group today, or click online to schedule a visit at your nearest office location in Arlington, Irving, Fort Worth, or Flower Mound, Texas, any time.