Flat feet, often known as fallen arches or pes planus, have little to minimal arch. Therefore, the foot’s arch collapses when standing, and the sole makes complete or almost total contact with the ground.
Genetics, accidents, obesity, age, and pregnancy, all of which promote laxity (or looseness) in the foot’s ligaments, are some of the primary reasons for flat feet.
Because flat feet can be uncomfortable and at times painful, flat feet exercises are essential for avoiding damage and suffering. Here are some home exercises you may attempt.
Short foot exercise
The short foot exercise aims to shorten the foot by tightening the foot muscles and dragging the big toe joint toward the heel to elevate the arch.
Sit in a chair with your feet bare on the ground to do it. Try to shorten your foot without crushing your toes by moving the ball of your foot closer to your heel, doming the arches in your feet.
Do it one foot at a time, keeping your toes flat on the floor and not curling or stretching them. Relax after eight seconds of holding the position. Rep eight to twelve times more. Once you’ve mastered the exercise while sitting, you may take it further by performing it while standing.
Strengthening of the posterior tibial tendon
This exercise supports the foot arch and requires only a tennis ball. It may be done either sitting or standing. First, squeeze the ball in between your ankles. Then, carefully elevate both of your heels off the ground on your tiptoes simultaneously.
By softly squeezing, you may maintain your toes to the ground and the ball in place. Hold the stance for a few seconds before carefully (approximately four seconds) lowering your heels to the floor. Perform three sets of ten raises, resting in between.
Calf wall stretch
Flat foot workouts work not just your feet but also the surrounding areas. Now comes the calf wall stretch. The calf stretch enhances the ankle range of motion, especially ankle dorsiflexions. However, calf muscles that are tight and short impede this action.
Stand about arm’s length away from a wall to complete the stretch. Step forward with your left leg and back with your right leg, bending your left knee and pressing through your right heel. Hold the stance for 20 to 30 seconds, ensuring your right heel contacts the ground. Rep with the other leg. Complete the stretch three times on each side.
Plantar fascia elongation
Flat feet can place immense strain on the plantar fascia, a ligament at the bottom of the foot. The plantar fascia runs down the bottom of the foot, which connects the heel bone to the toes. This can cause discomfort and inflammation in the region, known as plantar fasciitis.
Sit in a chair and cross your right foot over your left knee to extend the region. Stretch the bottom of your foot by pulling your toes back. Hold it for 30 seconds while massaging the bottom of your foot. Rep with the other foot. To finish the stretch, repeat three times on each side.
Your toes, too, deserve some love. The toe lift exercise improves foot stability and balance by strengthening the intrinsic (or inner) muscles in your feet.
Maintain your foot placement and progressively raise your big toes while maintaining the rest of your toes flat on the ground. Hold your toes up for five seconds, then slowly lower them. Then, while keeping your big toes planted, carefully elevate the remainder of your toes, hold for five seconds, and then slowly lower them. Repeat on each side six to eight times.