The Best Exercises for Flat Feet
Flat feet, or pes planus, is a condition in which the bottoms of your feet have no arch. It can be congenital or acquired as an adult. For some, flat feet may never cause any pain. However, others may experience chronic pain and fatigue in their feet. Stretching and strengthening exercises can help alleviate this pain. However, keep in mind that even the best exercises for flat feet will not create an arch.
A towel grab can help to strengthen and alleviate pain in the soles of your feet caused by flat feet, also called fallen arches. Place a hand towel on the ground; the towel should be completely flat. Stand with your foot over the towel and use your toes and the bottom of your foot to scrunch the towel up. Next use your toes and feet to flatten the towel. Repeat five times for each foot.
Single Leg Stands
This exercise can help to improve your condition but requires excellent balance. Stand on one leg. Place your hands out to the side to balance, if necessary. Practice raising and lowering the arch of the foot you are standing on. Do this by contracting and relaxing your foot muscles. Complete one set of 10 repetitions for each foot.
Rolling a can underneath your foot can help to stretch the area where your arch should be. Take a canned good and roll it underneath your feet. Roll it from your heel to your toes and back again. Complete this exercise for a few minutes at a time on each foot.
Toe raises can help increase strength on the bottoms of your feet. Sit on the ground with your knees bent and your feet positioned flat on the floor. Keep your toes facing forward. Slowly pull your toes toward your ankles while keeping your heels on the ground. This movement raises the middle portion of your foot. Hold this position for 10 seconds. Relax and repeat. Complete 10 times for each foot, or do both feet at the same time.
- EOrthopod.com: Congenital Flatfoot
- Pita-fernandez S, Gonzalez-martin C, Alonso-tajes F, et al. Flat foot in a random population and its impact on quality of life and functionality. J Clin Diagn Res. 2017;11(4):LC22-LC27. doi:10.7860/JCDR/2017/24362.9697
- Patient.info. Shin splints (medial tibial stress syndrome). Updated March 1, 2018.
- American Academy of Family Physicians. Flat feet. Updated March 13, 2018.
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Vertical talus. Reviewed August 2011.
- Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. Flat feet. Updated March 17, 2019.
- Jankowicz-szymanska A, Mikolajczyk E. Genu valgum and flat feet in children with healthy and excessive body weight. Pediatr Phys Ther. 2016;28(2):200-6. doi:10.1097/PEP.0000000000000246
- Cleveland Clinic. Adult acquired flatfoot. Updated March 2, 2019.
- Park J, Lee SG, Bae J, Lee JC. The correlation between calcaneal valgus angle and asymmetrical thoracic-lumbar rotation angles in patients with adolescent scoliosis. J Phys Ther Sci. 2015;27(12):3895-9. doi:10.1589/jpts.27.3895
- American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. Flexible flatfoot.
- Hollander K, De villiers JE, Sehner S, et al. Growing-up (habitually) barefoot influences the development of foot and arch morphology in children and adolescents. Sci Rep. 2017;7(1):8079. doi:10.1038/s41598-017-07868-4
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Flexible flatfoot in children. Updated October 2018.
- Vulcano E, Deland JT, Ellis SJ. Approach and treatment of the adult acquired flatfoot deformity. Curr Rev Musculoskelet Med. 2013;6(4):294-303. doi:10.1007/s12178-013-9173-z
- Banwell H, Mackintosh S, Thewlis D. Foot orthoses for adults with flexible pes planus: a systematic review.J Foot Ankle Res. 2014;7:23. doi:10.1186/1757-1146-7-23.
- Benedetti M, Ceccarelli F, Berti L, et al. Diagnosis of flexible flat foot in children: A systematic clinical approach. Orthopedics. 2011; 34(2):94-20101221-04. doi:10.3928/01477447-20101221-04.
Michelle Zehr started writing professionally in 2009. She has written on health, fitness, fashion, interior design, home decorating,sports and finance for several websites. Zehr possesses a Bachelor of Arts in communication from the University of Pittsburgh, a Master of Arts in professional writing from Chatham University and a graduate certificate in health promotion from California University of Pennsylvania.