Exercises to Strengthen Feet Turning Inward
Although orthotic shoes can help you walk so that your feet don't turn inward, or overpronate, certain exercises can strengthen you feet and ankles to keep them aligned properly as you walk. Overpronation occurs when your walking motion rolls more on the inside of your foot than the middle, also known as having a flat foot because the movement compresses and flattens the arch.
Curling your toes can help strengthen the muscles on the inside and bottom of your foot to help overcome the bad habit that causes you to turn your feet inward as you walk. This exercise also engages the ankle. With your heel on the ground, curl your toes toward the bottom of your foot and hold for 10 seconds as you lift and lower your foot, using your heel as the pivot point. Release the toes and rest for five seconds, then repeat the exercise for 12 repetitions.
Because overpronation flattens the arch, those muscles aren't used to staying in a firm, curved position. Strengthen those muscles by placing your foot on the floor and curving the middle upward. Curl your toes under your foot and keep your toes and heel on the floor; this exercise often turns your foot slightly outward, which helps you create the curve under your arch. Release the toes. Repeat this exercise for 12 repetitions on each foot. Once you've mastered this exercise, hold your foot in the arched position and lift it outward and inward by the ankle to work the ankle muscles before releasing the toes.
Working with a towel provides some resistance to your toes as you work your foot. Place your foot on the end of a towel on the floor and curl your toes under your foot, gripping the towel as you curl. Pull the towel back under your foot without moving your leg; this should work only your foot muscles. Straighten your foot and curl your toes again, strengthening the arch, until you've pulled the towel 20 times or have crumpled it completely. Add resistance by placing a soup can or a 1- to 2-pound dumbbell on the end of the towel, making it harder to pull.
Overpronation can occur as your foot compensates for tight calf muscles. Loosen the calf muscles and the Achilles tendon with stretches. Place your hands on a wall and step back with one foot. Bend your front knee and straighten your back leg. Move your hips forward until you feel a stretch in your back calf. Hold for 30 seconds, then repeat with the other leg. Make sure both feet are facing forward. You can also sit down and wrap a rolled hand towel around the balls of your feet. Grab one end of the towel in each hand and pull back gently, stretching through the feet and calves. Hold for 30 seconds.