Flat feet is a term that’s often used interchangeably with “fallen arches.” The only real difference, according to the experts, is when the condition happens. While flat feet are congenital, meaning a condition that you are born with, fallen arches typically refer to structural changes in the foot that occur over time. Fallen arches and flat feet are similar, which is why a similar approach is used to treat and exercise them.
Is Exercise Good for Flat Feet?
The simple answer is, yes, exercise is good for flat feet. As long as you don’t experience pain and progress increases in activities or exercise in moderation, there’s actually no good reason why you should limit yourself.
The best thing that you can do for flat feet is exercise, because it creates a lot of muscular support to compensate for the missing structural instability. The ligaments and bones don’t provide the level of structural support you would like them to. It’s similar to strengthening your rotator cuff if you have instability in your shoulder.
It isn’t unusual for a person with flat feet to be wary of either walking barefoot or going without some kind of support. Still, it’s important to get some sort of exercise. If you are constantly using support, those muscles won’t get the work needed to be strong, leading to weakness that can make the instability worse.
Again, as long as you don’t experience any pain and the workouts are progressed in moderation to effectively assess how the feet are tolerating the exercise, it is perfectly okay to be active as long as you feel comfortable.
Strengthening Workouts for Flat Feet
Plenty of amazing exercises can be used to help with flat feet, but you should always consult with your podiatrist, healthcare provider, or physical therapist before you get started. You should always ensure that your footwear is supportive and suitable for flat feet, browse the range at Orthoticshop.com. Since there is such a wide spectrum of flat feet conditions, you should first make a determination of where you are on that spectrum.
You can think of it like this: Any medication has a range of different doses, which is why you first speak with your doctor to determine the most suitable place to start. It’s actually the same thing here. Should you begin with the non-weight bearing workouts or should you add dynamic movement and weight-bearing to the workouts?
Here are some of the workouts that people with flat feet should consider:
Arch lifts are also known as “foot doming” and they involve keeping your feet flat on the floor and then raising the foot’s arch as much as you can, rolling the foot’s weight to the outside while keeping your toes and heel on the ground.
The great thing about this exercise is that it can be performed either while sitting or standing. It is great for strengthening the foot’s intrinsic muscles and research shows that it can also help with other conditions such as plantar fasciitis.
Using your toes to pick up muscles is another exercise that helps strengthen the intrinsic (deep) muscles in the feet. Place 10 to 20 muscles on the floor next to a bowl. While seated, grab each marble using your toes and place it in the bowl. Using your toes to pick up a towel can give you a similar workout.
Heel raises are a simple workout. Start with the feet flat on the floor and then raise your heels, ensuring that you put the weight on the balls of your feet. Hold this position for several seconds and lower yourself down slowly.
Heel Walking and Toe Walking
You can strengthen the muscles in your feet and ankles by walking across the room on your heels with the toes in the air. Repeating the workout on your toes with your heels in the air(walking tip-toe) can also do the same.