Understanding Fallen Arches and Flat Feet With Exercises for Treatment
by: Dr. Kelli DuCloux
FALLEN ARCHES & FLAT FEET
The direct cause of being flat footed is linked to a muscular imbalance in the intrinsic muscles of the foot and ankle.
When your main arch-supporting tendon, the posterior tibial tendon, decreases in strength due to muscle decay or injury, the foot begins to flatten and can cause pain during normal activities.
Weakness in the tendon can be present at birth due to
genetics or can develop from early walking patterns.
However, in most people who experience fallen arches, it comes from strain due to aging or placed on the feet from
standing or walking in heels for long periods of time.
Improper footwear that doesn’t support the arch of the foot, diabetes and obesity can increase your risk of developing fallen arches.
Correcting Muscle Weakness in Your Foot
The muscles that are under your feet are responsible for raising the arch of your feet.
When these muscles are weak, the foot flattens and can cause pain.
You can strengthen your intrinsic muscles with a: Pilates-based towel exercise.
1)Sit in a chair with a towel spread on the floor in front
of the towel toward you by pulling the balls of your feet towards your heels.
4)After each small movement, lay your feet flat on the towel, without moving your heels, and pull another piece of the towel toward you.
Standing Considerations in Correcting Arches
If you suffer from fallen arches, the deformity may be more pronounced when you stand.
Any standing exercise will place strain on the posterior tibial tendon and cause the foot to flatten.
Shifting the weight around your foot from the inside to outside edge of your feet while standing can be an effective way to strengthen arches to help correct the fallen arch.
If this adjustment is difficult, a podiatrist might recommend orthotics.
Correcting Arch with Ankle Strength
The large muscles that control your ankle movements can also help fix your arches.
Standing calf raises work these muscles.
Place your toes on the edge of a stair or raised surface with your heels hanging down, and then lift your heels as high as possible.
This movement helps to restore the arches of your feet and strengthen the entire foot and ankle complex as well.
Gradually starting an exercise program and walking in comfortable appropriately fitted shoes will provide the support and strength needed to restore your arches.
Strengthen the arch
1. In standing position lift your toes toward the ceiling. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat 10 times
2. In standing position, stand so that your weight is only on the outside edges of your feet. Then lift your toes toward the ceiling. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat 10 times.
- In standing position, bend knees slightly and concentrate your weight onto the ball of your foot. Then lift your toes toward the ceiling and hold for 10 seconds. (Hold onto a chair or the wall so you do not fall!)
- Slight modification of Exercise #3, after you hold for 10 seconds, angle your feet so that the weight is now
concentrated on the outside edge but still on the ball of your feet. (Your heels should be slightly off the floor). Now lift your toes as far toward the ceiling as you can and hold for 5 seconds. Repeat 5 times.
- In a standing position, grip the floor with your toes and maintain this grip. At the same time, shift your weight to the outside edges of your feet. Hold for 3-5 seconds. Repeat 5 times.
- Get a pen. Place the pen on the ground (cap on) at the edge of your arch as if you were going to slide it under your right foot. Raise your left foot so that all your weight is only on the right foot. (Hold table, chair or wall for support.) Now grip the floor with your right toes. Holding that position (toes gripping floor) angle your foot so that your weight is on the outside edge of your right foot to the point where you CANNOT feel the pen against your arch area. Hold for 3-5 seconds. Repeat 5 times. Switch feet.
AS WITH ANY EXERCISE PROGRAM, CONSULT YOUR PERSONAL PHYSICIAN BEFOREHAND.
ALSO, IF AN EXERCISE IS PAINFUL OR TOO STRESSFUL, STOP IMMEDIATELY.