Flat foot can be an inherited trait, occur after an injury, or appear as you age due to normal wear and tear. If the arches in your feet don’t develop properly or your arches are collapsing, you will end up with flat feet.  Being flat foot is very common and for some many not even cause any harm or pain however for people who are more active, it may cause heel pain or ankle swelling that can be uncomfortable. Here are a few exercises that can help build up your arches so that you can avoid flat foot related pain.

  1. Calf Stretches – There are many variations of calf stretches you can do. One is putting your foot against the wall and leaning in until you can feel your calf stretching. Another is simply pointing your toes forward in a seated position then pointing them backward (towards your body.) Repeat as many times as necessary and hold any positions for about 15-20 seconds. Calf stretches can really help because they increase your ankle’s flexibility.
  2. Tip Toe Stretch – Get on the tip of your toes and push your body to become as tall as possible (you can lean on a wall if you find it difficult to balance at first.) Try to push your big toe into the ground and raise your heel as far up as you can. Gently bring your heels back down and repeat the exercise at least 10 times.
  3. Foot Caterpillar – Sit on a regular sized chair where your legs are able to reach the ground and your knee is at about 90 degrees. Pretend your foot is a caterpillar and inch the ball of your foot closer to your heel. It should form a slight arch as you move. When you can’t move any more bring your feet back to the normal position and start again.
  4. Toe Stretches – Keep your feet planted and slowly lift your big toes up while keeping the rest of your toes against the ground. Hold your toes up for 5 seconds then slowly put them back down. Then slowly lift the rest of your toes while keeping your big toes planted, hold for 5 seconds, then slowly bring them down. Repeat as many times as you like.

These exercises should help you strengthen your feet but especially your arches. If you do them enough you should see a physical change in the shape of your feet. Dr. Kenneth R. Wilhelm of Clifton Foot & Ankle Center has been treating patients with flat foot and other foot and ankle ailments for over eighteen years. If you have any questions call our office at 703-996-3000 or make an appointment here.

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