Standing on your own two feet takes on a whole new meaning when you are experiencing foot pain. As we walk through the journey of life, our foot ligaments stretch out, relax and our arches can start to hurt. A common arch affliction is a condition known as flat feet and it can result in a multitude of issues. Not only do flat feet cause pain, but this condition can also create balance issues, back problems, and even affect the nervous system. This is why focusing on foot strengthening exercises and arch strengthening exercises will not only relieve pain, they can strengthen your feet, your ankles, and improve your posture.
What causes flat feet/fallen arches?
In addition to a foot or ankle injury, take a look at some common issues associated with collapsed arches and flat feet:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Neurological/Muscular Disease
Can feet with low arches be strengthened with exercises?
Yes. It is important to stretch and strengthen your foot arch muscles with these effective arch support exercises and foot strengthening exercises:
- Towel Curl: One of the easiest flat foot exercises is known as a towel curl. Simply lie a bath towel on the floor. Sit straight up on a chair and place both of your feet parallel on top of the towel with your heels solid into the ground. Start to scrunch the towel with your toes repeating the motion.
- Heel Stretches: Multiple muscles and tendons go from your calves down throughout the heel and feet. Keeping this entire area completely stretched out will prevent foot pain and issues like plantar fasciitis and tendonitis. Standing straight with hands resting on a chair or wall, place one leg forward and the other extended behind you. Press both heels down into the floor. Bend the front leg until you feel a stretch in the back of the leg. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat four times on each leg.
- Tennis Ball Rolls: This exercise stretches and strengthens the foot arch muscles. Sit straight on a chair with a tennis ball on the floor. Place your foot on top of the ball. Roll the ball under your foot, targeting the arch. A frozen bottle of water is an alternative to a tennis ball. The cold helps reduce inflammation. Repeat on both feet for two to three minutes each.
- Arch Lifts: This is a great arch support exercise. Stand straight with feet parallel and hands on your hips. Engage your core and begin to lift both heels off the floor. Roll your weight to the sides of your feet. Keep your toes solid on the floor. Repeat 10 times.
Do Orthotics Make A Difference?
Yes. What you wear on your feet or inside your shoes will make a big difference in pain levels. Over-the-counter heel pads, orthotic inserts, or orthotic shoes are effective to relieve pain and improve foot and ankle mobility. They help support arches and improve balance.
If you are experiencing foot pain, consult a podiatrist who can customize a program specifically for you.