Flat feet are common and cause pain, especially due to injuries, obesity, or arthritis. They have genetic origin and can also develop during pregnancy. If you have flat feet, you need to stretch and add strength to reduce pain and prevent further problems. These exercises will help strengthen your arch in a safe and healthy way.
Effective Flat Feet Exercises to Relieve Foot Pain
Exercises for flat feet should be done under the supervision of a qualified trainer. They may suggest modifications if you have underlying foot or knee issues. Remember they give you a good stretch, so you should stop when you feel sharp or shooting pain.
1. Heel Stretches
Stretching your heel can reduce foot pain and help prevent cramps. From increasing flexibility to even providing some pain relief, be sure to give your heel a stretch from time to time.
Here's how you do it:
- Put your hands against a wall or chair at about shoulder or eye level.
- Extend one leg forward and the other leg behind you.
- Press both heels into the floor and straighten your back.
- Bend your front leg and push against the wall or chair, feeling a stretch at the back of your leg and Achilles tendon.
2. Tennis Ball Roll
Rolling your feet on a tennis ball can reduce foot pain because it allows you to be in control of where contact is made with the ball and the amount of pressure to exert. The smaller the ball, the greater the tension you can direct at various sites on the foot.
Here's how you do it:
- Sit on a chair and place a tennis ball or golf ball under your right foot.
- Roll the ball back and forth beneath your right arch for 2 to 3 minutes, then switch to the other foot.
3. Heel Raises
The heel raise is a simple exercise, usually performed without weights. It is included to enhance general fitness, relieve foot pain, and help in conditioning as part of physical therapy.
Here's how you do it:
- To strengthen the muscles that lift and rotate your arches, stand with your feet directly underneath your hips.
- Keeping your toes in contact with the floor, roll your weight to the outer edges of your feet as you lift your arches up as far as you can.
- Then release your feet back down. Do 2–3 sets of 10–15 repetitions.
4. Calf Raises
Calf raises can quickly and easily reduce foot pain. Stronger calf muscles help provide better stability, less chance of injuries, and are good for quicker running and jumping skills.
To do a standing calf raise:
- Put your feet on an exercise or yoga mat about shoulder-width apart, toes pointing forward.
- If you don't have a calf raise machine, you can perform standing calf raises on the floor.
- Stand up straight, keep your shoulders back and down, and tuck in your stomach.
- Raise your heels slowly as high as you can without locking your knees.
- Hold for a second at this point, then lower back to where you started.
5. Stair Arch Raises
While you’re doing stair arch raises, switch up your positioning just slightly and you can focus on strengthening your arches. It’s a great way to get relief from foot pain quickly.
To do stair arch raises:
- You can lift and tone your calves by standing on a single step several inches off the ground.
- Your heels should be slightly below the toes with your balls of your feet resting on the step.
- Rise onto your tiptoes, pressing down into the step with your toes.
- If you lower down to the step, don’t allow your heels to go below the platform.
- Instead, bring your feet back to a neutral position.
6. Towel Curls
The towel curl is a simple exercise that can reduce foot pain, stretch and flex the foot to improve balance, support the arches of your feet, improve toe strength, and enhance the overall health of your feet.
To do this exercise:
- Sit on a towel with your toes curled underneath you.
- Press the ball of your foot into the floor or towel as you scrunch up your toes.
- Hold for several seconds and relax, then repeat as many times as you wish.
- Keep your heels rooted to the floor and feel an increased strength in the arch of your foot.
You can perform these exercises on a daily basis or as often as needed to reduce foot pain. If you start to see improvements, keep in mind that the key is to monitor your feet positions throughout the day. The more aware you are of how your feet rest and position themselves, the easier it will be adjust your body posture and movement quality improving balance, alignment, and overall foot health.
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