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What exercises should you do if you have a flat foot?

Updated: Jul 15, 2020

As a personal trainer, one of the postural assessments that I do before training my clients is checking the medial arch of their feet. If the client has a decreased medial arch or a flat foot, it will affect the Achilles tendon, and also I can detect the flatfoot by observing it. Flat foot or pes planus is a condition in which the foot loses its inner arch (becomes pronated or everted). You may either were born with the flat foot which means your flat foot is structural or you’ve developed this condition due to the weakness of ligaments or muscles which is called a functional flat foot. Structural flatfoot happens because of the wrong form of the bones or a change in their shapes. In this case, you can’t fix the flat foot, and you need to wear orthotics to support the arch of your foot. However, for the functional flat foot, there are different treatments including massage therapy and corrective exercises. To correct the flat foot, you should promote inversion or supination of the foot. Some of the muscles which become short like gastrocnemius and soleus should get stretched. On the other hand, two muscles which invert the foot – Tibialis anterior and posterior should get stronger. Here are some exercises related to these muscles. You should do three sets of 10 repetitions for strengthening exercises, and three sets of 30 seconds for stretches, three to four times a week. Remember, you should always consult with your physician before starting any exercise routine.

Strengthening Tibialis Posterior:

keep a tennis ball between the inner side of your feet as you raise your heels. If you don't have a tennis ball, you can do this exercise while your toes point outward (your heels move closer to each other)

Heel raise to treat flat foot

Strengthening Tibialis Anterior:

You may use a Thera band for this exercise and as you keep your knees straight, pull your toes towards your body as shown in the image.

Training the muscles to fix a flat foot condition

Release Plantar fascia:

By using a tennis ball and your own weight, release the tense fascia in the sole area of your feet as you roll the ball forward and backward.

releasing a tense plantar fascia

Peroneus muscle stretch:

This muscle becomes tight in a flat foot condition.

Sit on a chair and turn your toes with your hands towards yourself as shown in the picture to stretch the muscle.

peroneus muscle stretch to fix flat foot

IT band stretch:

A flat foot condition is usually associated with a tight Illiotibial band(IT band).

To stretch this band, you can place the target leg further to the wall as shown in the image and move your hip towards the wall.(In this image the right IT band becomes stretched)

IT band stretch to fix flat foot

Remember to always consult with your physician about your condition before starting any physical activity!

Stay healthy,

Hooman Jamshidi Founder @Dur1 Health Registered massage therapist (RMT), Certified personal trainer, student acupuncturist E: C: 416.726.4652

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