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5 Strengthening Exercises for Flat Feet and Fallen Arches

Maybe you were born with flat feet. Or maybe your feet changed structurally over time, resulting in fallen arches. Either way, the arch of your foot isn’t quite what it should be. That can lead to a number of problems, from foot pain and leg cramps to swelling and bunions.

Fortunately, while you can’t fully change your arches, you can do something to help give your foot the support it needs. Here at North Central Texas Foot & Ankle, Samantha Childers, DPM, and Ricky Childers, DPM, help people with flat feet at their offices in Roanoke and Decatur, Texas. We can tailor a care plan to support your foot health and ease any unwelcome symptoms you’re experiencing.

In a lot of cases, this can be simpler than you might expect. In fact, specific strengthening exercises go a long way. Here are five we might recommend for you:

No. 1: Heel raises

Stand with your feet directly under your hips. Slowly raise your heels off the floor. Hold for a few seconds, then slowly lower your heels back to the ground. Repeat at least 10 times. 

As you’re doing these heel raises, focus on your arches. It’s easy to let your calves do all the work here, but work to engage your arches to help raise yourself to the balls of your feet. 

No. 2: Arch lifts

With your feet flat on the floor, raise your arches as high as you can. You should feel the muscles in the arch of your foot activate. Hold for a few seconds, then release. Repeat at least 10 times. 

It’s OK to roll to the outside edges of your foot and to let your toes curl under as you do this exercise. The goal is to really get the muscles in your arch working. 

No. 3: Toe raises

Again, start by standing with your feet flat on the floor. Now, raise all 10 of your toes off the ground as far as you can. As you do, feel your arches work to help your foot with this motion. Hold for a few seconds, release, then repeat at least 10 times. 

No. 4: Towel scrunches

Get a hand towel and place it flat on the floor. Now, position a chair so one of your feet can rest comfortably with the ball of that foot on the shorter edge of the towel. Use your toes to scrunch up the towel, moving it toward you as much as you can. Repeat until you reach the other edge of the towel. 

Then, lay the towel flat again and repeat with your opposite foot. Again, keep your attention on your arch and try to use it as much as possible to accomplish the scrunching motion. 

No. 5: Modified walking

Set a timer for 30 seconds. While it winds down, walk around only on the balls of your feet, not letting your heels touch the ground. 

Reset the timer and repeat, this time not letting your toes touch (i.e., keep them pointing up in the air so only the ball of your foot and your heel make contact with the ground). 

These exercises can do a lot to strengthen your arch, but they’re often only one piece of the puzzle in treating flat feet. For a personalized care plan, call or message one of our offices to schedule an appointment today. 

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