Embarrassed by your flat feet? Don’t be! They are a very common occurrence, and unless you experience pain or any other symptom because of them, you do not usually need to give them any special attention. 

Let’s find out more about flat feet.

What Are Flat Feet?

Flat feet, pes planus, or fallen arches, is a condition characterized by the flattening of the arch of your feet. 

Normally, the inner part of the foot is slightly raised off the ground to form an arch. This arch helps to evenly distribute the weight of the body on the feet, prevent stress on the feet, and improve balance. 

If you have flat feet, you will either have no arch or have a very low arch in your feet, resulting in one or both feet being flat on the ground. 

Many people with flat feet do not experience pain or other problems. However, for others, flat feet may cause overpronation of the feet (your feet roll toward the inside when you walk). This may lead to an increased impact on the feet while moving, and cause pain in the foot, calf, knee, hip, or back.

Causes of Flat Feet

Flat feet are common in children and generally get rectified with growth. In adults, flat feet may be caused by:

  • Heredity

  • Muscle weakness

  • Injury to the ankle or foot

  • Tarsal coalition (a condition that causes the bones of your foot to fuse together unusually)

  • Neurological conditions such as cerebral palsy (a disability that affects your ability to move and maintain balance and posture)

  • Muscle diseases like muscular dystrophy (a disease that weakens your muscles over time)

  • Arthritis 

  • Obesity

  • Diabetes

Exercises For Correcting Flat Feet

Flat feet can be corrected by strengthening the muscles of the feet, which help to maintain the arch. 

To confirm that the arch of your feet is flexible and to correctly learn strengthening exercises, it is advisable to consult a physiotherapist for guidance. 

The following exercises will help improve the arch and normalise flat feet:

1) Calf Raises

  • Stand straight in a comfortable position.

  • Raise your heels as high as you can, and hold on to a chair or wall for support if needed. 

  • Hold the raised position for 5 seconds, and go back to standing.

  • Do 2 to 3 sets of this exercise with 15 to 20 repetitions.

2) Towel Curls

  • Sit on a chair and place a towel under your feet.

  • Keep your heels still on the floor.

  • Curl your toes to crumple the towel.

  • Press your toes into your foot, hold for a few seconds and release.

  • Do 2 to 3 sets of this exercise with 10 to 15 repetitions.

3) Rolling The Ball 

  • Sit straight on a chair with a tennis or golf ball or rubber ball under your foot.

  • Roll the ball under your foot while focusing on the arch of your foot.

  • Repeat this step for 2 to 3 minutes.

  • Perform the same exercise with the other foot.

4) Toe Raises

  • Take the support of a chair or wall and stand straight. 

  • Lift the toes on your right foot, keeping the left foot on the floor.

  • Hold for 3 to 5 seconds and lower your toes.

  • Repeat this exercise 10 to 15 times for each foot for a total of 3 sets.

5) Arch Lifts

  • Stand with your feet firmly planted on the ground.

  • Keep your toes in contact with the floor the entire time, roll your weight to the outer edges of your feet, and lift your arches up as far as you can.

  • Release your feet back down. 

  • Do 2 to 3 sets of this exercise with 10 to 15 repetitions.

Make a conscious effort to observe any out of the ordinary symptom with your feet. Seek medical help if you experience severe pain while standing or walking. 

Disclaimer: This article is written by the Practitioner for informational and educational purposes only. The content presented on this page should not be considered as a substitute for medical expertise. Please "DO NOT SELF-MEDICATE" and seek professional help regarding any health conditions or concerns. Practo will not be responsible for any act or omission arising from the interpretation of the content present on this page.