Fallen arches otherwise known as flat feet is when the arch of the foot is nonexistent or lower to the ground than normal. It has been known to cause not only foot pain but also hip, knee, and ankle pain.
Flat feet are associated with a decrease in shock absorption, especially during vigorous activities such as running and jumping. A major contributor to arch height is the tibialis posterior muscle in the foot and shin. If the muscle is weak it can lead to a decrease in arch height and the ability to withstand weight.
Strengthening the tibialis posterior muscle as well as the muscles of the base of the foot can have a strong effect on increasing the integrity of the arch.
It is also good to consider strengthening the other associated areas of weakness such as the knee, hip, and ankle to help with shock absorption. This is because the lead up of excess strain on these joints can lead to injury.
Exercises that can be done to improve the arch and manage pain include:
- Calf raises on both legs while a tennis ball is held between both ankles.
- Using a towel flat on the floor, slowly scrunch it up towards you with your toes. Be sure to maintain your heel on the ground throughout.
If you are experiencing ongoing pain or discomfort, please do not hesitate to contact us for a full assessment. Tailored exercise prescription may be required. You cannot cure flat feet, but we can certainly help you manage it so that it does not affect your everyday activities and livelihood.
Brukner, P., Khan, K., & Brukner, P. (2012). Brukner & Khan’s clinical sports medicine. Sydney: McGraw-Hill.
McKeon PO, Hertel J, Bramble D, et al
The foot core system: a new paradigm for understanding intrinsic foot muscle function
British Journal of Sports Medicine 2015;49:290