Most people with fallen arches (flat feet) won’t experience any signs or symptoms. They might not even realize that they have flat feet! But there are some people with fallen arches that aren’t so lucky. They will suffer from symptoms like chronic foot pain and swelling. They will be more susceptible to conditions like ingrown toenails, calluses and Achilles tendonitis.
Flat feet can’t be cured, but their uncomfortable symptoms can be reduced through strengthening exercises and modified footwear.
How do you get fallen arches?
The most popular cause of fallen arches is age. The older you get, the more your ligaments stretch out and lose their height. Your arches start to relax and eventually lower to the ground. If you sustain a lot of foot injuries over the course of your life, the arches will lower faster due to wear and tear.
Other common things that put people at high risk of getting fallen arches:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Foot injury
- Ankle injury
- Hypermobile/Hyper-flexible feet
What are some common strengthening exercises for flat feet?
One of the best exercises for fallen arches is the towel curl. A towel curl is when you lie a towel flat on the ground, place your feet on top of it, and then scrunch the fabric with your toes. It’s much easier to do when you’re sitting on a chair. Remember to keep your feet parallel to each other, point the toes forward and root your heels into the ground. Eventually, you can make the exercise more challenging by putting a small weight onto the towel.
You should also try calf raises. Start your calf raises on a flat surface by lifting your heels and standing on the balls of your feet. Do it slowly and deliberately, so you don’t roll an ankle.
The exercise targets the calf, the bottoms of the feet, and the ankles, encouraging better stability and support. This benefit is especially important for people who have balance issues and uneven gait because of overpronation. The term overpronation means your foot rolls more inward or downward than it should.
Other exercises that can stretch and strengthen your feet to combat the symptoms of fallen arches:
- Toe extensions
- Arch lifts
- Heel stretches
- Ankle inversions
- Ankle eversions
What footwear modifications will help?
If you have fallen arches, we’ve got your feet covered with orthopedic shoes for any season or special occasion. Do you need sandals for the beach? We have those. Do you need running shoes for the gym? We have them. Are you planning ahead for the winter? We have boots that can get you through piles of snow.
If orthopedic shoes aren’t enough, there are orthotics for flat feet that can give you extra arch support and cushion. You can have the corrective shoe inserts customized to match your feet.
You will need a doctor’s prescription for a custom orthotic order. Once you have that, you can make an appointment at Feet First Clinic. We will need to cast your feet to get the accurate size and shape. Then we will ship the plaster mold to an orthotics fabrication lab, so you can get unique inserts for any shoe you like.
If you feel like your flat feet are bothering you, you can always make an appointment with a chiropodist to talk about it. They can help you come up with an effective treatment plan to combat the discomfort and make everyday activities like walking, running and standing for long stretches of time much easier.