How to fix Flat Feet


Image courtesy of FrameAngel at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

How to fix flat feet?…  It’s not as difficult as you would think.

The purpose of this blog post is to provide you everything that you will need to help fix your flat feet.

 

// What is Flat feet?

how to fix flat feet 

It is a type of foot posture which involves the collapse of the inner arch of the foot.

As a result – the bottom of the foot is in complete contact with the floor.

This can occur in one or both feet and can be seen whilst standing still and/or walking (referred to as over pronation).

Also referred as: pronated foot, fallen arches and/or pes planus.

// What causes fallen arches?

1. It’s in your DNA:


Image courtesy of rajcreationzs at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Genetic features can be inherited from your parents. (… and that includes Flat feet!)

This is referred to as Structural flat feet.

This is where the bone alignment of your foot is flat.

Unfortunately in this situation, no matter how strong your muscles or how good your shoe is, your bony structure can not be changed. (BUT – This is actually pretty uncommon from what I’ve seen in the clinic)

Did you know…. that all babies are actually born with flat feet?… The foot arch naturally forms as the baby starts to walk and develop stronger muscles in the foot.

 

2. Your foot muscles aren’t working properly:

This is where the vast majority of you will fall under.

(… and that’s actually great news! WHY?… Because we can fix this!)

You either have:

  • No real control of your feet and/or;
  • Weak/tight feet muscles

… both of which can result in the collapse of the foot arch.

This is referred to as Functional flat feet.

Other factors that may contribute:

  • Increase in body weight
  • Improper shoe wear
  • Ineffective posture
  • Incorrect techniques in sport

 

 

// How to determine if you have it

Whilst standing:

Look at your feet.

There should be an obvious arch on the inside of your foot.

As a rough guideline: You should be able to fit the tips of your fingers underneath the arch of your foot.

If there is no gap between the bottom of your foot and the floor, then you probably have Flat feet.

Whilst walking:

Check out your foot print at the beach! Which one are you?

// Conditions associated with Flat feet

… Is your flat feet causing any of these problems?

a) Plantarfasciitis:

b) Big toe bunion:

c) Heel spur:

d) Lower back/Hip/Knee problems:

 


How to fix Flat Feet

These exercises are intended to help people who experience flat feet whilst standing and/or walking.

flat feet exercises
Image courtesy of Flare at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Note: It is important that each exercise is pain-free and performed in a gentle manner. If you are unsure if you are doing the exercise correctly, please feel free to message me on the Facebook page.


How to fix Flat feet:

  1. Stretches
  2. Releases
  3. Importance of your big toe
  4. Foot strengthening exercises
  5. Taping
  6. Orthotics
  7. Other areas to consider

 

“So… how do you get an arch in your foot?”

// Stretches

The calf:

Tight calf muscles (Gastrocnemius and Soleus) will limit the amount of movement that the ankle can bend (also known as dorsiflexion).

Having full range of motion in your ankle is particularly important when you are walking, running, squatting and jumping.

Without proper movement and flexibility, the ankle will compensate by over pronating (… which is a fancy way of saying that your foot arch collapses) during movement.

Quick assessment: How to test your ankle flexibility

Get into the position as shown above.

Aim to get your toe roughly 8cm from the wall with your knee still in contact with the wall. (… and don’t lift your foot off the ground!)

Can you get the 8cm?… If you can’t, check out this post to improve your ankle mobility.

a) Gastrocnemius

Instructions:

  • Stand on the edge of a step.
  • Lower both of your heels.
  • Aim to feel a superficial stretch in your calf muscle.
  • Hold this stretch for at least 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 3 times.

b) Soleus

Instructions:

  • Assume the lunge position.
  • Bend the ankle at the front as much as you can by lunging forward.
  • Aim to feel a deep stretch in your calf muscle.
  • Hold this stretch for at least 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 3 times.
  • Note: This will also help loosen up any stiffness in the ankle joint.


// Releases

a) Plantarfascia

Instructions:

  • Place your foot on a massage ball.
  • Apply pressure on the ball.
  • Roll your foot up/down
  • Do this for 1-3 minute.

b) Achilles tendon

Instructions:

  • Sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you.
  • Place the back of your achilles tendon on a ball.
  • Apply a downward pressure.
  • Rock your foot from side to side.
  • Duration: 1-3 minute

c) Peroneal

The peroneal muscles are located on the outside of your lower leg. If tight, this muscle can cause your feet to collapse inwards.

Here’s how to release it:

Instructions:

  • Place the outside of your lower leg on a massage ball.
  • Apply pressure over the ball.
  • Make sure to cover the whole outer side of the lower leg.
  • Draw circles with your ankle to increase release.
  • Duration: 1-3 minute


// The importance of your big toe

Your big toe is more important than you think… especially when it comes to fixing flat feet during walking.

It is CRUCIAL that your big toe has:

  1. the ability to extend (in other words, it must be flexible)
  2. adequate strength  (… how many of you specifically work out your big toe at the gym?)

The combination of these 2 factors will help engage and lift of the medial arch of the foot.

Without sufficient big toe function, the foot is forced to roll inwards resulting in a Flat foot posture.

Big toe exercise

Instructions:

  • Place the bottom of your big toe onto the side of a door frame.
  • Lean your foot into the wall to create a stretch of the big toe.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Whilst maintain your position, press your big toe firmly into the wall for 30 seconds.
    • Feel the muscles underneath your foot contract firmly.
  • Repeat 3 times.


// Strengthening

We need to strengthen the muscles that will encourage an arch in your feet.

This is namely the action of the Tibialis Posterior, Tibials Anterior and plantar foot muscles.

** The Short foot exercise – the MOST important exercise!


I call this the “king” of all foot exercises.

It is the fundamental exercise that all other variations/progressions are based on.

You need to learn how to do this correctly! Don’t rush it.

Instructions:

  • Stand with your feet facing forwards and shoulder width apart.
  • Whilst keeping your toes relaxed, proceed to scrunch the under-surface of your foot.
    • Imagine that you are dragging your big toe backwards.
  • If performed correctly, you should be able to feel the strong contraction of the muscles underneath your foot.
    • Does it feel like it’s going to cramp? THAT’S GREAT! You are recruiting the right muscles.
  • Hold this for 5 seconds.
  • Repeat 20 times.

Note: It is called the Short foot exercise because it actually makes you drop a shoe size.

Progressions:

a) Heel raise/drop with ball

Instructions:

  • Stand on the edge of a step.
  • Place a small ball between your ankles.
  • Activate short foot. (see above)
  • Squeeze the ball with your ankles throughout all movements.
  • Perform a heel raise and drop.
  • Repeat 30 times.

b) Step through

 

Instructions:

  • Have your feet in a staggered position.
  • Activate short foot in your leading leg. (see position 1)
  • Whilst maintaining short foot on the leading leg, step forward with the back leg.
  • As the swinging leg is about to land on the ground, push off from the big toe.
  • You should feel a contraction in your arch through movement.
  • Repeat 30 times.

 

c) The Michael Jackson lean

Instructions:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart.
  • Activate short foot throughout exercise. (see above)
  • Keeping your legs straight, lean your whole body forwards from the ankles.
    • You will need to dig your toes into the ground to prevent you from falling forward.
    • You can do this in front of a wall if you feel you are going to fall forward.
  • Use your feet/toe muscles to prevent yourself from falling and return to the starting position.
  • Repeat 10 times.

(If you are unsure why this exercise is called the Michael Jackson lean, go Youtube it now!)


// Improve your toe control

The entire human race has forgotten how to use their foot muscles!

We have absolutely no idea how to properly co-ordinate, control and move our feet.

This is a big problem!

Why?… Because the muscles that control your feet also play a huge role in the support of the foot arch.

Try out these 2 exercises to get your brain connecting to your foot again.

a) Alternate toe lift

Instructions:

  • Position 1: Lift up only your big toe whilst pushing the other 4 toes into the ground.
  • Position 2: Push your big toe into the ground whilst lifting the other 4 toes.
  • Transition smoothly between these 2 positions.
    • Keep your foot still. Your toes should be the only thing that is moving.
  • Repeat 30 times.
    • (… or as many times it takes to get the movement happening)
    • It’s harder than it looks 😛

b) Toe spread/squeeze

Instructions:

  • Position 1: Spread all of your toes. (without bending your toes or moving your foot)
  • Position 2: Squeeze all of your toes together. (without bending your toes or moving your foot)
  • Transition between these 2 positions.
  • Repeat 30 times.

 


// How to tape for Flat feet

You can provide additional support to your foot by taping the arch of the foot.

 


// Orthotics: Good or bad?

Orthotics for flat feet

Orthotics are inserts which are placed in your shoe.

It’s function is to provide an external support to lift up your arch.

… Sounds good, right?

However… The main issue I have with orthotics is that it makes your already weak foot muscles even weaker. You become reliant on the orthotic without giving your muscles any real chance to self-correct the problem.

If you are considering getting an orthotic for your flat fleet, please consider doing the following exercises FIRST.

 

 


// Other areas to consider:

But wait!… there’s more!

We’ve already been through all of the foot exercises that will need do.

And they will definitely help you out.

But… there are certain postures of the body that may be the ROOT CAUSE of your flat fleet.

Check out these blog posts to find out more:

 


Remember: Do your exercises… every day!

Try to incorporate the short foot activation in everything that you do!

Standing, walking, running….

The more you do it, the better you will get!

 

Here’s what to do next:

Any questions?… Leave me a comment down below. (I reply to EVERYONE)

– Follow me on Facebook.

About

I am a physiotherapist who has personally experienced the pain as a result of bad posture. I would like to offer you some of the solutions that I and my patients have greatly benefited from.

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69 thoughts on “How to fix Flat Feet

  1. Hi Mark, my daughter is 9 years old and she have flat feet with ankles wear inward, while she walk she always keep her feet pointing outside, and it looks like she have a duck walk. She start running, but it doesn’t helps a lot till now. We will start your excercises today, hope that they will help her. Best wishes from Macedonia.

  2. Ok! Hello I’m Mickey and I do believe ive had these flat feet since day one. Im 31 in a few days!! Here’s the thing, I dont experience too much pain unless Im wearing insane high heels or been walking for a long distance. I do experiece a very painful Charlie horse like cramp where my arch should be at times…painnnnnn! Here’s another kicker, I wear heels/boots anything with a heel, im most comfortable on an incline…Im at a point wesr im embarrases to wear flats showing my legs due to my feet caving inward, its not appealing. So this is a great site I booked marked because i am going to incorporate these moves.

    1. Hey Mickey you’re so fine, you’re so fine, you blow my mind.

      (Sorry! That was the first thing that came to my head.)

      It’s vital that you have strong feet.. especially if you are getting issues with them. Fix the problem whilst it’s small!

      All the best with these exercises!

      Mark

  3. Hi Mark, I don’t have fallen arches…I have feet that have never HAD arches. I got custom orthotics years ago and they help, but haven’t completely fixed my problem. I have poor posture and many issues that go with that. The only solution I can think of is surgery since I’ve tried many of the exercises you recommended over the years and nothing every gave me an arch. Thoughts?

    1. Hey Peter,

      Do you have structural flat feet? This means the orientation of your bones have caused a lack of an arch.

      If this is the case, I would still suggest strengthening your foot muscles as much as you can.

      I would advise against surgery if possible!

      Mark

  4. Hi Mark,
    I left a comment on ”how to fix a rotated pelvis” page and for some reason it disappeared. I have a right rotated pelvis and as a result my left ankle is suspinated/right pronated and have a bunion only on my left foot. I’m planning to do the flat feet exercises in addition to the pelvis correction exercises to prevent my pelvis from rotating again after fixing it due to the bunion.

    I was wondering, in addition to all the exercises you mentioned in this post, would walking/exericisng with foot separators help reduce a bunion? If so, should I wear it only one side with a bunion or both sides?
    Thank you 🙂

    1. Hi Clare,

      All comments need to get screened before I allow them to appear on the website to avoid spam comments.

      Toe separators will help stretch out the space between your toes. I will also suggest that you avoid wearing narrow shoes for long periods (esp. high heels!)

      I would wear it both sides 🙂 I like to wear mine for a couple of hours when I’m at home.

      Mark

  5. Hi Mark ,
    I am a 33 year old woman who was diagnosed with posterior tibial tendon dysfunction Grade II in left foot in 2016 dec. I was told by my doctor to use orthotics which I never did . My left arch started falling but I did not notice it .One year later my left knee started paining and MRI results showed that I have lateralisation of patella in left knee. I think I have
    anterior pelvic tilt also Now I have started using
    orthotics and knee brace and following the exercises
    given by you for knee valgus and anterior pelvic tilt.
    I sometimes feel pain in posterior tibial tendon and in shin bone of my left leg . I dont know why but I feel little pain in my right leg posterior tibial tendon also and some pain in right knee also. Please help me . What exercises should I follow to get rid of so many problems. Being a mother of a little girl I dont get enough time to do whole lot of exercises. Help me please.

    1. Hi Niki,

      If you are short on time, I would just focus on the “SHORT FOOT” exercise for now.

      Engage the muscle and practise stepping with the other leg.

      Good foot position will help with a better knee position in the long term.

      Mark

  6. Hi! I am 34 and have had bunions since I was 13ish. One foot is much worse than the other. I overpronate but I’ve recently learned that if I activate my flutes while walking it’s not so bad. I’m going to try the exercises for sure (there’s hope for my ‘good’ foot but I’ve been putting off surgery of the bad foot to straighten my toe because it’s not causing me loads of pain as long as I wear the right shoes etc. however because my toe is so far over my foot is unstable no matter what I do. Wondering is it better for overall body alignment to get the op… surgeons all say go for it, but they are only looking at my foot. They don’t bother looking at the whole kinetic chain. I get the feeling these exercises may be good for strengthening my foot prior to surgery?

    1. Hi Jo,

      Bunion surgery will essentially render that big toe joint IMMOBILE as they usually have to fixate a rod through it after cutting the bone to force it straight.

      Without your big toe, there is going to be a chain reaction in the whole system. (which has already likely happened to some extent due to your bunion).

      So- Whether you have surgery or not, the body is going to have to compensate either way.

      Which ever way you decide to go – these exercises will help you out !

      Mark

  7. I am not sure if my flat-feet situation is structural or not. Do you have any suggestion about how to differentiate between the two types?

    Thank you ^^

  8. Hi Mark.
    Great post. I’m wondering if I should do the toe spread exercise while my foot is on the ground or in the air. I feel the dynamic is slightly different. What do you think?

  9. Hi, i’m currently trying to join the millitary. But i have flat overpronating feet. is it possible to get it so i can carry weights of up to and above 100lbs and not have my feet over pronating. it would be great to have a chat with you. I could really use your help.

    1. Hi Thomas,

      If you strengthen your foot muscles (and your flat foot is not structural), you should be able to lift 100lbs without the arches collapsing.

      Mark

  10. I am trying to do the toe lifts. On my left side it’s quite easy to lift big toe independently of others but not on my right foot. Any tips for training my right toe to activate? It’s a bit like being able to wink with your left eye not your right in that seems very hard to get my brain to do it!

  11. I am 22 year old.I have flat foot,but when i stand on toes ,a little arch appears.Actually I want to join Army,and flat foot is not accepted.
    Is there is any way that how will i fix my flat foot as soon as possible?
    Eagerly waiting for ur answer Sir.

  12. Hello, do you think fallen Arches can contribute to my big toe adduction, meaning the big toe is pointing more medial instead of straight ahead? This issue is causing me to have pretty wide feet. I’m 35 yr female and am trying to purchase supportive shoes for work. I can wear athletic shoes so I got Brooks Adrenaline GTS 18 but cannot find any that do not rub against my big toe. I’m not sure if it’s ok to rub as long as it’s not painful? I keep ordering the next size up and returning (by mail) the old size. I’m up to men’s 9 EEEE. please help!

    1. Hi Sierra,

      Collapsing arches can cause you to place your weight on the side of your big toe (as opposed to directly underneath it) as you push off during walking. It will also lead to a flattening your foot causing a wide appearance.

      This will cause your big toe deviate towards the other toes and leads to issues like big toe bunions.

      Try to find a shoe with a wide foot box. The problem with most shoes these days is that they are far too narrow at the front! (which will squash your toes together… even worse for high heels!)

      Mark

  13. Hi there, Mark. Great site. You really give great and thoughtful instructions on how to fix most of the posture problems that have become so rampant in our society. I have a question regarding flat feet/fallen arches. In the first picture you are able to get your feet to be totally flat,and after this in the second picture you somehow correct your feet so that it has a vissible arch. How are you able to do this. My second question is regarding the genetic factor of flat feet. You are stating that most people have problems with their feet muscles,but at the same time I have seen people that don’t do feet exercises and have pronounced arches. Is creating an arch in your feet something you have to consciously be doing the whole time? In their default position sometimes my arches have a tendency to flatten a bit and this concerns me.

    Thanks in advance Mark. Keep on the good work with the site 🙂

    1. Hi Christopher,

      A healthy foot should be able to transition between foot pronation (flat arch) and supination (arch). Both are important and normal in gait pattern.

      As some people have more flat arches… you will also have people that will have a high arch.

      People with high arches can have a whole lot of problems as well. (Keep in mind, the goal is to have a neutral arch when standing).

      These exercises should be able to help with your flat arches. In the beginning, you want to consciously engage the arch muscles as to get the stronger. With continued effort, it will become natural for you.

      Mark

  14. Hi Mark!
    I’m 16 years old and I have just realized that I have had Anterior Pelvic Tilt AND flat feet for a long time. I want to fix these issues but I can not be sure what I should do. Is my APT caused by flat feet? If so, can I still fix my APT by doing APT exercises? Do flat feet exercises help fixing my APT? How exactly are they related to each other? Thanks for your reply.

    1. Hey Haydar,

      Your flat feet and APT may be biomechanically linked. (If it helps – Think of it kind of like a stack of dominoes.)

      But then again, they could be 2 separate issues.

      If you physically hold your foot (and get someone to do for you) in a neutral position, and your pelvis positions improves, then it is likely that the foot is contributing to the pelvis.

      Similarly – if your correct your pelvis position, and the feet automatically improve, then then pelvis is contributing to the foot.

      In many cases, it actually goes both ways. Pelvis < -affects/and is affected by->Foot

      Mark

  15. Hi Mark,
    I have one inquiry :Will the exercises for the flat foot help mi fix the big toe bunion? I’m having this Bunion problem for months now, and is pretty painful but also ugly to see and hard to wear shoes. Reading your materials, I am pretty much convinced that I have many of the postural problems you describe, if not all of them, due- I think- to a hyper mobility that runs in my family. Apart from the hunchback I have, looking at my body posture it seems to my that I have also lumbar forward position. From what I read in your materials, the starting point for 2 herniated discs I have in the lumbar zone, and also for the recently collapse of my foot arch it might be the improper position of my lumbar spine? Or the lumbar problems might be the result of the thorax kyphosis?
    I am sorry for make it so complicated 😊
    Thank you so much. the articles in your page are extraordinary, made me discover various postural problems I had neglected for years and convinced me to try to fix them.

    1. Hey Daniela,

      Improving your foot posture will most likely stop the bunion from progressing.

      It may also help correct your big toe bunion, however, it really depends if it has already fused in that position.

      In regards to what postural problem came first? That’s hard to answer through the internet… but I would definitely try to address them all eventually.

      Mark

  16. Hi Mark,

    I too have flat feet & over-pronation, and have recently started with your exercises. I have started doing Crossfit, and really struggle with squats; I just can’t get down far enough and my legs are achey after squats (with relatively much less weight than I use for other lifts). Any suggestions for what I should do beyond these exercises?

    Thanks.

      1. I also get pain around my knees when I go low and I’ve Been told that’s related to the flat feet. Anything for that? Thanks!

  17. I have Structural flat that I get it from my parent.What will I do for that? May I have a hope so that my feet have arcus?
    Thanks

    1. Hi Johannes,

      If it is indeed Structural… this means the joints are essentially “stuck” in that flat position.

      However – you can still try to optimise your foot movement by doing these exercises.

      Mark

  18. Hello Sir,
    I’m Johannes from Indonesia,
    I’m sorry first because my english is not so good

    I am 18 years old and I want to be a cadet,but I have flat feet.I realized it in Last January on this year.I don’t know how to fix it.But I see one people .He told me that he has flat feet before.He said that he has total flat feet and he use medial arch support.So I use the insole too since last september.Until today i had bought 3 medial arch support and the result is nothing.
    I am total flat feet. I want to ask you sir,is the flat feet can be cured and my feet have arcus?and how long?
    Hope you reply sir soon

      1. I’m sorry Sir
        Because i forget to say that I have Structural flat that I get it from my parent.What will I do for that? May I have a hope so that my feet have arcus?
        Thanks

  19. Hello Sir,
    I’m Johannes from Indonesia,
    I’m sorry first because my english is not so good

    I am 18 years old and I want to be a cadet,but I have flat feet.I realized it in Last January on this year.I don’t know how to fix it.But I see one people .He told me that he has flat feet before.He said that he has total flat feet and he use medial arch support.So I use the insole too since last september.Until today i had bought 3 medial arch support and the result is nothing.
    I am total flat feet. I want to ask you sir,is the flat feet can be cured and my feet have arcus?and how long?

  20. Hello. Mark. Glad I come across your mind easing article. Whenever I stand my feet gets overpronated. And it shape looks awkward I hope your exercises would me out ? Thanks and God bless,

  21. Hi Mark
    I read your blog and it was really very helpfull but I am not able to understand if I really have flat feet. When I did the wet test, it was pretty much normal(normal feet). But when I stand and check it looks like my feet are flat. Please help me out.

    1. Hey Aarya,

      Sounds like you have fairly “normal” arches that drop to an extent when you put weight through it.

      You can still benefit from doing the exercises in the post.

      Mark

  22. hey Mark,
    thank you so much for such a detailed and informative blog on flat feet.
    I have flat feet since childhood. but with someone’s suggestion to use bottle to help gain the arch, it has appeared only on my right feet. My left feet is still flat and i try very hard to get arch on it as well… can you please tell me the reason as to why my left feet has still not obtained the arch?
    also by performing these above mentioned exercises, will i be able to get an arch on left feet??
    thank you.

    1. Hi Kyra,

      If the exercises aren’t helping with the left foot:
      – You have have structural flat feet. This just means this is how your bones were put together. We might be able to influence some change, but it may not be a whole lot.
      – Your flat feet are due to somewhere further up the chain. (Eg. The pelvis position).
      – You are not performing the exercise correctly.
      – Some other factor (there are heaps!)
      – Most commonly, you need more TIME.

      Mark

  23. Hey Mark! This is a very informative blog about flat feet! However, since 1 month i have been facing a dull aching pain in and around my knees due to flat feet (maybe)! (Sometimes pinching feel on the top of my knee). I would feel swelling like on top of my knee. I have been to an orthopedist and was told that i have chondromalacia patella and he suggested me insoles and one exercise to strengthen my quadriceps. However i was given no exercise for flat feet. Can you suggest me some exercise for flat feet to reduce knee pain. And also if i follow the above exercises how long will it take to regain a corrected arch? Also, will flat foot lead to problems like arthritis in future? Thanks in advance!

    1. Hey Harsh,

      If your knee pain is due to your flat feet, then all of the exercises on this article will help with that. It’s all about optimal alignment as you move.

      You might also need to look at your technique is you run, go to the gym, play a sport etc.

      In terms of how long, it really depends! Everyone is different.

      As your feet are the foundation of your body, if they are not functioning properly, it may lead to movement issues which then can lead to arthritis.
      Mark

  24. Thanks for the great article Mark! I have started incorporating all the exercises into my practice. I have flat feet AND overpronation. Will the exercises help the overpronation as well or will I need to add different exercise in conjunction to the aforementioned ones?

    Thanks, Scott

  25. Story of my life haha!
    Hyperlax hip/ankle joints, valgus knee, anterior pelvic tilt and of course flat feet (and now hallux valgus) have led me to wear orthotics pretty much all this time.
    Now 25yo, soft tissue therapist and determined to change this exercise! It’s a shame most health professionals oriente us to the easy-lazy solutions from the start. Where’s the passion in client care and reeducation?

    Like you said, babies are born with flat feet. On that note, I learnt that shoes should only be introduced as late as possible to children for them to build those foot muscles and turn flat feet into actual arched feet (having them walk on all kind of textured ground is a most obviously).

    Anyway, thanks for the good content and dedication!

  26. Hi Mark,

    I am going to start doing these excercises too as I have flat feet. It affects my lower back and my calf muscles are so so tight. When I tried the short food exercises my toes scrunch up, am I doing this wrong? Also I cannot lift my othe 4 toes without my big toe going up too, any further tips with that to get me started? Thanks, becky

    1. Hi Becky,

      You will need to learn how to scrunch your foot without recruiting your toe flexors. It’s all about practice :).. and time!

      The connection between your brain and your foot is probably not too strong. But this can be trained!

      Mark

  27. Just stumbled upon this post, I really appreciate how much detail you went into. I have a situation that I’d like your thoughts on if you wouldn’t mind: I have neglected my feet as I have been wearing cheap skate shoes my whole life (I’m 23) which are completely flat and offer no foot support, so I feel like this may probably be the cause of my flat feet. I plan to correct my flat feet through the information you’ve provided, however I haven’t been able to find any advice on which shoes I should invest in that won’t cause my flat feet to come back once corrected. I’d be very grateful if you could share some details on this! Also, would I want to avoid shoes with arch support as this would serve the same purpose as orthotics?

    Many thanks,
    Tom

    1. Hey Tom!

      Great to hear that you are going to start to do the exercises for your flat feet.

      In terms of what shoes to wear – In the ideal world, if we had super strong feet, you would want to aim for minimalist/barefoot shoes. This is because it will make your foot/toe muscles work as they were naturally intended to do so.

      HOWEVER- please don’t rush out and buy them! (well… not for now anyways!)

      If you switched to barefoot/minimalist shoes now, I can guaranty you’ll end up with a lot of pain as your feet will not be used to it.

      It is fine to get a shoe with orthotic inserts/arch support for now, but the main aim would be a gradual wean off to less support. (providing that you have a functional flat foot and not a structural one)

      I tend to sway towards new balance and Asics, however, I haven’t tried many of the shoes out there in the market to give you an accurate recommendation.

      Hope this helps!

      Mark

  28. Hello Mark! awesome info-content on your blog, I had to share this with my friends too who had flat-feet.! Thanks for sharing your precious knowledge on human anatomy with us folks!!

    I used to be an arched-footer in my childhood days, even teenage. I do have an anterior pelvic tilt which might be causing flat-feet but u explained above in ur blog that apt causes internal rotation of leg bones which cause over-pronation of the feet which makes sense. but despite having APT i actually have more external rotation ability of the legs instead of internal rotation yet I still suffer from over-pronation or flat-feet. What would you make of that scenario?

    1. Hey hey Raja,

      Sounds like you may have an anterior pelvic tilt + tight hip external rotators.

      This can cause you to walk/stand with a toe out position which in turn can cause your mid foot to collapse.

      In that case, focus on:
      – stretching the butt (piriformis standing stretch)
      – keeping feet reasonably straight ( a little bit out is fine)
      – Strengthening with the exercises mentioned in the post.

      Mark

  29. This is an extraordinary article. Very in depth and easy to follow. You’ve detailed the ‘why’ of these exercises well.

    I’ve started training my feet/ankles/calves recently. I have not done any toe specific strengthening. I didn’t realise the importance of it. Also I have not done any Anterior Tibialis training either (shin bone muscle)

    Thanks very much.

    1. Cheers Cameron!

      Glad you like the post 🙂

      Keep up with the foot/toe exercises. They are tricky at first, but you’ll get the hang of it.

      Mark

  30. Woow! Your site is amazing! Thanks for sharing this. I have orthotics since my 15th year and I’m 35 now. My ankles and feet are hypermobile too so I’m running into lots of problems now. I have a very hard time finding a good therapist. They have changed the orthotics everytime and it’s just getting worse. I have nerve problems now too… So it’s a long way to finding what is working good and finding someone good to help me with this.. I’m going to try your exercises, although I can’t manage any of them while I just tried… So I have lots of practice to do… I’m a PT myself that’s why I love your page extra! I wonder: I’m looking into the barefoots, do you know these? They train the foot really well is said. Do you have any experience with them?

    1. Hi Yvette,

      Thanks for dropping by.

      Minimalist shoes are great for forcing your foot muscles work.

      HOWEVER… they are too big of a jump if your feet are already weak. You need to work your way up to using them to avoid any flare ups.

      Mark

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