How to fix Flat Feet (Pes planus)

Image courtesy of FrameAngel at

The purpose of this blog post is to provide you with everything that you will need to know to 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.

It is also referred to as:

  • Pronated foot
  • Fallen arches
  • Pes planus
  • Overpronation

Note: It is normal for the foot to have the ability to pronate (collapse the arch).

Problems occur when there is an excessive amount and/or your foot gets stuck in this position.

What causes fallen arches?

1. It’s in your DNA:

Image courtesy of rajcreationzs at

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

This is referred to as Structural Flat feet.

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

Unfortunately in this situation, your foot posture can not be changed through conservative means. 

Note: If your foot arch is present when you are sitting/lying down but you have Flat feet when you weight bear, then you DO NOT have structural Flat feet.

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:

  • Poor control of your feet/toes and/or,
  • Weak/tight foot 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 Flat feet

a) 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.

b) Whilst walking:

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

(Similarly – you can just wet your feet and observe the foot prints you make on the cement floor.)

c) Check your shoes

Have a look at the heel of the shoe that you wear the most.

Signs of excessive wearing of the inside of the heel may suggest that you may have overpronation of the foot.

Can Flat feet cause problems?

… Is your flat feet causing any of these problems?

a) Plantarfasciitis:

b) Big toe bunion:

c) Heel spur:

d) Lower back/Hip/Knee problems

Interested in fixing your posture?

.. then come join me on the Facebook page!

I share all of my best posture tips there 🙂

How to fix Flat Feet

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

flat feet exercisesImage courtesy of Flare at

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?”


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 with overpronation (collapsing the foot arch) during movement.

Quick assessment: How to test your ankle flexibility

  • Face a wall.
  • Perform a lunge.
  • Whilst keeping your knee in contact with the wall, aim to get the front of your foot furthest away from the wall.
    • (Don’t cheat! Make sure the back of your heel does not lift off!)
  • Do not let your foot arch collapse as you bend your knee forwards!
  • Measure the distance between the tip of your big toe and the wall.


My recommendation: Aim to get your toe approximately >8cm from the wall with your knee still in contact with the wall.

If you can’t, check out this post to improve your Ankle mobility.

a) Gastrocnemius


  • Stand on the edge of a step with your heels off the edge.
  • Whilst keeping your knees completely straight, lower both of your heels towards the ground.
  • Aim to feel a superficial stretch in your calf muscle.
  • Hold this stretch for at least 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 3 times.

b) Soleus


  • 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.

c) Lateral structures

(Peroneals, Extensor digitorum, Lateral ligaments)


  • Whilst sitting, place your ankle on top of your other knee.
  • Place one hand on top of the ankle and the other on the forefoot.
  • Whilst anchoring the ankle joint down, pull the fore foot towards you.
  • Aim to feel a stretch on the out side of the ankle.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.


a) Plantarfascia


  • 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


  • 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 arches to collapse.

Here’s how to release it:


  • 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

// Joint mobilisations

a) Dorsiflexion with band


  • Attach a resistance band to a stationary object behind you.
  • Lace the band around your ankle.
    • The band should be below the Malleoli (bumps on sides of the ankle).
  • Assume a lunge position with your ankle on a bench. (see above)
  • Make sure that there is a firm amount of tension in the band.
    • To increase tension, move forward so that you are further away from the anchor point of the band.
  • Lunge forward.
  • Do not let your arch collapse as you bend your knee forwards!
  • You may feel a:
    • Blocking sensation at the front of the ankle joint and/or
    • Stretch at the back of the heel/calf region
  • Repeat 30 times.

b) Sub talar mobilisations


  • Whilst sitting, place your ankle on top of your other knee.
  • Cup the heel with one hand, and place the other hand on top of the ankle.
  • Perform a wiggle motion on your heel bone in a up/down direction.
  • Continue for 30 seconds.

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 compensate with overpronation (rolling inwards)… resulting in a Flat foot posture.

Big toe exercise


  • Place the bottom of your big toe onto a door frame. (see above)
  • 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.


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.


  • Stand with your feet facing forwards and shoulder width apart.
  • Whilst keeping your toes relaxed, proceed to scrunch the under-surface of your foot.
    • Drag the base of your big toe backwards towards the heel.
  • Push the base of the big toe into the ground to prevent this area from lifting.
  • 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.


a) Heel raise/drop with ball


  • Stand on the edge of a step.
  • Place a small ball between your ankles. (see above)
  • Activate short foot.
  • Squeeze the ball between your ankles throughout all movement.
  • Perform a heel raise and drop.
  • Do not let your ankles roll out.
    • Aim to keep the achilles tendon perpendicular to the floor throughout the exercise.
  • Repeat 30 times.

b) Step through



  • 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.
  • Return to starting point.
  • Repeat 30 times.
  • Progression: Instead of stepping to the front, try stepping in different directions whilst maintaining a strong short foot contraction.

c) Single leg balance


  • Balance on one leg.
  • Activate the short foot.
  • Gently tap your other foot on the ground around your body whilst maintaining the short foot contraction
    • Pretend that you are tapping an ant on the head. Don’t squash it!
  • Keep your pelvis level
    • Only your leg should be moving
  • Continue for 1 minute.
  • To progress: Reach and tap your foot further away from you.

d) The Michael Jackson lean


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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.

Flat feet brace

If you are experiencing any pain in the hip, knee and/or foot as a result of the fallen arches in you Flat feet, you can use a foot brace to help reduce your symptoms.

These braces provide external support to help lift your foot arch.

Keep in mind – I recommend to only use them for a short period of time so that your foot muscles do not become dependent on it.

(Note: The end goal will always be to rely on your own muscles to support your foot arch.)

// 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 fallen arches.

… 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 exercises FIRST.

Other areas to consider:

But wait!… there’s more!

Although the exercises mentioned post will definitely help you regain your arch, I would also recommend that you address other areas of your posture that may be the ROOT CAUSE of your Flat fleet.

Check out these blog posts to find out more:

Anterior Pelvic Tilt: Forward tilting of the pelvis can orientate the whole leg in a position of internal rotation. This can lead to…

Knee Valgus: This is where the knee collapses inwards which then leads to overpronation of the foot.

Rotated pelvis: A twist in the pelvis can eventually lead to a flat foot as well.


Do your exercises… every day!

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

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. (Let’s keep in touch!)

– Do the exercises!


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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213 thoughts on “How to fix Flat Feet (Pes planus)

  1. Hi Mark,

    Thanks very much for the informative article. I was recently diagnosed with Stage II posterior tibial tendonitis, although my doctor said that I still have fairly good arches. Would these exercises help to reverse flattening in cases of ptt? I have also seen recommendations that individuals with ptt should incorporate ankle exercises with a Theraband (i.e. inversion, eversion and dorsiflextion) to strengthen the relevant muscles. Would you concur with those suggestions?


  2. Any advice for a toddler who is getting bowed ankles from flat feet? I could do the taping but teaching him the exercises will be difficult. He also has an ab split from the naval all the way up. Should that be worked on first? Thanks

  3. Hello Mark!

    I am a personal trainer and many of my clients have flat foot, as do I myself! So this has become a growing area of research and interest for me.

    I have been following yourself, and also Dr Emily Splichal. Your approaches to short foot seem a little different, as per her video here:

    This has left me slightly confused about how to perform short foot correctly myself, and for my clients. I’m just wondering if you could clarify the differences in approaches? And also the role of the breath in these exercises, as she mentioned.

    Can I just also say I adore your website, what an incredible font of knowledge, thanks for all you are doing!!

    1. Hey Roz,

      Had a quick look at the video.

      You want to maintain an even foot tripod throughout whilst doing the short foot.

      This means you do not want to let the base of the big toe lift off the ground. You shouldn’t be exactly forcing the base of the big toe down either (it should be the same pressure you are applying to keep the base of the pinky toe on the floor).

      It is still very important to engage the long toe flexors as she has mentioned. I tend to do this with the alternating toe lift exercise and practising “toe off” exercise.


  4. Hi Mark, When you say structural flat feet cannot be fixed by conservative means what do you mean? that the exercises will not be sufficient?

    1. Hey Vicki,

      This means the exercises are not likely to make a significant difference in the shape of your arches.

      Having said that – the main aim then will still be to strengthen the foot muscles regardless.


      1. Thanks Mark, I was wondering if / when you ever suggest surgery. I have definitely found doing the exercises has improved and I think avoided things getting worse. Will keep at it!

        1. Hey Vicki,

          I haven’t recommended anyone to get surgery for the their flat feet before. (My fear is that a whole lot can go wrong during surgery, and if anything, symptoms could get worse potentially)

          If your foot is strong and adaptable, you will definitely not require surgery.


  5. Hey mark..i think i have both slight of knee valgus and flexible flat feet..what should i do to cure it both?i want my knees to be straight and make an arch in my feet..hope you will reply!

    1. First of all idk if this is a response to Iftesam (if so I apologize, as this is a post of my own) but I couldn’t find an area to create my own question. But maek if you see this, my question to you is you say structurally (genetic) flat feet cant create an arch. Well mine is structural as I inherited it from my mother and with the tennis ball roll under my foot (which was mentioned on another site) has already helped create a partial arch. Prior to that my left foot was flat as hell completely with no arch whatsoever. So although all your other information was great and informative, I definetely disagree with you there. And if you fire back with a response like (well its scientifically proven) no offense, but idc because not bvb everything in science is correct and I’m living proof of that as ice already started to create an arch

  6. I have a right hip hike and flat feet. Should I focus on fixing one first before I attempt to fix the other? Or can I work on both simultaneously?


  7. What a great resource! Thank you so much for doing this.

    I have three issues: slightly flared ribs (more on the left side), anterior pelvic tilt and one pronated ankle (left side again) with a flattish foot.

    Which should I tackle first?

    (Also, my right hip is a bit higher than my left hip, but I didn’t see a plan for that.)

    1. Hello Seth,

      You can start in any area.

      Some areas influences other areas so ideally it is best to start at these locations. However – you won’t really know the effect of correcting one area until you start doing the exercises.

      If you have a right hip hike, check out this post: How to fix a Lateral pelvic tilt.

      It also sounds like you have a rotated pelvis. Feel free to check out this post: Rotated pelvis exercises.


  8. This is very useful page to learn from. I really want to fix my feet issue independently but can you add extra pictures for better illustration? Because I do not understand written instructions well.

  9. My 6 year old son has flat feet when standing but not when lying down and my 3 year old daughter is legged. Can they be fixed without surgery?

    1. Hey Jessica,

      If your son only has flat feet on weight bearing, then it is more than likely he just needs to work on the muscles to bring up the arch.


  10. Hai Mark ,Thanks for such a detailed article.You made me understand how the whole process is and your explanation of how your strategy works makes real sense. For about 5 years ,I had knee and lower leg pain after standing long at work. I used over the counter orthotics initially,which gave me relief for some time. Last year I developed hip ,both leg and backpain which worsens by walking. My leg pain was worse on right outer thigh. I was told that I have right feet over pronation,left pelvic rotation, anterior pelvic tilt. I was also told that I am high arched by birth and I still have very low arch in both feet.I also think I have rotated shoulders. I started using custom orthotics,which gave me a lot of relief as long as I use it with New balance 928. I tried other shoes , it wouldn’t work with orthotics. With my history do you think pronation is the root cause?What would you suggest to adress first? Do you think certain sleeping position can help? I have read about the benefits of sleeping on hard floor,which might help to realign your body. What’s your thoughts on that?

  11. Mark, thanks for the article. My 10 yr old daughter has been diagnosed with over pronation in the right ankle. That led to a chiropractor telling us she has flat feet. (0% arch on right and 10% on left) and short ligaments in her right ankle. He also found that her hips are misaligned by about a 1/4 inch. She may also have an issue with her Achilles heel because she has been a tip toeer since she learnt to walk.
    He has recommended we use over the counter arch support insoles to ease her discomfort and has asked her to do exercises nightly (standing on her toes, her heels, outside foot, inside foot). Her GP told us that she must wear the insoles at all times including in the house rather than being barefoot.
    Your article suggests the more you rely on insoles the less strength we will have in our feet. She is 10, if I can help her correct the problem rather than just making her comfortable, I would rather do that. In your opinion, how much time should she be barefoot vs in insoles to allow the muscles to strengthen properly?

    1. Hi Concerned Mom,

      If you need to use insoles to get some of her pain under control, it is fine to use the orthotics.

      But it is important that she strengthens her foot in conjunction to wearing the insoles. (as to prevent dependence)

      In terms of using the orthotics, my advice would be to use it as much as it provides benefit, but gradually wean off as tolerated. The time in barefoot vs orthotics really depends how she responds to the inserts.


  12. Hi Mark, thank you for the comprehensive article. My question is how effective these exercises are?

    I was told by podiatrist that once leganenths in the foot over stretched and arch flattened there is not much I can do to correct it and best way is to get orthotics.

    Does these exercises help to strengthen and shorten ligaments?

    Thank you

    1. Hey Anna,

      Muscles: Yes

      Ligaments: Unlikely.

      You can rely on your muscles to support your arch in the long term.

      Orthotics are fine. Just make sure that they aren’t your ONLY form of treatment for your feet.


  13. Hi Mark,

    First of all, thank you so much for all your work on this site, it has helped me a lot.
    I was born with my right foot in a weird position, which has always been fine, but I’m starting to suffer from some negative effects. The outer side of my foot is very flat and has extremely limited dorsiflexion, while the inner side has such a high arch and permanent dorsiflexion, that no point between my heel and big toe can touch the ground. On top of that, the foot is rotated outward, this all causes my knees to cave in when squatting or cycling. My phisical therapist has also told me I have a right hips hitch, a left rotated pelvis and minor lumbar scoliosis, which I suspect me be some cosequence of this as well. I’m already trying to work on all of these issues by the exercise provided by this website, so again, thank you very much.

    Would you have any recommendations on how to try and fix this problem?

    Best wishes

    1. Hi Ruben,

      If you have been born with a structural foot issue, it is unlikely to change with exercises.

      However – since you had no problems previously, this makes me believe that there may be other factors that might be influencing you to have some issues.

      What activity are you having difficulty with exactly?


      1. Yes I was born with flat feet I have back and hip problem and pains in my leg and I’m just 32 years old help.

  14. Hello i have a question.. My left foot has high arch and my right foot is normal when i stand but when i run my right is pronated a little. Which leg must work to increace the balance?
    How should i work? Im confused


  15. Thank you so much for this! I have APT , a rotated pelvis as well as flat feet and overpronation. Should I work on APT first or work on both at same time? Thank you!

    1. Hey Krystal,

      If you can rotate your pelvis and it helps correct your flat feet automatically, then you should focus on the APT.

      Conversely – if correction of flat feet help with the apt, then focus on APT.

      If they are independent of each other, focus on both!

      If you are short on time, focus on one area first and move on to the next when you feel you have reached as far as you can with the exercises.

      Good luck@!


  16. Hello Mark,
    First of all, thank you for your beautiful website and this article.
    I am both a yogi and a runner, but I quitted running few months ago after seeing my feet arches collapse more and more and more. I am also known for an anterior pelvic tilt AND a valgus knee. When I run, my feet go on the outside, like a duck. Since I don’t really know what is the first problem between feet, pelvis and knees, I stopped running and started working on my pelvis. The posture improved, but the knee valgus and the flat feet still are a problem. Would you suggest to attack the three areas altogether ?
    Otherwise, i am also a general practitioner physician with a little focus on rheumatology and very interested with posture since so many patients have complaints due to posture. I send them often to physical therapists.
    Would you be kind enough to maybe send me some references of books for my own culture and education (and maybe understand it better) ? Do you know the muscular chain from de Busquet ?
    Best greetings from Switzerland.
    Thank you again for your amazing work in this website and for your interest in teaching !
    Lucie B.

    1. Hi Lucie B,

      You can attack all 3, or focus on one at a time and see if it affects the other structures.

      I’m not familiar with the muscular chain from de Busquet.

      However- I just had a quick google search.

      It reminds me of
      – Anatomy trains by Tom Myers and
      – Fascial release for structural balance by James Earl/Tom Myers.

      A lot of my manual treatment is strongly influenced by the works of these 2 fellows.


    1. Hey Jeeva,

      I wouldn’t be too concerned at that age.

      As long as she can move and there’s no pain, all should be fine!

      With postural issues at this age, most will tend to grow out of it automatically.


      1. Hi Mark, I have kissing spine as well as knock knees Flat feet, bunions, one leg longer than the other, frozen shoulders pain in my neck, as well as in both of my thumbs pretty messed up!
        Where and with do I begin? Does age matter? Greetings from Germany!

        1. Hey Patty from Germany,

          When there are multiple issues, I would just pick one area and start.

          Get the most out of the respective exercises, then move onto the next.

          Age is definitely a factor in these postural issues. But keep in mind, it is never too late to start exercises!

  17. Hi Mark,

    After doing the quick assessment for my calf, My ankle makes a noise when i plantar flex it. Is this normal?

    Thank you,

      1. Hi Mark

        Could you explain what you mean by staggered position in how you activate short foot during walking?
        Thanks a lot


        1. Hey Justine,

          Staggered stance just refers to the position where one leg is in front of the other.

          With the stepping exercises, you want to activate your short foot (see instructions in post) as you shift your body weight onto the leading leg.

          As the other foot hits the ground, you want to push off the tip of the big toe.


  18. Hello. I have the problem of big toe bunion and flat foot as well. Can I still continue with the exercises that you suggested, considering the fact that bunions are causing flat foot. Or do I need to fix the bunions first?

        1. Hi Cassandra,

          You can try messaging me on facebook but due to the amount of questions I get everyday, I can’t 100% guaranty that I will be able to answer it.

          Best to ask here as I will definitely reply.


  19. Great article! You covered each and every aspect of flat feet. Amazing and very useful information shared by you. I like to read your article. It is very helpful. Thanks for sharing.

  20. I was diagnosed with fallen arches last night by my doctor. For the past two weeks my right foot was hurting when I walked. He recommended one Advil a day for the inflammation and orthotics. It is a gift from God that this morning I found your article. I will do these exercises. Thank you.

  21. Hi mark,

    I found out that I have ankle instability, so both my ankles gave out on me. One more than the other. It was a sharp pain in the front of my lifer foot, a week ago today. I had no swelling in either foot. I didn’t know what happened for a about 4 days but I knew to not walk on them, (just minimal walks to the bathroom kitchen etc.) it was tolerable to walk on them, I just had to cripple my walking a lot. I went to Apple pressure back on my most injured foot and felt a sharp pain in the ankle (from 1-10 about a 5) so I got a further opinion and found out it was ankle instability. I’m an flat footed as well, was born with it. Now I’m walk about 40% back how I use too walk. I can bear weight on both my feet but not all. I mainly put pressure on my heels but I am slowly taking steps and apply very minimal pressure to the front of my feet when I walk. I’m doing better and doing some excersises. (Toe curls, alphabet, rocking my need back and forth with my foot planted firmly) The only excersises I have been doing is the range-of-motion and I did a foot massage. My right foot still has pain when I do the alphabet exercise so I don’t know if I should continue that on that foot. (1-10 about a 3) still hurt when I get up to walk on it in the front of my foot (1-10 about 4) but if I walk for a while starts to fade. I’m just not sure how long do I do the range-of-motion excerises before I start moving towards strengthen and stretching them. In suggestions.

  22. Hello!
    Your web-site is great!!! Every article is so perfectly structured, so informative and clear! But one thing I would like to clarify. Hope it won’t take you much time to answer. It’s all about my elder daughter. She’s 10. She’s got bad posture and flat feet (one foot is actually worse (left), the right foot is good). She’s very active, loves running, goes in for athletics. You wrote in your article, that special Flat feet brace can be used (we are doing the exercises, but I thought of a brace for athletics trainings). Must there be a special “pad” in this brace or just like a bandage?

    1. Hello Olya,

      You can try taping over the arch to see if that helps.

      Otherwise – you can also get a brace that wraps around the middle of the foot. It just helps keep the arch lifted.


      1. Hi Mark, hope you are doing great. Your article is great. Thank you for sharing such a good information.
        My daughter is now 2 years old, she is very active no complains of pain or anything as such. A couple of days back a lady pinpointed me that she has flat feet while standing. Since that day I’m worried but I don’t find her behind any milestones or any pain. After reading your article I noticed that she develops a clear arch while lying, lifting feet off the ground and sitting as well. So should I be worried? As when I was reading on google it said that children develop arch at age of six.
        Note: my husband has a kind of flat feet, he is an athlete without any complications.
        Pls reply. I’m really worried to know that should I really worry about my daughter or it’s fine?

        1. Hi Madiha,

          I would not worry about it too much.

          She is only 2 years old and probably has not developed the strength in her feet yet.

          Encourage barefoot walking as much as possible in different terrains. This will automatically make her feet stronger.


  23. Hi Mark,

    Great article! Certainly the best i’ve seen. I really appreciate your depth and clarity of explanation, plus illustrations. I have shared this with many others. I understand the importance of good feet and have been working to improve my arches which have progressively collapsed over time. As I try multiple arch strengthening activities using the short foot stance, the muscle on the inner side of my foot is used the most – I feel like this comes at the expense of strengthening the intrinsic arch muscles below my feet. The result of my exercise has been a big bulk of muscle on the inner side of my foot and no noticeable improvement in my arches.

    In your knowledge, is this common? Is this just a side product of strengthening my arches, or am I targeting the wrong muscle? If the later is so, could you recommend some alternative exercises or possible correction to strengthen my arches? I would really appreciate your thoughts.


    1. Hi Philip,

      Thanks for the comment.

      I’m not exactly sure which inner side muscle you are referring to. Is it this one?

      If it is, this means you are pressing the outside of your big toe onto the floor. The aim with short foot is to push the middle of the toe pad into the ground.

      Do you happen to have big toe valgus? This might make you more predisposed to using this muscle more so.


      1. Hi Mark,

        Thank you for your prompt response! Yes, that is the muscle I am talking about. I do not have big toe valgus – my left foot’s arch is in better shape and does not experience the same problem. I guess the solution would be to activate muscles to force the middle of my big toe pad into the ground as you mentioned. One additional inquiry: will these exercises help with pronation and improve the “springiness” of my feet? I have developed stronger calves and leg muscles to counter the increasing weakness in my feet, and although I am a competitive soccer player, i’m trying to develop a slimmer leg profile.
        Thanks so much for sharing your time and expertise, I really appreciate it.

        Have a good one,

        1. As you gain more control of your foot in various positions, it will make your more “springy” in your feet.

          I would also add that you should work on the achilles tendon to make you even more springier. I recommend eccentric training for this!


  24. Hello Mark,
    thank you so much for the set of very comprehensive exercises. I broke my ankle 11 years ago, slipping on black ice, got a gait analysis and know my feet are flat and totally unbalanced. I have since worn orthotics since I overpronate and also have a weak muscle running down the inside of the left ankle attached to the Achilles’ tendon. All my life I’ve gone over on my ankles and my posture hasn’t been great but in recent years it’s a bit better with Pilates. In the last few weeks I’ve developed shin splits and hip pain and sometimes the knee is affected too, all on the right leg which is not the side I broke my ankle on. I’m now in my 60’s and have developed bunions with the one on the right really developing. With massage and taking it easy the pain settled fairly wel, particularly in the hip, but I triggered the pain again by walking up a steep hill or two. This time I really felt the pain a little on the right side of the top of the foot, up the shin and side of my right leg and deep into the buttock and possibly into my back. It seems to be all connected. Any advice gratefully received.

    1. Hey Nuala,

      It is possible that you are now placing more pressure on your right side (perhaps to subconsciously protect the left side).

      This may explain your symptoms that you have.

      The gait analysis should be able to see if you are placing more on the right side.

      If you have continuous pain all down the leg, it may also be coming from the lower back? Any scans here?


  25. Just come across your articles, and they’re all absolutely fantastic. I have pretty much everything you’ve described above, pelvic tilt, rotated pelvis, femurs and tibia internally rotated (knees face inwards – although they don’t touch). After analysing how I walk, it seems though as I take steps forward, my feet move inward to the floor quite noticeably, BUT I don’t physically have ‘flat feet’ – in fact quite a noticeable arch. Should I still do the above exercises? Or should I be tackling other areas first/in what order? thanks!

    1. Hey Nabs,

      You can still have a pronating foot with a normal starting arch.

      In this situation, you would focus on the strengthening exercises in this blog post.


  26. Hello Mark,

    When I am doing the short foot exercise, I am feeling my peroneals getting activated, is that normal? If not, how can I change it ?

    1. Hi Samer,

      Although they are not the primary mover in the short foot, it is fine for your peroneals to activate.

      This is just to help stabilise your foot in the weight bear position.

      (Just make sure that your foot is not rolling in as you are doing the exercise as this will mean the peroneals are taking over)


  27. Hi Mark I started with neck pain then severe back pain now is knee pain and left side hip popping out. Reading your post I know is related to my flat feet where do you recommend I start?

    1. Hey there Ruben,

      If everything is related to your flat feet, then this is the area where I would start.

      As you improve your feet, you then can venture out and try to address any remaining issues.


  28. Mark,

    I am a surgeon and just now seeing this article and wished I had seen it sooner. As you can tell from all the replies many people suffer from this and you’ve done a very great comprehensive evaluation of the topic.

    I have medial displacement of my ankle joint which makes wearing Loafers difficult because of the lack of ankle support. I will bookmark this article and continue these exercises. Hope to come back in a few months with a positive report.

  29. Hey Mark,
    I have just started your exercises after using orthotics for a year and before then just suffering with flexible flat feet.
    My feet rotate inwards and people tell me it’s very obvious when they walk behind me.
    This has led to knee trouble but something else.

    I’ve given up mountain hiking because of two complaints; the first is a major one which is no matter what hiking boots I wear after hiking uphill for about an hour its like my feet are in a vice, being squeezed from the sides, I also feel it on the top of my foot too. This is not rubbing and when at rest the boots are perfectly comfortable, in fact they’re great. Some boots are worse than others some kick in after 15 mins.
    Can you explain where this type of pain might be coming from? I never feel it in regular trainers walking long distance.

    Also I get a pain in my groin; it’s like the muscles that runs over the thigh and down into the groin always starts aching after about two hours making me give up the hill as raising my knee is painful, the following day it has always gone.
    Would love to hear your thoughts regarding this!

    1. Hi David,

      1. If your foot is quite flexible and flat, it is likely that your foot arch is collapsing (+/- ankle everting) in the hiking boots. This might suggest that the boots aren’t supporting your foot as much as the trainers.

      I would still encourage you to strengthen the foot muscles to help build the resilience of the structures.

      2. Without assessing your movement, my first guess would be that your hip flexor or the more anterior groin muscle might be over working to lift your knee up (esp up a hill)

      You will need to find out why those particular muscles aren’t working efficiently. It could be related to pelvis position, weakness in hip flexors, poor core activation etc.


  30. Dear Mark!

    My girlfriend (43) has what I understand to be “structural flat feet”. It runs in her family and she has never had an arch in her foot. I conclude from your description that her flat feet are of the “structural kind”, because her feet also have no arch when sitting or laying down, neither when I massage her feet.
    I seek your advice in order to help her, because her feet hurt after longer walking, or after a day of her work, which requires her to stand essentially during the entire day.

    Your article above seems to address primarily functional flat feet (or actually rather exclusively, right?). Do you have advice for structural flat feet, too?

    Is my layman’s perception right, that for structural flat feet orthotics are a good choice?
    I understand well that orthotics take away the work that the foot muscles are supposed to do, and therefore orthotics can essentially weaken the foot muscles by depriving them of “training”. However, would orthotics be the right choice for structural flat feet?
    (Supplemented with your suggested muscle-strengthening exercises…?)

    How important is it to get custom-made orthotics, or could we just as well experiment with standard, non-custom-made orthotics/insoles, in order to check whether this leads to improvement?
    In your answer on the question about custom-made or “standard” orthotics/insoles, could you please address the situation that my girlfriend has rather long (size 10) feet, which are very narrow?

    Finally, in case you encourage to first try the effects of standard (non-custom) orthotics/insoles:
    Where would you turn to, to get some?
    Would you be able to offer some selection criteria?
    (I.e. “the higher the arch support the better”, …or possibly exactly the opposite in order to gradually make the feet adjust to an arch?)

    Thank you very much in advance for your response!

  31. Man i can’t believe I’m just finding this. I’ve been flat for since I can remember. Eventually led to me getting a bunionectamy on both feet. That’s when my issues really started. I can’t seem to get through the short foot and alternating toe exercises without cramping. Well that go away with time? When i do the short foot exercise, it cramps behind the balls of my feet behind my middle tire down to the point toe. When i do the alternating toe exercise, it cramps in the arch section of my foot. That feels/seems backwards to me. I know i need to improve me ankle flexibility as well

    1. Hey Chris,

      When doing the short foot, Cramping is a sign that the muscle is trying to do a movement that it is not used to.

      This will get better with practice!

      You will need to reduce the amount of force in the contraction to a level you can comfortably handle.

      Best of luck!


  32. Hello! I have completely flat feet but can kind of form my foot into an arch if I really try, when seated. However if I leave my feet hanging or just lay down and look they are still flat even whilst seated etc like you said. Also, the ball of my feet (below the big toes) is very very flat, there’s no roundness under there and when I walk it almost kind of goes upward as my big toes touch the floor.
    All my life I have tilted my feet outward a bit on purpose to align my tendon at the heel area, otherwise they probate inward a bit. This has become my natural gait, to purposefully straighten out my feet a bit.
    I have never had any pain in my feet whatsoever due to the flatness but I am concerned that I may later on. I am 43 now. I have heard of those with no foot pads having pain. I have very little padding and never did even as a teenager. I am a woman oexican and Italian descent. I am a bit overweight but not way obese or way large and the issue is mainly due to medication for asthma, not diet, as Zim vegetarian. I’m very short also at five foot tall. I don’t know if any of this info helps to get advice? As you seem to think my case is a structural type? My feet have been flat since birth. (I know all toddlers have flat chubby like feet) but I mean from young childhood once your supposed to get arches I did not. I cannot wear high heels at all. I also have extremely thin feet at the area behind my ankles. Like literally an inch or less pinched. Do you think I can remain pain free? Will my feet start messing up once I’m say 50? All orthotics hurt me terribly and push the ball of my feet off the floor. Should I try some exercises or anything to prevent issues in spite of my flat feet being permanent maybe? They are flexible flat feet though, not rigid. All of my tendons are excessively flexible in fact. Any advice? I don’t want future pain and feel I’ve gotten lucky so far! Thank you!

    1. Hello!

      If you can form an arch in your foot and the alignment of your joints in your foot can actually change, then it is unlikely that you have structural flat feet. (great news!)

      It could be just a case of very weak/inhibited muscles of the feet which don’t naturally form arches. (esp if you are hyper mobile)

      Even though you are pain free, Feet will always benefit from being stronger so I would encourage you to still try to strengthen your feet with the exercises mentioned in the post.


  33. Hello Mark,
    My dad has been suffering from knee pain for years now. Could him having flat feet be the cause? Also, he loves cycling outdoor and jogging. Therefore, do you think that would make his feet flater? Thank you very much.

    1. Hi Salma,

      Flat feet may have eventually lead to your Dad’s knee issues as it will effect how the knees moves as he goes jogging.

      His cycling and running technique would also play a part.


  34. Hello. I have flat feet from childhood and it never bothered me much, until now when I was also diagnosed with spondylosis, sacroiliitis and hip subluxation. I am also pretty sure I have a disc herniation in my lower back. The doctor prescribed some NSAIDs and orthotics to improve the condition, however it did not help much, just reduced the pain. Besides that, I also have anterior pelvic tilt and inwardly rotated knees. After reading about the issue, I started doing specific exercises for my anterior pelvic tilt since last month at least few days a week and it slightly improved my posture and stress. I also learned how to induce the arch on my feet when sitting, so I believe it can be corrected permanently. However, I am sure that flat feet and anterior pelvic tilt are interrelated so which exercises should I do first? What about the inward knees, is there something that can be done about that? Also recently I started to integrate neutral pelvic tilt in my routine, but when I try to just stand with neutral or slightly posterior tilt, my gluteal muscles which are big in size constrict and cramp, preventing the pelvis to straighten. Is there any specific exercise to somehow decrease the size of gluteal muscles or what can be done to stay in the neutral pelvis position when walking? I have already stretched my hip flexors and strengthened the abdominal muscles, so I think that the gluteal muscles are the culprit. Your advice on this issue would be great. Thanks

    1. Hey Sanny,

      I would check to see if you have enough internal rotation in your hip joint.

      Google: “how to check hip internal rotation”

      If you lack this, it might be blocking your pelvis movement.


  35. Hi,
    My feet are completely flat there is no arch whatsoever, and my ankles have fallen inwards and my toes seem to point outwards.
    I get no pain from my flat feet but it effects how i walk and how shoes fit me and posture.
    Is there any solution to this?
    Would orthotics fix my ankle issues?
    Im wondering if an surgical operation may be needed.

  36. Hello. I have a flat feet from childhood but it is flexible since I can make an arch when sitting, but not standing. Besides that, I also have anterior pelvic tilt and inward knees which are strongly expressed. Because of my ignorance in my teen years, my lower back and hip joints started to wear and now I was diagnosed with spondylosis, hip subluxation and sacroiliitis. Also I got special orthotics which I wear daily and they definitely cut the pain in the lower back area when working. However, I really want to physically improve my condition. Starting from this month I am doing stretches for anterior pelvic tilt daily, such as hip flexor, glutes and rectus femuris. I can feel a slight improvement in posture when standing, however since my feet are flat I have to force my self to externally rotate the knees to avoid sharp pain in my lower back. So should I do the flat feet exercises first and after improving go to anterior pelvic tilt? By the way, during stretches I realized that when I try to sit on the ground with my legs stretched forward, I am forced to go into posterior pelvic tilt because otherwise I get strong cramps in the lower leg going through the buttocks and if I try to create an arch the cramp intensifies. So my sitting angle is about 130 degree or so. Does this relate to anterior pelvic tilt? What are your recommendations about my case? Should I continue wearing orthotics or train my feet to arch itself?

    1. Hi Sanny,

      – I would address your anterior pelvic tilt as you have lower back pain.

      – Once you have achieved as much as you can, you can move onto the flat feet.

      – If your knees remain inward, it might be an idea to have a look at this post: Knee valgus

      – If you have to posterior pelvic tilt when sitting legs stretched forwards, you may have some tightness in your upper hamstring/glute area.


  37. Great post on flat feet. I pretty much have all the symptoms related to flat feet. I had surgery on my right fibula years ago. Ever since then I’ve had a flatter right foot and frequent back problems on my right side. I’ve been trying to focus on my foot function because i think that is the root of my back issues. The tissue around the fibula( peroneal muscles?) tends to swell often because of the surgery i had 6 months ago to finally remove the plate attached to my fibula. I figured that would help with regaining my arch. Could the swelling and stiffness around the peroneal muscles still be contributing to my arch collapsing?

    1. Hi Roger,

      Tight peroneals following surgery can definitely pull your ankle and foot into pronation (flat feet).

      These exercises will be perfect for you!


  38. Hello,

    How can I tell if my overpronation is due to tight ankles or simply weak feet? I definitely have tight ankles, but I feel as if my feet could be weak too. I overpronate just standing.

      1. Thank you! What about if I can’t do some of the exercises? For example, I can’t lift my big toe apart from my other toes. What does this mean?

  39. You’re a champ, thanks for this. Post-gym knee-swelling (after deadlifts and/or running) brought me here. I have flat feet and knee VARUS. Your “other areas to consider” section confirms my suspicion that this combo isn’t the norm, yes? Since my varus shins and flat feet seem to rotate in contrary directions:

    1) Will any common exercises to fix one make the other worse?
    2) Am I at future risk for ankle injuries or something? I say future because so far, so good.

    1. Hey champ,

      Knee varus with flat feet can still occur.

      The exercises for flat feet will help you out however, they may make your varus more pronounced.

      Is your knee varus structural in nature?


      1. I don’t think so, nobody in family seems to have it. Working theory that it came from martial arts, since a lot of the exercises I’ve seen recommended top fight varus strengthen the opposite of what I strengthened in tae kwon do (hip adductor and calf muscles in tkd).

  40. Hi Mark,

    * Is it possible to keep the athletic tape on while also wearing a night-splint (so that it does not have to be replaced every single day)?
    * Do you recommend keeping the foot taped while backpacking (obviously retaping after icing/recovery)?


    1. Hi Brian,

      Yes and yes.

      It is fine to keep the tape on with a night splint.

      Taping up the foot may help support your arch whilst backpacking as well.

      Good luck!


  41. My 10 year old son with Autism has flat feet and duck walk with limited ankle dorsiflexion. His feet actually lean toward each other so that he walks on the inner edge of his foot. We’ve tried orthotics but they actually hurt his feet so badly that he couldn’t hardly walk at all, so we abandoned them. I took him to an ortho doc at our local children’s hospital who made fun of the way he talked then shrugged over his feet. So, I’m on my own, I think. I’m a little overwhelmed with the number of exercises here. Should I start with ankle dorsiflexion exercises first?

    1. Hey Becky,

      If your son has severe limitations in ankle dorsiflexion, starting on this area might be a good idea.

      He might just be pronating his feet due to a lack of ankle mobility.

      Good luck!


      Ps. With kids, try to make the exercises in some sort of game 🙂 Helps with compliance.

  42. Hi Mark!
    I am 14 and I have flat feet and anterior pelvic tilt. I was doing your exercises to fix ATP daily for about 20 days and I see no improvement. Do you think that flat feet is somehow preventing me from fixing my ATP? So should I start doing exercises to fix flat feet? And how long would it take to atleast see some improvements? So I would be sure if I am doing the exercises the right way. And is it OK to do the exercises before going to sleep?

    1. Hi Kystof,

      Your flat feet may be locking in your anterior pelvic tilt. In this case – it may be more of a priority to focus on the flat feet.

      Another thing to consider is the time that you have had your anterior pelvic tilt versus the 20 days you have spend doing the exercises. It will likely take more time, patience and consistency.

      It is fine to do the exercises before you sleep.


  43. Hi Mark,
    My shin and thigh bones kind of twist inwards and I was wondering whether it is because of my feet and if I do the excersises above, will my legs go back to normal? If not what should I do?

  44. Hello Mark
    Read your article on how to fix flat feet
    I am a triathlete from India
    and my arch started to collapse I have started taking care of my foot muscles but there is issue with some muscle behind the knee which is really giving me a tough time
    I have discussed this issue with my physiotherapist and according to him that muscle is in pain due to my flat feet. I really can’t see any improvements. When I give running a rest the pain comes down but as soon as I put load it the pain pops out again.

  45. Hi Mark
    I don’t feel any kind of pain arising mainly due to flatfeet and i’m also a pretty good sprinters,footballer and swimmer.Iam trying to cure my flatfeet as there’s no selection in defense forces (and I want to join). I am doing some exercises for sometime and I think I’ve developed a little arch(as observed from the footprint in water test) but the pronation exists. So can u tell me how long it will take for me to develop a normal arch if I do the above mentioned exercise daily?

    1. Hi Amiya,

      I can’t really tell you exactly how long it will take.

      But to give your flat foot the best opportunity, it’s all about doing the exercises as much as possible.


  46. Hi Mark,

    I am 38 and 3-4 months ago starting wearing arch support in my shoes. I am flat footed. I seem to HV started pain in my side calf, glutes and back. Is it something related to the arch support. What should I do to avoid

    1. Hi Vineet,

      It could be your body just getting used to the new foot position and may take some time for it to adapt.


      Your orthotic is not suitable for you.


  47. Bonsoir MARK
    Je suis ravie de découvrir votre site internet.
    Je souffre depuis plusieurs années de pieds plats et arrière valgus genu valgum.
    Je suis complexée surtout pour les genoux.
    Pouvez-vous m’aider à comment les corriger sans chirurgie ? J’ai peur de l’osstéomie.

    Je vous remercie d’avance et à bientôt.

  48. Hi
    Due to an incorrect syringe in the hip
    Right, she contracted a thigh, leg, and foot stray outward.
    For years, pain in the knee and foot has increased and the foot is still moving outward.
    After visiting a manual therapist, he told me that the external muscles are stronger than the internal muscles of the right leg so pull the foot out.

    I want to have exercises to strengthen the weak internal muscles and thank you very much.

    1. Hi Liam,

      In theory – it should strengthen your foot muscles.

      However, if you have flat feet and are used to having support, making a quick transition to barefoot running may cause injuries!


  49. Hi Mark, I injured my right knee about 6 months ago and have recently noticed that I’m walking weird on the right side. For example my right foot points outwards when walking while the left is straight. This is causing me to overpronate. Are my feet the main problem or can other body parts be causing this? Thanks in advance

      1. I’ve seen a PT for 3 sessions now and all he says is that my glutes are weak so i’ve started doing exercises for that. I know you say orthotics aren’t good as they make your feet are weaker. What do you think about insoles like superfeet that i can just slip into my shoes to make walking less of a hassle. That would help me while I work on the exercises. If not insoles then shoe recommendations would be great.

        Thank you.

        1. Hey Zak,

          My personal opinion on orthotics for functional flat feet is that they are good in the short term, but should not be relied on in the long term.

          Your muscles are support you if you train them to.

          Over time – try to wean off your insoles and increase foot exercises 🙂


  50. Hey mark, when doing short foot should you feel the calf contracting a lot? That’s the only way i can make my arch move.

    On my left side i can’t even do it sitting. I’ve been doing it standing for about 8-10days but not much result, i’ll still keep at it for a few months though.

    1. Hi Max,

      You want to feel it more so in the under surface of your foot.

      You will feel some in the tibialis posterior and/or tibialis anterior but should not be feeling it in the calf.

      You might need to strengthen the arch muscles in a non weight bear situation until it becomes easier.


  51. This article was very informative, and I plan on incorporating these exercises. My question is can these help a tailor’s bunion? I recently (6 months ago) was prescribed orthotics for plantar fasciitis along with an injection. While the plantar fasciitis has improved, my tailors bunion is very bothersome. I have tried to find wide toe box shoes, but after being on my feet or walking, it’s painful. I’m trying toe spreaders at night which provide temporary relief. The podiatrist has not been helpful with this issue, so I’m hoping there is a specific exercise that can help. I want to resume my walking program. Thank you in advance!

    1. Hi Pauline,

      Tailor’s bunion are usually due to tight shoe box (esp. with high heels) and/or a foot that rolls outwards whilst walking.

      The exercises would more so help with a big toe bunion.

      You strengthen your little toes muscles by spreading your toes as wide as possible. This might help your tailors bunion on top of your spreaders!


  52. Hello Mark, terrific content, thanks a lot, just one simple question, do you recommend wearing toe separators for people who have inward toes and bunions, and are the bunions fixable? All the best

    1. Hi Boban,

      Toe spreaders are awesome!

      They can help with inwards toes and bunions.

      With bunions which have fused, it is unlikely to completely reverse.


  53. I’m going to try all of these! I’ve recently started working out at the gym and it’s been 2 months but over the past week I’ve had knee pain just in my left leg and I think it’s because either my form is wrong or it’s because of my flat feet (I wear orthotics) and I want to continue being able to work my quads and glutes (squats, deadlifts, running, etc.) but I’m afraid of injuring my knee further. I never knew that orthotics were bad for flat feet! Should I stop wearing them all together? Or should I slowly wean off of them while doing these exercises?

    I’m not really sure the cause of my left knee pain although my left foot i’ve always had problems with in the past and it’s more flat comparably to my right foot. I’m assuming it’s either because of something new I’ve incorporated into my workouts but I’m not sure. It’s a weird pain like it aches throughout the entire day but I haven’t felt any sharp pains at any given moment it’s more of a constant dull ache.

    Thanks for the super informative article! I will definitely incorporate these into my day to strengthen my foot muscles.

    1. Hi Ozgun (cool name btw),

      In the long term – I would try to gradually wean off your orthotics as you increase the strength of your flat foot. Be careful not to rush this as your body has likely developed a dependence on the support of the orthotics.

      Also check out this post: Rotated pelvis. A rotated pelvis can sometimes influence the posture of your feet.


  54. Hello
    I had a theory that all people with flat feet take the most of their body weight on their calves rather than their quads, is that right?
    because all my friends with flat feet have big calves but weak quads

  55. Hi Mark,
    I am 42, and have recently developed Morton’s Neuroma. While I have undergone physiotherapy sessions, wear footwear with a metatarsal bar as suggested by the doctor, it hasn’t helped me much. I had a steroid injection shot too. Can you suggest some help for a long term as I feel that even the injection isn’t too helpful and I understand that the only next option is surgery, which I am not very keen on.
    PS: I had fractured my foot about a year ago and somewhere I feel that could have been the start to this issue

    1. Hi Jyothi,

      Are you giving it adequate relative rest to allow for it to heal properly in conjunction with your exercises? (eg. are you on your feet for too long that it may be leading to more flare ups?). This is where I would start first. You want to be getting better faster than it is getting worse.

      If your flat foot posture is causing more pressure on this area, addressing this with the exercises on the post will help out heaps! (Orthotics are great for symptomatic relief in the short term, but try not to become dependent on it as your feet muscles will become very weak)

      Cortisone will help reduce inflammation in the area…. but that’s about it! It does nothing to address the underlying root cause of it.

      If you can strengthen your foot so that it has the capacity to handle more pressure with exacerbating, your morton neuroma will likely start to get better.


  56. Hi there I am 30 years old and have suffered with SI joint pain, my lower back locking up, rotated pelvis and heel and arch pain since I was a teenager. After seeing a lot of people about this a Physio told me I have forefoot varus in my left foot and that my left knee falls inward. He told me this can be both a weak muscle thing and a structural thing, and that for me it is structural and can’t be fixed. He recommended orthotics which I’ve now been wearing for several years and core exercises. Since having my baby 18 months ago I’m seriously struggling with my pelvis constantly rotating to the right and my back muscles on that side going into spasm. Is there anything else you would recommend for me to try as I’m at my wits end 🙁

    1. Hello Catherine,

      With a structural fore foot varus, it is sometimes compensated by the hind foot collapsing inwards + knee falling inwards. As the left leg collapses, it can actually lead to an externally rotated left hip. This in turn can lead to a right rotated pelvis. As the pelvis rotates to the right, the torso generally follows the right rotation. As the body attempted to straighten up from this Right rotated position, the left side of the lower back is recruited to constantly stop the torso from falling to the right.

      Are you still with me? It can be quite confusing. Here is a picture that might make it a bit clearer:

      (See image)

      Now the question is how would you address it? If everything started with the fore foot, you would need to start here but since it is structural, there may be some limitations here.

      Have a look at this post: How to fix a pelvic rotation. It might be the next area you need to focus on.


      1. I have this problem but i have a scoliosis that sticks out on my lower right side so my lower back on the right is really really tight(big bump of muscle because ive been working out for 17 years ) My left lower back is really really weak and long and has been getting spastic pain for the last few months(cant do any squat/deadlift type movements even on bodyweight)

        Starting your flat feet workout + rotated right pelvis. Will work on lateral pelvic tilt after those are better. My problem is that the Toe control part is impossible(even if i hold the toes with my hand), i have 0 control. Any idea what to do? Will it probably come once the other part of the workout makes my feet a bit better? I just ordered toe separators, maybe it’ll help.

        Thanks a lot for your site, i have been working with a physio for 8months and youtube videos but i have so many issues that im overwhelmed. Now i can just follow your 2 pages and not worry about the rest for a little bit

        1. Hi Max,

          Toe control is crucial! Many of my patients have no idea that you are even meant to be moving them!

          It’s all about practice and time.

          Keep up the good work.

          (and great idea tackling 2 issues so start off with. It is easy to get overwhelmed 🙂 )

  57. Hi Mark, Long story warning. I have flat feet and used orthotics years ago. Stopped using them and had no pain. Then bought minimalist zero drop runners with a wide toe box and took a year long transition period before incorporating into full time  use. But then developed  plantar fasciitis on my right foot which at first was acute for a few days after a run but now turned chronic  about 6 months ago with the pain often moving around the edge of the heel. So no more runs. Started using toe separators to control pronation. A podiatrist said I need custom orthotics, and to ditch the minimalist zero drop shoes and the toe separators and  get runners with more support and a heel. Told me nothing other than orthotics will work as  I have an unstable first metatarsal and tight calves. I am reluctant about returning to  orthotics. Now two days ago along with the heel pain I am also feeling slight tenderness when toe-ing off that I feel at the bottom edge of my right big toe joint an inch in from the inside edge of the foot. Slightly  tender when I palpate ( sesamoid issue?). I admit this development has reduced my resistance toward  orthotics. Also has me backing off a bit on the toe separators. I have been doing similar foot exercises for a month but have now settled on your foot exercise routine. Am able to do these way better on my injured right foot than my left, which seems surprising if I am short on foot strength.  Should I get the orthotics as a short term transition solution while I strengthen the feet as you recommend? Maybe also get a new runner with more support and a wide toe box like an Altra? …. which however is still a zero drop. Very interested in your suggestions

    1. Hi Oswald,

      Orthotics are great to temporarily support your feet and reduce symptoms whilst you recover.

      … however, If you are able to strengthen your feet and are committed to doing so, I would try to wean off the orthotics as soon as you have developed sufficient amount of strength/control in the foot.

      If you would like to continue running, you will need to get a shoe with a bit more support as to not aggravate the issue. Similarly, once your feet become strong, you can transition out of the support shoe.

      However, keep in mind, it takes quite a bit of foot training to get to a stage where you can run without support! (but it is definitely possible)


  58. Hi Mark, my daughter is 10 years has flat feet, she’s using orthothics, but it look like it didnt help alot. Now she has bunion and her bone at her back become bigger. And she looks like has rounded shoulder. How to fix it? And dows she still need orthotic?

    1. Hi Lisa,

      Getting the young ones to do exercises is very difficult!

      Your best option is to get her out of the shoes and walk around barefoot on different types of terrain (try to avoid the completely flat hard ground). If she gets symptoms from this, you will need to figure out the maximum duration she can perform this without pain reproduction and stay within that limit.

      I am not a big fan of foot orthotics as I feel that the muscles can be trained to become stronger without it.

      For rounded shoulders: How to fix rounded shoulders.


  59. 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.

  60. 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!


  61. 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!


      1. Hi Mark, I just luckily came across your blog. You are soooooo correct in advising against flat foot surgery. I had it and wish so much that I hadn’t! The doctor shortened my calf muscle to lift my arch, added a piece of bone to the bones on top of my foot, cut my Achilles in 3 places and shortened the toe next to my big toe and it sticks up now. Now my calf has lost its normal shape, my foot looks worse than it did, my balance is off now and unless I’m thinking that I shouldn’t limp, I limp. My foot feels uncomfortably tight. Before my surgery, when my hip hurt, I would put a weight belt on really tight at top thigh level just for about 30 minutes or less. That would relieve my hip pain. That doesn’t work for me anymore. I’m surely going to try your posture and flat foot exercises. Thank you for your expertise!

        1. Hey Nancy,

          Oh no! This is one of my pet peeves with surgeons who recommend surgery for musculoskeletal issues that can be improved with exercises alone.

          Good luck with the exercises!


  62. 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.


  63. 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.


  64. 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 !


  65. 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 ^^

  66. 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?

  67. 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.


  68. 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!

  69. 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.

  70. 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!)


  71. 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.


  72. 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


  73. 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.


  74. 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?


      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!

  75. 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?

    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.


  76. 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?

        1. Hey Mark, just wanted to say thank you so much for the unbelievably helpful post/s and site. It’s obvious you’re passionate about posture and the importance of it in order to live pain free, healthy lives. So thank you for your passion! I also wanted to ask you about your thoughts on my 10yo sons feet. He takes after his father, practically his clone, unfortunately he also got his feet/legs/knees. I dont know the correct term for any of the conditions and none of his doctors have noted on them during check-ups, but after developing a very ingrown toenail it has caught my attention. I bought a Brannock measuring device to measure his feet in order to buy him proper fitting shoes, and was assuming his feet were just wide with a high instep, and were being squished in his shoes causing the ingrown nail. Well when i went to measure his feet it was hard, almost impossible, to find his heel to arch length because his feet were so flat. Now i havent inspected many feet, but his are the flattest feet i have ever seen. He has always walked funny and his running posture almost makes me cringe. His feet are so flat it almost looks like he leans inward on both feet so the soles are bulging out from under him outward. Hes not “pigeon toed” whatsoever though, as-in his toes dont turn inward. His legs going from his knees down, do slightly kick out. His dads and paternal grandmothers do the same thing. Im not sure of the actual term for that. Maybe you could enlighten me? I was wondering if that could also be the reason he is flat footed, as im sure hes has that since birth and its not his feet causing it. His dad differs though, in that he has extremely pronounced arches and ball joints. The look of my sons feet concern me. I dont want him suffering later on and its clearly affecting his walking and running already. Even his 3 smaller toes on each foot look almost like they are laying flat on their sides rotating inward, from his feet being so flat. Reminds me of if you had a tube/roll of uncooked cookie dough and pressed straight down on a hot pan but at a slight angle, the way his legs bend outward from the k ee and the entire soles of his feet bulge outward. What problems do you think are afflicting him? Id prefer to actually correct them the proper way (ie. avoid orthodics/braces that potentially cause weakness). Any advice and/or recommendations and info would be so appreciated if you have some time to spare. Again, thank you immensely!

  77. 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?

  78. 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,

  79. 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.


  80. 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.


  81. 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.

  82. 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

  83. 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!

  84. 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!


  85. 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,

    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!


  86. 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.


  87. 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.


  88. 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.


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