Your feet are responsible for much of your mobility, so when they become painful, as can happen with flat feet, your quality of life can suffer. Flat feet, or fallen arches, is a condition where the arch of the foot has collapsed. Injuries, prolonged stress to the foot or the normal aging process are usually the cause of fallen arches in adults. Severe instances may require surgery; however, most often you can help to alleviate discomfort by strengthening your foot with targeted exercises.
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Consult with your doctor before treating your fallen arches on your own to make sure you are not suffering from a more serious condition. Perform strengthening exercises for your feet once your physician gives approval.
Warm up your body by performing 10 minutes of a non- or light-impact cardiovascular exercise. Cycling and rowing are examples of non-impact; walking is considered to be light impact.
Perform the balance and reach exercise, which uses your arch for stability. Stand barefoot with the right side of your body next to the back of a chair. Place your right hand on the chair for support as you lift your right foot off the floor and balance on your left leg. Slightly bend your left knee. Engage the arch of your foot; make sure the big toe stays on the floor. Bend forward at your waist and reach forward with your left hand as far in front of you as you are able while still maintaining your balance and keeping the knee at just a slight bend. Return to the starting position. Complete two sets of 10 repetitions on each foot.
Sit tall on the edge of a chair for the towel pickup exercise. Remove your socks and shoes and place your feet flat on the floor. Position a hand towel on the floor in front of your feet. Start with the right foot; pick up the towel with your toes. Hold the contraction for one count and then release the towel back to the floor. Complete 10 to 20 repetitions and repeat on the left foot. Increase the challenge by placing a small book or some other item on the towel that will provide resistance and make it more difficult to lift the towel off the floor.
Massage the arch of your foot with a frozen juice can or tennis ball; massaging the arch helps to increase flexibility and alleviate tightness on the bottom of your foot. Place the can or ball on the floor and roll your mid-arch over it, moving back and forth for three to five minutes. Repeat on the other foot.