What is Flat Foot?
When you look at a foot, there is typically a gap underneath the inner part of the foot when you stand. This is your arch. This arch provides the spring in your step, and allows body weight to be more efficiently distributed across your feet and legs. The structure of the arch can also determine a person’s gait. People with flat foot will have something known as a fallen arch, where they have either no arch in their feet or an arch that is very low to the ground. A common cause of flat feet includes genetics, as this is a trait that can be passed on from parents through genes. Having weak arches, or a foot/ankle injury can also lead to a flat foot. Flat foot can also come with age, as well as many other factors.
If you’re looking at your feet right now and discover that your arch is low or absent, you don’t need to worry. Flat foot only needs treatment if it causes discomfort, or leads to pain in another part of the body. Many people seem to have a low arch or no arch without ever experiencing any pain.
Exercises to manage symptoms of flat feet include:
- Keep one leg forward and the other behind you
- Press both heels firmly into the floor, while keeping your spine straight
- Bend into the front leg and push yourself against a wall with your arm to feel a stretch in the back leg and Achilles tendon.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds and repeat on each side.
Golf Ball Roll
- Sit on a chair with a tennis or golf ball under your foot
- Sit straight while you roll the ball under your foot, focusing on the arch
- Repeat for 1-2 minutes.
- Sit in a chair with a towel under your feet
- Push your heels into the floor and curl your toes to scrunch up the towel
- Hold this for a few seconds and release.
Other methods to treat flat feet include orthotic devices, motion control shoes, or going to physical therapy to correct flat feet, in the case that it is a result of injury or poor form.
If you have any pain during exercises, or are unsure about what you are doing, please consult your local physiotherapist before continuing.