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How to fix flat feet?

Minute Read

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Posted 1 month ago

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Last updated: 04/12/2022

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by James McCormack

How to fix flat feet?

Flat Feet, which are medically known as pes planus, come in broadly two forms: rigid and flexible. A flexible flat foot refers to the ability to form an arch in your foot, but when weight bearing, the arch height reduces to result in a flat foot, while a rigid flat foot is not correctable.

In most cases, a rigid flat foot is a genetic condition, or it can be the result of arthritis, while a flexible flat foot can be the result of muscles that support the arch weakening over time or from an injury. This article will provide the steps you need to take to fix flexible flat feet, but these steps can also be helpful for those with a painful, rigid flat foot.

1: Strengthening Exercises
2: Ankle Stretches
3: Orthotics and Insoles
4: Stability Shoes

1: Strengthening Exercises

One of the leading causes of flat foot deformity is the slow progressive weakening of the muscles around the ankle and foot. This can result from an old injury, or the weakness can slowly develop through a lack of use. Muscle strengthening exercises can reduce pain levels and increase your arch height to fix your flat feet. All of these exercises should be pain-free to carry out. Repetitive, frequency and consistency are essential for at least 12 weeks to notice considerable changes in your arch height.

Posterior Tibialis Strengthening Exercise

  • In a seated position place the affected ankle over the opposite knee
  • Place a band around both feet
  • Point the toes of the affected foot and lift them up against the resistance of the band
  • Slowly return to your starting position to complete one repetition
  • Band Colour: Yellow
  • Repetitions: 15
  • Sets: 3
  • Frequency: Once daily

Soleus Calf Raises

  • Stand upright with both knees bent on the edge of a step
  • Maintain the bend in your knees while lifting your heels off the floor
  • Slowly return to your starting position to complete one repetition
  • Repetitions: 25
  • Sets: 3
  • Frequency: Once daily

Flexor Hallucis Longus Strengthening

  • Wrap a resistance band around the big toe
  • Lower the big toe to the floor against the resistance band keeping the other toes still
  • Slowly release the big toe up
  • Repetitions: 25
  • Sets: 3
  • Frequency: Once daily

2: Ankle Stretches

The calf muscle comprises two muscles; the Gastrocnemius and the Soleus muscle. Their primary functions are to plantarflex the foot and act as stabilisers of the foot and ankle. If their muscles become too tight, they can place extra stress on the arch of the foot and reduce the height of the arch of the foot. We have provided two stretches to help elongate each of these calf muscles.

Soleus Muscle Stretch

  • Stand upright with the affected leg behind you
  • Bend the back leg while keeping your heel on the floor
  • Stop and hold when you feel a pull on the back of your leg
  • Hold for 45 seconds
  • Repeat 3-4 times daily.

Gastrocnemius Stretch

  • Stand upright with the affected leg behind you
  • Keep the knee straight on the leg behind with a slight bend on the knee in front
  • Move forward on the front leg while keeping both heels on the floor
  • Stop moving forward once you feel a stretch on the back leg
  • Hold for 45 seconds
  • Repeat 3-4 times daily.

3: Orthotics and Insoles

Orthotics and insoles can help a flat foot by providing additional support to the medial arch of the foot and optimising how the foot moves. This is most important because if specific foot muscles are biomechanically overloaded, it can cause fatigue and gradually weaken them over time. Custom insoles are required in some cases, but for the majority, off-the-shelf insoles are sufficient.

WalkHero Inserts For Flat Feet

  • Deep Heel Cup for added ankle stability
  • Created with EVA which provides stability to the arch but is very lightweight
  • Good cushioning for all-day wearing

Comment from James: This is the insole we recommend most often due to its durability whereas a lot of prefabricated insoles break down very quickly.

James McCormack is a Physical Therapist who specializes in foot & ankle injuries. james-mccormack.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com

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4: Shoes for Flat Feet

Running shoes and normal shoes can provide additional support to the medial arch of the foot to help offload muscles in a similar way to insoles. Using stability shoes in addition to stretches and strengthening exercises can be extremely helpful for fixing flat feet.

Best Shoes for Flat Feet

We recommend the Hoka Arahi 6 Shoes for Flat Feet due to their cushioning, medial arch support and J-Frame midsole.

Pronation is the movement of the foot from outwards to inwards when you walk, and it is an ordinary and necessary movement of the foot. However, poor control of pronation moments due to flat feet. The medial arch support on the Hoka Arahi 6 help to control this motion when walking

The J-Midsole and cushioning make for a more enjoyable walk due to increased comfort.

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Physiotherapy with James McCormack

This is not medical advice. We recommend a consultation with a medical professional such as James McCormack. He offers Online Physiotherapy Appointments for £45.

Related Articles:

Do flat feet cause Shin Splints? – Best Insoles for Flat Feet – Conditions causing foot arch painFoot Pain Chart

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