Though there are no permanent “cures” to treat flat feet, there are exercises that can help reduce the aches and pains that flat feet can lead to over time. Here, we offer a selection of ankle, leg, knee, hip, lower back, shoulder and neck exercises that may help flat feet patients and their chronic pains in various regions of their bodies. It is important to understand that these exercises may help reduce aches and pains caused by flat feet in patients, but they are not permanent; continuous strengthening of tendons and muscles will give best results. It is also important to schedule an appointment with an orthopedic doctor if your aches and pains increase and cause further problems.
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Exercise #1: “The Windshield Wiper” is a fantastic and quick exercise to do when in the office, while traveling, or when sitting in a classroom for a long period of time. This exercise will help you tighten and strengthen your tendons and will hold your bones in tact to prevent ankle injuries and reduce pain in your ankles due to flat feet. In a sitting position, put your foot flat on the floor facing straight ahead. Start rotating your foot just like a windshield wiper pivoting the foot to the outside and inside. Do this exercise 15 times, repeating 2-3 times about 3 times/day.
Exercise #2: “Single Leg Stand With A Towel” is a convenient exercise to do in the morning or at night while brushing your teeth in the bathroom. This exercise is designed to strengthen the tendons and muscles around the ankle and is a great tool to prevent future injuries! Roll up a bathroom towel so it is about 4-5in thick and is as wide and long as your entire foot. Stand with one foot on the towel, lifting the foot that is not on the towel up from the floor (single leg stand).Hold your balance for 30-40 seconds. Repeat this exercise 2-3 times then switch feet. To challenge yourself, you can do the “Single Leg Stand” exercise on the towel – use extreme caution.
Exercise #3: “The Abductor Raise” is a great exercise to do at any strength level to reduce risks of knee and back injuries. Lie on your side on the floor, holding yourself up with the elbow that is closest to the floor. Have the leg that is closest to the floor bent and the other leg straight. Very slowly, start lifting up the leg that is straight upwards, parallel to your hip. Hold your leg in the air for 10sec, then slowly lower it down towards the ground. Repeat the exercise 15 times and then switch legs.
Exercise #4: “Bent Leg Raises” this is a great quick and easy exercise to do then you are stuck in the office all day long. It reduces back and knee stress and at the same time straightens your tendons and muscles around the knee. Sit in a chair and straighten one leg up parallel to the floor without locking your knee. Hold the leg in the air for 30-60sec.Bend the knee half way down without touching the floor and hold for an additional 30sec.Lift your leg up straight again and continue holding for 30-60sec.Repeat the exercise 15 times then switch legs.
Exercise #5: “Seated Hip Rotator” is an everyday exercise that is great for any human being with or without hip pains and flat feet. This will strengthen both your hips, legs, and core and will prevent future pains and aches. For this exercise you will need: Resistance band.
Attach a resistance band on the opposite side of the leg you are going to work out. Attach the resistance band to your ankle. Keep your core tight, your hips and knees parallel to the floor in a sitting position (sit on a chair or bench).Keep your knees very tight, lift your leg out to the side slowly and hold for 2-3sec. Slowly bring the leg back to the starting position. Repeat exercise 15times then switch legs.
Exercise #6: “The Hip Flexor” works wonders if you want to reduce and prevent hip pain. For this exercise you will need: Resistance band.
Attach the resistance band and put your foot through the resistance band. Face away from the band’s anchor. Keep the foot that is attached to the resistance band straight, your core tight, and hips parallel to the ground and shoulders. Lift your foot forward slowly and hold for 2-3sec. Lower the leg slowly to the starting position. Repeat the exercise 15 times then switch legs.
Exercise #7: “Wall Squats” is a simple yet effective daily exercise you can do at any time of the day. This exercise reduces stress on your lower back and encourages proper posture as well. Stand with your back leaning straight against the wall.
Slowly take a step away from the wall with your back still touching the wall and bend your knees to about 45°.Hold the bent position for 3-5sec, then return upright. Repeat the exercise 15 times.
Exercise #8: “Hamstring Stretch” is great for any time of day. This exercise releases any tension in your lower back and helps maintain a healthy posture by strengthening your core and back muscles. Lie on your back on the floor with both your knees bent. Hold one thigh behind the knee as that leg point to the ceiling. Slowly start straightening the leg you are holding until the back of the thigh feels stretched. Hold the stretch for 20sec then slowly let go of your thigh and relax. Repeat the exercise 15 times then switch legs.
Shoulders and Neck Exercises
Exercise #9: “Back Flyes” is an excellent exercise at any strength level that removes all aches and pains from the shoulders due to improper posture, injuries, or gaits (flat feet).For this exercise you will need: Resistance band.
Anchor your resistance band and hold each end with your hands facing the anchor. Start extending your arms to each side while your arms are straight, your core tight, and your hips are parallel to your shoulders and the floor. Hold the stretch for 5sec, then slowly return to the starting position. Repeat the exercise 15 times and rest as needed. Hint: your arms need to be parallel to the floor at all times and perpendicular to your spine.
Exercise #10: “Chin To Chest” increases your flexibility and reduces pain and tightness in your neck. This stretch works great at any time of day even when you are in the office cramming away for deadlines. Sit straight in a chair with your shoulders nice and relaxed and your hips parallel to the floor with both feet on the floor (don’t sit cross-legged).Gently bend your head forward allowing your chin touch your chest. Take your time, stop stretching if your back feels too tight. Hold the stretch for 15 sec and then return to the starting position. Repeat the exercise 1-15 times.