Exercises to Target Flat Feet

If the entire sole of your foot touches the ground when you stand up, you have a condition called flat feet. In Palm Desert, CA, foot specialist Dr. Harvey Danciger treats patients with flat feet on a regular basis. They are medically called pes planus or commonly known as fallen arches. Flat feet can occur when arches do not develop during childhood, due to obesity, after an injury or from wear and tear as we age.

Are Flat feet Painful?

For many people, flat feet are often painless causing little to no problem with participating in regular activities or wearing the shoes they desire. If you do have minor aching, pain or swelling due to flat feet, it may be from the condition causing a shortening of your Achilles tendon. A shortened Achilles tendon can cause foot, calf and lower leg pain. To alleviate any discomfort you may be having due to flat feet, Dr. Danciger recommends doing some stretching and muscle building exercises.

Exercises for Flat feet

Towel Stretch – You only need a towel and the floor for this exercise. Roll up a towel then sit on the floor with your legs out straight in front of you. Put the towel around the ball of one foot and gently pull the towel in towards you. This should give the back of your calf muscle a nice stretch. Repeat with the other foot.

Toe Pick-Up – Using the same towel, lay it out on the floor and sit in a chair right in front of it. Curl the toes on one foot to pull the towel towards you then repeat with the other foot. You can add a heavy book on the towel to give some resistance as well.

Toe-Grab – Stand barefoot with your feet hip-width apart. If you can imagine standing on sand, lift the toes of one foot up and pretend to grab as much sand as you can and hold before releasing. Continue this grab and release action for 30 seconds and then repeat with your other foot.

Leg Balance – To help strengthen your arch, stand on one foot near a wall for support. Concentrate on increasing your arch as you stand and hold the position for 30 seconds. Repeat on your other foot and do ten repetitions for each foot.

Tennis Ball Massage – While sitting down, put a tennis ball under the heel of one foot and the ball of your foot on the floor. Press your weight into the ball for 10 seconds. You can then press your arch onto the tennis ball and roll your foot back and forth. Lastly, put the ball under the ball of your foot with your heel on the floor and press your weight onto the ball for 10 seconds. Do each exercise with both feet to help massage and stretch your arches.

If you are experiencing serious foot, ankle, knee or back pain that you feel is due to your flatfoot condition, make an appointment with Dr. Danciger to be treated at our podiatric office. He can make a thorough diagnosis of your pain and provide the right course of treatment to alleviate your pain. Call our office at (760) 568-0108 or make an appointment directly from our homepage.


Dr. Harvey Danciger
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Dr. Harvey Danciger is a podiatrist and foot surgeon in Palm Desert, CA specializing in the foot and ankle