Most people living with a pair of flat feet get through life without any pain or problems, but having this abnormality does mean your feet are equipped with less shock absorption. What this means, is that additional pressure can end up hurting your heels, ankles, knees, or even your back, and nobody needs that. For those that suffer from plantar fasciitis, there are some simple tricks that might help alleviate pain and even support long-term foot health.
Know Your Personal Needs
Speak to your doctor if you continuously suffer from these types of discomforts, as unique conditions personal to your situation could affect which course of treatment might be best-suited for you. While you’re at it, why not give some of these exercises and stretches a try too? Just keep in mind to know your own limits and be observant of how your body responds.
1. Do Everything Barefoot
Whether at home, in the garden, or during your usual exercise routine, kick your shoes off! Poorly fitted footwear can weaken the arches, whilst walking around barefoot helps to flex and push your foot into a better shape. Just be careful of sharp objects!
2. Toe Running
Most people land heel-first, but when running barefoot, various studies have argued about the advantages of landing on the ball of your foot instead, which is known as forefoot running. This stretches out the bottom of your feet, and fires up your ligaments, avoiding any potential flat foot pain.3. Heel Separation
Another great method to stretch your ligaments is to sit down on a chair and place your feet together. Then, whilst keeping your toes touching and your feet on the floor, move your heels apart, and then bring them back. Repeat this in slow motion, becoming aware of the tug of your tendons, which will train them to be more flexible.
4. Heel Raises
There are multiple variations of this exercise, but their principles are all the same: to strengthen the lower leg muscles which support your arch. Stand with each barefoot roughly shoulder-width distance apart, and then lift your heels as high as you can off of the ground, pushing your toes into the floor. For even better results, slightly bend the knees, and roll your feet outward, onto their edges. Raise yourself onto your toes from this position for about five seconds, then release.
5. Toe Scrunches
Depending on how adventurous you are feeling, there are various levels of difficulty when it comes to toe scrunches. For beginners, place a towel beneath your toes and grip the item, pulling it towards you, with your heel fixed to the ground. For intermediate players, place additional weight onto the towel. And for experts, sit the towel on a step, and while scrunching it up with your toes, slowly lower your heels towards the ground below, and then back up again.
6. Plantar Fascia Stretch
One of the most common forms of flat feet trouble, is from the plantar fasciitis, which is the ligament that joins your heel up to your toes. To target this area specifically, stand in front of a wall with your toes pressed up against it, pointed towards the sky, with the rest of your foot flat on the ground. Gently bring your knee to the wall and hold this position. If you find yourself regularly dealing with this type of pain, don’t forget that there are plantar fasciitis socks specifically designed to bring this ailment some relief!
7. Calf Stretches
As the calf attaches the lower leg to the heel, this stretch can also be used to help eradicate flat foot pain. Simply keep your feet facing forward, and then lean ahead by bending the front knee, whilst keeping the back leg completely straight. Hold for half a minute, and then swap legs.
As the principle of yoga is all about stretching and posture, it can give your feet a lot of love too. One of the most beneficial poses is known as “The Eagle”, where you bend your knee and then wrap your other foot around its calf area. The more you can extend and lift your toes, the better!
9. Toe Yoga
Speaking of yoga, why not try some toe specific yoga poses! Start by lifting your big toe up whilst keeping your other four toes down, holding for five seconds, and letting it drop. Then repeat the motion, except this time pressing the big toe down and lifting your other four toes up for five seconds. Also don’t forget to stretch, pointing the toes from both of your feet at the same time, holding for 15 seconds, then releasing, repeating this 10 times.
10. Tennis Ball Exercise
One of the most famously recommended flat foot exercises to ease your pain is this one. Place the tennis ball on the floor, and then roll it beneath your foot. Experiment by shifting the ball’s position, then taking turns to try and touch your toes or your heel to the ground. If done right, this exercise should feel as good as a massage, and you will want to do it all the time!