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FLAT FOOT WHAT NEXT?

The 6 best flatfoot exercises for at home

by UXGO
22. August 2019, 13:57

Diagnosed with flat feet - what now? Do I need surgery, will I have to live with pain, does flatfoot limit my running, or do there happen to be super simple and fit flatfoot exercises for on the go or at home that you can do without much effort to get rid of flatfoot once and for all?

In fact, these flatfoot exercises do exist and depending on how diligently and regularly you do them, you can make quite a difference. In addition to the flatfoot exercises, there are supporting orthopaedic aids, such as flatfoot insoles or flatfoot shoes, which are not only beautiful, but physiologically designed to support your feet and not constrict them.

First and foremost, however, you need to know what the causes and symptoms are in order to choose the right aids and flatfoot exercises. Let's start by clarifying what exactly a flat foot is.

Would you like to go straight to the exercises? Then just click here:

To the exercises

 


Plattfuß und ein Fußabdruck eines Plattfußes

Flatfoot definition

 

Flatfoot, also called pes planus (flat foot), is a foot deformity in which the longitudinal arch is completely lowered, so that the sole of the foot almost completely touches the ground. In most cases, flat feet are preceded by fallen arches, in which the longitudinal arch of the foot sinks under load. In flat feet, as the name suggests, the foot is completely lowered, even without weight bearing. A flat foot can be congenital or develop over time. 

The right flatfoot shoes can do a lot and stop it.

Do you have a flat foot or do you notice that your arch has sunk more and more over the years? Then you should react quickly if you want to avoid something worse. In addition to the flat-foot exercises, you should consciously place value on good and comfortable flat-foot shoes that offer sufficient space and wearing comfort. The less negative stress you put on your foot, the slower the deformity can get out of hand and worsen.  

Do you want to go straight to the flatfoot shoes and choose your favourite model that is suitable for flatfoot insoles as well as for everyday wear? Then click here!

Find your flatfoot shoes


Causes of a flat foot


The cause for the development of a flat foot is a maldevelopment of the foot skeleton. As a rule, a healthy foot is arched longitudinally at the inner instep and thus a finger's width from the ground. In a deformity such as a flat foot, the longitudinal arch is lowered and the heel is raised. 

Doctors and orthopaedists distinguish between 4 different types of flat feet, each of which has different causes: 

  • Congenital flatfoot is a very rare phenomenon and usually occurs together with other deformities. This foot deformity often runs in families. It is assumed that flat feet are inherited. It is also known as pes planus congenitus, swing foot or ink eraser foot. 
  • Acquired flatfoot, on the other hand, is the most common form of flatfoot. It is caused by weakened and non-functional ligaments and muscles. This can result from overloading, weakness of the connective tissue or being overweight. Constantly wearing shoes also promotes flat feet. The feet are restricted in their freedom of movement and the foot muscles are not sufficiently trained.
  • The third form is the inflammatory (contracted) flatfoot, which is also acquired and mainly affects people who have to walk and stand a lot, mostly for occupational reasons. In osteoarthritis, these inflammations can also lead to a contracted flatfoot. 
  • The fourth and final cause is post-traumatic flatfoot, which is the result of a former injury to the foot muscles or a fracture to the foot skeleton.  

 

Not every flatfoot has to cause symptoms. Depending on the severity and cause, there are simple flatfoot exercises to do at home that anyone can do regularly without much effort or money to counteract a deformity.

Would you like to jump directly to the flatfoot exercises? Then just click here:

Flatfoot exercises


However, before going to the flatfoot exercises, it is important to know the symptoms and how pronounced the flatfoot is in order to start the treatment correctly.


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Symptoms of flat feet

 

A flat foot does not always cause difficulties. This depends mainly on the cause, the deformity and its severity. For example, a mild flatfoot acquired at a late age can be completely symptom-free, while a congenital flatfoot can cause severe discomfort and must be treated urgently. 

The sooner you react, the less chance the flatfoot has.

Basically, the difficulties come with duration, as ligaments, tendons and muscles are affected over time and thus the entire foot skeleton is negatively stressed. With targeted flatfoot exercises, you can easily rebuild weakened ligaments and muscles and thus avoid increasing severity and pain that affects you when walking and standing.

In children and adolescents, flat feet are not uncommon, but in most cases they are completely harmless. Here, the foot first has to develop properly. The foot deformity disappears by itself. If the deformity is actually congenital and is not treated properly and in time, it can prevent the healthy development of the foot skeleton and musculature, which can finally only be remedied with surgery. 

Depending on the degree of severity, a distinction is made as to which treatment is possible and which flatfoot exercises are helpful in correcting the deformity. Click here to go directly to the flatfoot exercises!

Flatfoot exercises


Diagnosis of flat feet - how bad is it and what can I do? 

 

In summary, we can now say: not all flat feet are the same. Is it congenital or acquired, how long have you had it and at what age did the symptoms first appear? Many factors play a role here. A previous injury to the foot, being overweight or wearing the wrong shoes can also be triggers for flat feet.

In order to get a holistic picture of your foot deformity and thus find the right therapy and suitable flatfoot exercises, you should get a clear diagnosis from a doctor, not only about whether you have flat feet, but above all about how badly. Orthopaedists distinguish between 5 different degrees of severity for flat feet.

What are the different degrees of severity and what do they mean?

  • Severity 1:
    Flexible - You can straighten your foot on your own and the doctor can correct your deformity manually (passively). Your Achilles tendon is unchanged and of normal length.
  • Severity 2:
    Relatively flexible - the Achilles tendon is already a little shortened, but the doctor can still correct your malposition with his hands. 
  • Severity 3:
    Partially fixed - you can only partially correct the deformity with your hands and the Achilles tendon is shortened. The rear foot points outwards (bent foot).
  • Severity 4:
    More fixed - malposition can only be corrected a little with the hands, the Achilles tendon is also shortened and the rear part of the foot leans outwards while the front foot is splayed.
  • Severity 5:
    Fully fixed - here it is no longer possible for the doctor to correct the malposition. The heel is raised, the front of the foot is still splayed, the head of the ankle is protruding at the inner edge of the foot. The inner instep is slightly raised and the outer edge of the foot is strongly lowered. 

 

Note: The lighter the degree of severity, the easier it is to correct flat feet with specific exercises. As long as there is a certain degree of flexibility and the foot is still mobile, you can consciously work on the problem areas. It is important to start early with the right treatment, because a flat foot, like any foot deformity, can affect the whole body, your joints, your spine and your whole posture.

You will find out what the consequences can be if you ignore your flat foot right after the exercises for flat feet. They are coming now!


Flatfoot exercises: Straighten the arch of your foot 

 

Now that you know the causes, symptoms and severity of your flatfoot, you want to get started with flatfoot exercises to straighten your arch and counteract your deformity. We have 6 flatfoot exercises for you to help you with this. Whether at home in front of the TV, at work or in your free time, you can easily do the exercises without the need for a lot of equipment or time. Since we now know that the calf muscle may also suffer from a lowered longitudinal arch, we have also made sure to train and strengthen it with the flatfoot exercises. 

To ensure that the exercises really help you and meet the latest scientific standards, we have prepared them in cooperation with our physiotherapy expert, who has added further useful tips.

It pays to keep at it! For a lasting effect, develop a daily routine. 10 minutes a day is enough to achieve results with the flatfoot exercises. 

Flatfoot exercise no. 1 - Short foot according to Janda

 

Do this exercise comfortably in a seated position.

For the flat foot exercise, place your affected foot on the floor and pay attention to the three points of contact: Heel, little toe and big toe. Place your toes on the floor with light pressure, without clawing. Now pull the base of your big toe towards your body/heel or the other way round, the heel towards the big toe, without moving the foot! You can now observe how your longitudinal arch lifts slightly Hold the position for several seconds. A basic tension is built up and your longitudinal arch is activated.

Repeat this exercise constantly for 2 minutes.

Expert Tip:
"This exercise is the basis for a good arch, activates the small foot muscles and trains perception. To create a functional connection, it makes sense to integrate this exercise into everyday life while standing, in the car at the traffic lights, while cooking at the cooker or whenever it suits you."
Simon Volz, physiotherapist (B. Sc.)

Flatfoot exercise no. 2 - Loosening muscles

 

Loosen up instead of strengthening - Do this exercise while sitting or standing.

You can use a smooth or studded ball for this. Roll the ball with your foot from the big toe to the heel and back again. Apply light pressure to create a massage effect. Try not to cramp your toes. This loosens up your muscles and relaxes ligaments and tendons from overuse and strain. You can also roll the ball over your calves with light pressure to massage and loosen your calf muscles.

Expert Tip:
"This exercise makes the fascia in the foot area more supple, loosens adhesions and improves elasticity. This not only has an effect on the feet, but on the entire fascia of the back. Here is a self-test: Bend towards the floor with legs straight and arms loose. Have a partner measure the distance between your middle finger and the floor. Do exercise no. 2 and measure again. If the distance has decreased, this is due to the improved elasticity of the large dorsal fascia "Superficial Backline". This exercise can therefore also have a positive influence on knee, hip or back problems."
Simon Volz, physiotherapist (B. Sc.)

Flatfoot exercise no. 3 - On tiptoe against flat feet

 

Train your sense of balance at the same time - do this exercise while standing and walking.

Stand on your toes and walk around. Hold this position for 2-3 minutes. This strengthens your muscles that straighten the longitudinal arch of the foot, especially the rear shin muscle. You can do this exercise for flat feet anytime at home, while cooking, brushing your teeth, hanging laundry or even vacuuming.

Flatfoot Exercise No. 4 - Foot Anchor

 

The 2-point plan for your arch - This exercise is done while standing and is an enhanced version of exercise no. 1.

Equipment: Gymnastic band

Position one end of the band under your big toe and the other diagonally opposite at the outer end of your heel. Stretch the band with your arms and straighten your arch as in exercise no. 1 without losing the ends of the band. Make sure that all toes, especially the little toe, remain in good contact with the floor.

Hold the position for several seconds and repeat this exercise 5-10 times.

Flatfoot Exercise No. 5 - Softener

 

Good for the calves and the arch of the foot - Do this exercise standing up.

Choose a soft object such as a towel, cushion or similar. Stand on it and actively press your toes towards the floor. Hold this position for 20 seconds and repeat the exercise 3 times.

Flatfoot Exercise No. 6 - The Toe Grab

 

You can do this exercise while sitting or standing.

You need an old newspaper that you lay on the floor. Now place one foot on top of the newspaper to hold it in place and try to grab and tear the newspaper with the toes of the other foot. Switch feet in between. You can do this exercise several times a day.

Expert Tip:
"Don't do it with clawed or hammer toes, as this would increase the symptoms (of clawed toes)."
Simon Volz, physiotherapist (B. Sc.)


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The consequences of flat feet and a weakened foot arch

 

Regardless of whether you have a congenital or acquired flat foot or your foot is just developing the deformity, a change in foot position always affects the rest of the body. When something literally goes wrong with your foot, the rest of your body tries to compensate for the problem. This means that all the joints above your foot catch what your foot can no longer do because of the misalignment.

To further stabilise your longitudinal arch and prevent flat feet, one muscle in particular comes into play: the calf muscle (tibialis posterior). If you stand a lot or walk a lot and for a long time on hard surfaces and wear shoes that are not physiological, the calf muscle is overloaded. What happens? At some point this muscle is also overworked and can no longer fulfil its function - the result is flat feet.

This malposition continues through the body, starting with the lower leg, passing through the knee and thigh and ending with the hip. Because the longitudinal arch of the foot is tilted inwards and lowered, all the joints now shift inwards. X-legs develop and the cruciate ligament is put under a lot of strain. Depending on the severity and duration of the flat feet, this process can extend over the entire body and stresses not only the lumbar vertebrae, but also the pelvis and all the leg joints. Flat feet also promote a hollow back and unhealthy posture.


The cause does not always lie exactly where the problem occurs.

 

Maybe you have had problems with your balance, pelvis, back or knees for a long time. All of these can actually be caused by a foot malposition such as flat feet.

Avoid consequential damage and unnecessary pain by quickly getting to the bottom of the cause and having your orthopaedist or doctor examine and advise you carefully. With special flatfoot exercises, you can straighten your arch and get rid of all problems in no time.

You already have a flat foot and are looking for suitable shoes for your insoles?
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The Super Flatfoot Exercise for Happy, Shapely and Healthy Feet

 

The best and most natural of all exercises, whether for flat feet or any other foot deformity, is still walking barefoot. And do it as often as possible and on a wide variety of surfaces. It strengthens the foot muscles and counteracts foot malpositions. Since not all of us can walk barefoot through woods and meadows all day, we have a special idea for the home that can be mastered quickly and lasts a long time with a little time and creativity.


Bring the forest walk to your home.

 

To do this, you need a pair of large cardboard boxes and bowls that you fill with a variety of materials. Pebbles, sand, moss, water, wood, bark, clay. There are no limits, because everything that comes from nature and serves as a walkable surface is good. Now you have your own barefoot course and the best flatfoot exercise there is. Of course, back to a healthy, well-formed and erect arch.


Flat feet in children

 

First and foremost, it is important to differentiate between children and the type of foot deformity that is actually present. In most cases, it is a bent flat foot and is largely normal in small children. The thigh bones of children are not yet as pronounced as those of adults, which is also the reason for the slight X-position of the legs. It is not until the age of 6 that the position of the legs normalises due to a stronger arch of the foot. The acquired flat foot in children is completely different from the natural flat foot.

Distinguish between natural and acquired flat feet.

The latter often only appears after children have reached walking age and is due to muscle weakness. Children should therefore walk barefoot or in socks as often as possible, as otherwise the muscles and tendons that hold the calves and feet in place are weakened and not properly developed. Therefore, it is important to ensure that children get enough exercise and wear the right shoes in the right size at an early age.


How do I find out if my child is affected by a bent flat foot?

 

It's very simple - ask your child to stand on their toes. If he or she can do this without any problems and the arch alignment works, everything is fine. If he or she has difficulties or only partially succeeds in the exercise, it is likely that he or she has a bent flatfoot. In many cases this is related to the sense of balance or even a general muscle weakness. In order to have a clear diagnosis and to find the right therapy and treatment, you should consult a doctor.

In this video it is explicitly explained again why children do not need insoles, but time so that the foot can develop healthily.


Orthopaedic flatfoot insoles

 

Now you know the best flatfoot exercises and are already training hard to straighten your lowered arch. In addition to the exercises, you can support your flat foot the rest of the time with a flat foot insole. The insoles lift the longitudinal arch and stabilise the rest of the foot. The aim of the insoles is not to create an artificial arch, but to regain full mobility of the foot and to reactivate the foot muscle.

Thanks to the insoles, not only the heel but also the shoulders, hips and knees are straightened, which leads back to a natural and upright posture and can relieve pain. The insoles are usually slightly raised at the back of the heel so that the foot is well stabilised. Be sure to have your flatfoot insoles custom-fitted and replace them regularly with new ones. The insoles fit any shoe.


The right flat-foot shoes are from UXGO.

 

Our shoes are made of high-quality material and are always made of genuine leather. Thanks to the innovative UXGO last with the V-effect, which was developed by experts, the flat-foot shoes adapt to your natural foot shape and your foot has enough space in the front of the shoe, while at the same time it is stabilised at the heel. Thanks to the extra high shaft, you can easily wear the shoes with flatfoot insoles without your foot slipping out of the flatfoot shoe. And not only do they fit perfectly, but all other types of orthopaedic insoles as well.

Because that's exactly what the shoes are designed for. But we want more than just a functional and pain-reducing shoe: our expert-tested shoes are fashionable, sporty, chic and durable. You can also wear them without any problems if you have deformities such as hallux valgus.

Find your favourite flat-foot shoe here and order it free of charge to your home.

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Tip in the Box:

 

Do you have to operate on a flat foot?

Only in the rarest of cases. Namely, when there are severe impairments, such as pain or walking problems, or when joints and tendons are already severely damaged, so that natural regeneration through flatfoot exercises is no longer guaranteed and you want to avoid further severe damage.

If you do not have any major complaints, conservative therapy with targeted flatfoot exercises is exactly the right way to quickly get rid of your flat feet.


Conclusion

 

The sooner - the better. This applies in any case to flat feet. Recognise early, treat early, avoid pain and consequential damage and always do the flatfoot exercises regularly, then nothing can really go wrong.

Important notice:

This article contains general information only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. It cannot replace a visit to the doctor. If you have pain from a flat foot, make an appointment with an orthopaedist, preferably a foot specialist, and discuss in person which flat foot exercises are best suited to your foot deformity and can help.

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