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The 6 golden hollow foot exercises for every day


Did you know that 75% of all workers suffer from back pain and 45% from knee pain, often due to a foot malposition? It doesn't have to be that way. In our series on the most common foot malpositions, we're covering high arches in this article.

We focus on the best hollow foot exercises that you can use to curb and, in the best case, correct your foot problem. This is because early diagnosis and the right form of therapy are important in order not to provoke any late consequences and not to let your body suffer from the deformity. In addition to the high arch exercises, there are various orthopaedic aids, such as the high arch step insole or the high arch splint. However, you should always talk to your doctor or orthopaedist first and get the right diagnosis so that you can react in a targeted way.

Know the extent of your problem

Knowing the cause and symptoms is indispensable for a successful and individual therapy of your foot malposition in case of a high arch. To begin with, we clarify the term and analyse how and why a hollow foot can develop and how these causes can have an effect.

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Hohlfuß und Fußabdruck eines Hohlfuß

What is a high arch?


A hollow foot (pes cavus) is a deformity of the foot that can be congenital or acquired. It is often accompanied by a splayfoot, sometimes also by a bent foot. If your footprint is split in two, then you are the proud owner of a hollow foot. In contrast to a flat foot, where the longitudinal arch is lowered, you have a higher than average longitudinal arch.

You can recognise a high arch with the naked eye.

As a rule, the distance between the longitudinal arch and the ground is one finger wide, in the case of a hollow foot it is about 2 fingers. This is why the hollow foot is stockier and therefore shorter than a healthy foot. It is not uncommon for the heel to tilt inwards, which increases the tendency to twist the ankle.

In addition to the rare surgical corrections, there are a variety of conservative forms of therapy, such as hollow foot insoles and effective hollow foot exercises, to correct the deformity and, above all, to avoid overloading the outer foot.  

The right hollow foot shoes are the best support

Hollow-foot patients in particular have great problems when buying shoes. Because of the extremely high arch, your feet hardly fit into ordinary shoes. That's why you should get yourself suitable hollow-foot shoes with enough space as soon as possible, so that your feet don't have to suffer from too narrow a shape, rigid material and the pressure points, friction or calluses that come with it. 

Click here to go directly to the selection of hollow foot shoes. 

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Causes of high arch - how does high arch develop?


There are two possible causes for the development of a high arch. We differentiate between hereditary high arches and acquired high arches. But don't worry: in both cases you can counteract the development of high arches with high arch exercises.

Inherited high arch

In most cases, high arches are a family problem and are inherited. The deformity develops during growth and becomes entrenched through wearing the wrong shoes. The foot becomes immobile and loses its natural elasticity, it stiffens and forms an excessive longitudinal arch.

Acquired high arch

Acquired high arch is usually caused by paralysis of the small muscles of the foot. This can have orthopaedic, neurological or neuromuscular causes and the high arch occurs as a result of a previous illness. It is not always possible to clearly determine the origin of the high arch. In this case, it is called idiopathic (= without cause) high arch. These diseases can be possible triggers for the high arch:

  • Muscle and ligament weakness or neurogenic muscle atrophy, where a nerve disease leads to muscle atrophy.
  • Friedreich's ataxia, a nerve disease of the central spinal cord, but also other spinal cord injuries
  • Spinal cord tumours

  • Nerve diseases, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, in which nerve cells die off


Another reason is the frequent wearing of shoes that are too small or too high, which can shorten the ligaments and tendons and lead to a deformity such as the hollow foot.

As long as the high arch does not cause massive discomfort, you can counteract the deformity, whether acquired or inherited, with targeted high arch exercises without having to reckon with more serious measures, such as a high arch operation. The best way to do this is to wear high heel shoes and take care of your feet.

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

High arch exercises

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High arch symptoms


A hollow foot is easy to recognise because of its striking appearance and is the opposite of a flat foot. Affected persons notice the hollow foot especially when buying shoes and wearing the usual clothing sizes. Because of the high instep, the foot hardly fits into fashion shoes. Symptomatic is also the changed appearance of the foot, which only takes place on the forefoot and the heel, which as a result has to bear the entire body load, and this in turn causes discomfort over time.

Patients with mild or mild high arches have no or hardly any complaints.

Classic symptoms only develop over time. These include

  • Pain at the outer edge of the foot

  • Calluses on the edge of the foot (corns)

  • Frequent twisting of the ankle due to the instability of the foot and the lack of support

  • Claw toes, hammer toe, hallux valgus or a splayfoot, due to the excessive strain on the forefoot (metatarsalgia)

  • Heel pain up to Haglund's heel, due to increased shoe pressure and overloading

  • Severe irritation of the plantar tendon (lower heel spur)

  • Transfer metatarsalgia: overloading of the toe heads


Basically, and depending on the cause, high arches develop quite slowly. Typical symptoms are increasing pain and pressure points from the shoe on the back of the foot and the sole of the ball of the foot, and you will also notice increased callus formation on the overstressed parts of the foot. (This is why you should always use special and comfortable hollow-foot shoes). Over the years, corns, hammer toes and claw toes develop due to the heavy load on the forefoot, which are symptomatic of an advanced stage of the foot deformity. 

Depending on the severity of the deformity, a distinction is made as to which treatment is appropriate and which hollow foot exercises are helpful in correcting the deformity.

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High arch treatment and therapy


In summary, we can now say that not all high arches are the same.

As already discussed in the section on causes, high arches can be inherited or acquired. In the case of a neurological and thus 'real' high arch, the treatment depends on the underlying disease. Functional therapy is therefore best suited for a 'non-genuine' (idiopathic) high arch, i.e. an acquired high arch whose origin and cause cannot be clearly traced.

Why is an acquired (idiopathic) high arch better to treat?

If you start therapy for idiopathic high arches while the foot is still flexible and without major complaints, you can stop the changes in the foot and even reverse them with targeted high arches exercises. In this way, you strengthen your foot muscles and can support and accelerate this with orthopaedic aids, such as high arch night splints and high arch insoles and high arch shoes.

Which treatment method fits best and works effectively?

This depends not only on the stage of the hollow foot, but also on the age of the patient, the severity of the pain and the type of deformity.

The therapy can range from the right high arch shoes, accompanied by specific high arch exercises, to high arch insoles, to surgical interventions such as bone displacement (corrective osteotomy), joint stiffening for stabilisation (corrcture arthrodesis), but also to surgical dislocation of the tendons. In any case, it is strongly recommended that you first talk to your doctor or orthopaedist if you notice any abnormalities. He or she will determine the severity of the problem and the appropriate treatment and procedure. However, you can perform our high arch exercises at any time without hesitation.

You will learn about the consequences of ignoring your high arch directly after the high arch exercises. They are coming now!

Hollow foot exercises: first aid for every day


If your high arch is already advanced, you will need orthopaedic and physiotherapeutic treatment. A high arch usually results from paralysed or weak foot muscles. This should be strengthened and rebuilt with specific high arch exercises. In this way you can contribute to an improvement and achieve a correction of your deformity.

If left untreated, high arches can result in severe knee and hip pain, which can even lead to osteoarthritis. That's why we want to provide you with exercises that train and relieve your knee joint.

Together with our physiotherapy expert Simon Volz (physiotherapist, B. Sc.), we have compiled six effective hollow foot exercises and explained them briefly.

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 high arch exercises.

Hollow Foot Exercise No. 1 - Towel Wringing

Do this exercise while sitting comfortably.

Place the ankle of the affected foot on your knee. Now grasp the heel with one hand and the forefoot with the other. Turn the heel downwards while turning the front foot in the opposite direction, simulating the movement of wringing out a towel.

Repeat this exercise constantly for 2 minutes.

Hollow Foot Exercise No. 2 - The Stork

For support and balance - Do this exercise standing up.

Stand on two cushions stacked on top of each other. Now lift one leg and hold the balance with the other for about 30 seconds. Do this exercise alternately 5 times for the left foot and 5 times for the right foot. If you find this exercise difficult, start without a cushion under your standing leg!

Expert Tip:

"Good balance is essential for normal walking. Therefore, it is worthwhile to integrate balance exercises into your daily routine. A good way to do this is to always stand on one leg while brushing your teeth."

Hollow foot exercise no. 3 - Mobilising the lateral calf muscles (fascia technique)

Relax your calf muscles - do this exercise on the floor.

Aids: a fascia roller (or another cylindrical hard object, e.g. a rolling pin).

Lie on the affected side. The fascia roller lies on the side under the lower leg between the ankle and the knee. Support yourself on the forearm so that the elbow is below the shoulder joint. Bend the overlying leg and turn the foot towards the floor. Now place the sole of the foot flat on the floor. Now pull the toes and the foot of the lower leg towards the shin and roll at a slow pace 10 times from the knee joint to the outer ankle of the ankle joint. 

Expert Tip: 

"If you find a particularly sensitive spot in the muscles, you can linger on this spot with gentle pressure and wait until the pain subsides."

Hollow foot exercise no. 4 - fascia technique for the shin muscles

These are loosening exercises that you do before your direct corrective exercises - you do this exercise while sitting. 

Aids: Fascia roller (alternative object) from exercise no. 3.

Get into the so-called quadrupedal position, on your hands and knees. Place the fascia roll or an alternative object under your knee on the outside of the shin bone next to the bony edge of the shin bone. Now shift your weight to the affected side and apply light pressure to the muscle with the fascia roller. Roll 10 times towards the ankle joint and back to the knee. Stop at particularly painful points and consciously roll over this area several times. You will feel how the pain slowly decreases. 

Expert Tip: 

"The small version of the fascia roller, the Blackroll Mini or AchillX, is particularly suitable for this exercise because otherwise the distance between the floor and the leg is very high." 

Hollow foot exercise no. 5 - foot roll (with fascia roller)

You can do this exercise standing up

Aid: a fascia roller. It can also be a common object that you have at home, such as a ball, a water bottle or a rolled-up towel.

Place the rollable object on the floor and roll it forwards and backwards with your foot. Apply light pressure on it and make sure that you use the whole foot from the heel to the toes.

Do this exercise for 2 minutes per foot.

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High arch exercise no. 6 - Stretching the arch of the foot (plantar fascia)

Loosening and mobilising the arch of the foot - You do this exercise while sitting.

To counteract the tension within the tissue, you should stretch the fascia of the sole of the foot daily. To do this, place your affected foot on the knee of the other leg. The hand on the affected side grips the toes and pulls them up towards the shin. There should be a slight tension along the sole of the foot. Hold this position for 30 seconds and repeat this exercise 3 times. 

Consequences of high arches: from knee pain to runner's knee

A diagnosis of high arches is often the result of a previous condition, as we have already explained in the section on causes. The high arch itself can also cause a number of secondary diseases. As other muscles and joints of the body try to compensate for the malposition of the foot, they experience increased wear and tear over time due to overuse.

This often starts in the calf muscle (tibialis posterior), which is the first to take action when a deformity of the feet is imminent. In a hollow foot, the main stress is on the long calf muscle, which runs along the outer calf bone (Musculus fibularis longus). This is due to the fact that the body weight can no longer be distributed over the entire surface of the foot when walking, as is the case with a healthy foot, but instead rests mainly on the outer edge of the foot. This results in a shift of the centre of gravity, which in the next step affects the nearest joint. The knee now compensates and experiences the main load on the outer knee joint (lateral). This is how the first pains in the knee develop.

In order to prevent knee arthrosis and possibly subsequent hip arthrosis, the foot malposition must be urgently corrected to relieve the knee joint. Chronic overloading of the knee joint is called runner's knee, also known as jogger's knee.

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

Maybe you've had problems with your balance for some time, or with your pelvis, or severe back or knee pain. All of these can actually be caused by a foot malposition such as high arch.

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. You can effectively counteract your deformity and the associated pain with special high arch exercises.

You already have a high arch and are looking for suitable high arch shoes for your insoles?
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Other conservative treatment options for high arches

Have you been diagnosed with high arches and are already suffering from pain and the effects? No problem. The sooner you take action and counteract the symptoms, the sooner your high arch and the associated pain will be a thing of the past. (Of course, the degree of severity must always be taken into account. If your high arch is too severe, it is important to discuss how to proceed with your doctor or orthopaedist).

Here are some treatment options for you that you can implement without great expense or effort, in addition to your high arch exercises.

  • High arch insoles: High arch insoles are a popular and common conservative treatment option. They are made individually for your footprint and have a strong cushioning effect and create pressure compensation by relaxing the muscles of the sole. You can have customised hollow foot insoles made for you by an orthopaedic shoemaker. 

  • Hollow foot splints: A high arch brace is used to correct the deformity by moving the foot back into its natural shape and keeping it there. Hollow foot splints are available for both day and night use. 

  • Taping the hollow foot: You can tap your hollow foot with kinesiological tapes. It supports the arch of the foot and the muscular functions and relieves the pain.

Hollow foot profilaxis: no chance for the foot malposition

Unfortunately, you cannot prevent hereditary high arches. But you can prevent an acquired one, which is much more common. Women in particular are predestined for this. So make sure your shoes are not too small or too tight and avoid high heels as much as possible.

The right high arch shoes are actually all you need to defy a foot deformity such as high arch. With the special UXGO last, our experts have developed hollow-foot shoes that adapt to your natural foot shape and offer enough space for the toes, while stabilising the heel and even having enough space for hollow-foot insoles. This is achieved by the ultimate V-effect. It is based on the natural V-shape of the feet and thus avoids the shoes being unnaturally tight at the front and creating pressure points. No friction, no corns and always pain-free feet.

You want more than just functional hollow-foot shoes?

Then you're also in good hands with UXGO. Because these shoes not only ensure comfortable and well-cared-for feet, but are also modern, chic and sporty and go with every outfit. Here you will find our selection of all models. Order your favourite pair to take home and see for yourself the perfect hollow foot shoe.

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Tip in the Box:

Do you have to operate on a high arch?

A hollow foot only needs to be operated on if conservative therapy, such as hollow foot exercises, is not effective or reaches its limits. As with all other deformities, the aim is always to protect surrounding tendons, joints and muscles from major damage. If this is not easier, a high arch operation is considered.

You should think about surgery if you have the following symptoms:

  • The high arch is progressive, i.e. it progresses quickly.
  • You have pain and your gait is unstable 
  • Your outer ligaments are under too much strain due to frequent twisting of the ankles
  • You have injuries and sore spots on the sole of your foot that hardly heal or reoccur in the same place.

id="conclusion"If you know what you have, you can take targeted action against it! Are you unsure whether you actually have high arches or how you can treat them properly? Then go to your doctor or orthopaedist. The sooner you know, the sooner you can get rid of that unpleasant hollow foot. Recognise early, treat early, avoid pain and consequential damage and always do the high arch 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 foot pain caused by a high arch, make an appointment with an orthopaedic surgeon, preferably a podiatrist, and discuss in person which high arch exercises are best suited to your foot deformity and can help.

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