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The 7 most effective splayfoot exercises 

30 October 2019, 1:41 pm

One of the most common foot deformities is splayfoot. Women in particular are often affected by it. Medical shoe insoles or special shoes for splayfoot prevent malpositions and ensure a pain-free walking experience.

Splayfoot gets its name from the fact that the metatarsal is spread and makes the front of the foot wider. It is, so to speak, the entry-level foot deformity, which can be followed by other deformities or occur in addition to the splayfoot. In order to prevent splayfoot from becoming a nuisance in the first place, we would like to inform you in this article about how splayfoot develops and how you can counteract it with specific splayfoot exercises. It is always important to know the cause in order to find the best therapy. You can find out how splayfoot develops in the next section.

If you want to go directly to the splayfoot exercises, click here.

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Spreizfuß und der Fußabdruck eines Spreizfußes

Where does my splayfoot come from? - Causes of splayfoot


Splayfoot usually first appears in adulthood. Often this foot deformity is homemade, because if you pay too little attention to your feet for a long time and subject them to too much stress, you will achieve the inevitable. With a splayfoot, the forefoot changes in the form of a splaying of the metatarsal bones and the intrinsic foot muscles (these are the muscles that connect the ankles) are also no longer as powerful as before. This means they can no longer maintain the arch of the foot. 

Splayfoot is rarely actually congenital.

The causes are very different. It is often caused by personal lifestyle, especially in women. This means that if you squeeze your foot into super high heels every day, wore shoes with too rigid or supportive soles as a child, suffer from severe overweight or possibly have a connective tissue weakness, you are a prime candidate for splayfoot. 

Splayfoot? - no reason to despair.

There are professional and simple splayfoot exercises that you can do at home at any time to relieve pain and correct the foot malposition. Here we first clarify all possible causes, because whoever knows the origin can best combat it. 

You want to go straight to the splayfoot shoes and choose your favourite model that is suitable for splayfoot insoles as well as for everyday wear?

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Splayfoot as a result of injury or disease


 Previous injury or underlying (genetic) conditions can also lead to splayfoot or fallen splayfoot. These include:

  • Rheumatism
  • Weakened ligament structures
  • Bone diseases (e.g. bone necrosis)
  • Injuries or trauma to the foot and adjacent ligaments and tendons
  • Paralysis caused by a damaged nervous system
  • A hollow foot  


You are not sure whether you have a high arch. Then you can read all about this topic in our hollow foot article, where you will also find suitable hollow foot exercises.

To the article on high arches 

Why overweight and the wrong shoes also lead to splayfoot

In addition to the above-mentioned pre-existing conditions and injuries, other causes of splayfoot or fallen arches include the patient's lifestyle. Severe overweight is an extreme strain on the feet, especially over long periods of time. The entire body weight is carried by your feet and you overstrain your ligaments with the excess kilos, which become visibly less elastic. It can also lead to curvature of the intrinsic foot muscles, which in turn promotes splayfoot.


The wrong shoes promote splayfoot

The wrong footwear, be it high heels, pumps, shoes that are too tight or too small, can also lead to an incorrect load on the feet, especially if worn frequently. This means that the changed load has a strong effect on the joints and toes and leads to consequential damage. Capsules and joints experience wear and tear and can tear more easily over time. This is usually accompanied by a malposition of the little toe.


Do I have splayfoot? - Splayfoot symptoms


Splayfoot is the foot deformity that most often leads to pain, mostly in the area of the middle toes and the bottom of the foot (metatarsalgia). Pain with every step and agony when rolling the foot are the result. If the shoe narrows the toes at the front, this pain is exacerbated. 

What consequences splayfoot can have for you:

  • Forefoot pain in the area of the metatarsal heads. A typical symptom is a relieving posture on the outside of the foot, which can be easily seen in the shoes that are worn sideways.
  • Metatarsalgia: advanced splayfoot often leads to severe metatarsal pain.
  • Callus and callus formation under the heads of the toes.
  • Regression of the ball of foot fat pad due to increasing load.
  • Faster fatigue of the feet due to incorrect loading, accompanied by severe pain, tingling, numbness and burning of the sole of the foot.


Long-term consequences of splayfoot:

  • Hallux valgus (bunion)
  • Claw toe
  • Enlargement of the foot, as the forefoot becomes wider and the foot thus lengthens. It becomes much more difficult to find suitable footwear with enough space and often the shoe size changes as well.
  • Hallux rigidus (arthrosis of the big toe)
  • Tarsal arthrosis (Lisfranc arthrosis)
  • Morton's neuroma: tissue growths press on the metatarsal nerves and an inflammatory enlargement of the nerve sheaths develops, which can lead to severe pain and numbness in the big toe.


To prevent this from happening in the first place, it is important to go directly to the doctor or consult an orthopaedic surgeon when the first symptoms appear. If you act faster, you can easily avoid worse things. With targeted splayfoot exercises, you can treat and correct a splayfoot that has not progressed very far.

In the next section, we will continue with the splayfoot exercises.


Splayfoot exercises: Treat your splayfoot at home


After the treatment options described above, we would like to introduce seven splayfoot exercises that you can do at any time throughout the day. Of course, you could also work with a splayfoot insole, but this supports the weakened foot muscles on the outside, but does not change the foot deformity itself in the long term. 

It is important to rebuild and strengthen the weakened foot muscles from the inside out to achieve good effects and make the deformity disappear. For this we have consulted our expert and physiotherapist (B.Sc.) Simon Volz, who has compiled the best and most effective exercises for you and provided you with expert tips. 

Regularity pays off! For a lasting effect, develop a daily routine. 10 minutes a day is enough to achieve results with the splayfoot exercises. 

Splayfoot Exercise No. 1 - The Foot Spiral


Mobilise your metatarsus and activate your small foot muscles.

Sit comfortably on a chair for this exercise.

Place one foot over the thigh of the other leg. Hold the heel with one hand and the forefoot with the other. Now turn the heel up and the forefoot down as if you were wringing out a towel. After a few repetitions, try to actively support the movement with your muscles. Perform the movement on both feet at a slow pace for about 2 minutes.

Expert tip: "This exercise not only improves the mobility and strength of the small foot muscles, but also the perception of a good screwed foot." Simon Volz, physiotherapist (B. Sc.)

Splayfoot Exercise No. 2 - The Towel Grip


Strengthen the small foot muscles


Sit upright on a chair for this exercise.

Place a towel under your feet. Now pull the towel towards your heels with your toes and forefoot. Keep your heels on the floor during this exercise. Repeat this exercise 10-15 times.

Expert tip: "You should not do this exercise with claw or hammer toes, as this could increase the discomfort." Simon Volz, physiotherapist (B. Sc.)

Splayfoot exercise no. 3 - Strengthening the shin muscle (M. tibialis posterior)


Strengthen the posterior tibialis muscle, a muscle that is essential in maintaining your transverse arch when walking and standing.

This exercise is done in a sitting position.

Wrap a theraband around your forefoot so that the ball of the little toe and the ball of the big toe are roughly in the middle of the band. Hold both ends of the band in your hand on the side you are exercising. Your hand must be a few centimetres to the side of your body so that the pull of the band pulls the outer edge of your foot outwards and upwards. Slightly extend your knee so that your forefoot is slightly off the ground. Next, extend your foot and rotate it downwards so that the inner edge of your foot lifts upwards. This movement should be repeated 15 times. Do this exercise for both feet, alternating 3 times each.

Expert tip: "This exercise should be clearly felt in the deep calf. If it is not, choose a stronger gymnastic band or increase the resistance by pretensioning the band." Simon Volz, Physiotherapist (B. Sc.)

Splayfoot Exercise No. 4 - Train the lateral calf muscle (M. fibularis longus)


With this exercise you strengthen the fibularis longus muscle, the second most important muscle in achieving an active transverse arch.

Sit comfortably on a chair for the exercise.

Place a theraband folded in the middle under your heel so that the loop is between your feet. Now slip the forefoot of the foot to be exercised into the loop and return the foot to its previous position. While the heel fixes the strap, stretch the knee of the hooked foot so that tension is created. Now pull the outer edge of your foot upwards and outwards against the resistance of the Theraband. Repeat this movement 15 times. Change feet after each cycle so that one foot can relax at a time. Perform the exercise 3 times for each foot.


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Splayfoot Exercise No. 5 - The One-Leg Stand


Improve your balance and foot stability.

Do this exercise while standing.

For this exercise, stand on one leg and pull the knee of the other leg a little towards your upper body so that your abdominal muscles are activated. It is important to feel the ball of the big toe, the ball of the little toe and the heel of the standing leg clearly. The main load on your body should be on these three points. Try to stand on each leg for 30 seconds.

Expert tip: "To increase the exercise, place a folded towel or a cushion under your standing leg. This additionally promotes the activation of your entire foot and lower leg muscles." Simon Volz, physiotherapist (B. Sc.)

Splayfoot exercise no. 6 - On tiptoe against splayfoot


Train your calf muscles and strengthen your balance.

Do this exercise while standing.

For this exercise, stand on your toes 15 times in a row and repeat the ritual 3 times. Make sure that your heels do not tilt outwards too much. If this exercise is easy for you, try it on one leg. It is best to do these exercises near a support in case you lose your balance.

Expert tip: "If you experience pain in the forefoot during the exercise, do not go so far up on your toes or support your upper body on a surface such as a table to reduce the weight load. If the exercise still remains painful, then better continue with another exercise." Simon Volz, Physiotherapist (B. Sc.)

Splayfoot exercise no. 7 - Loosening muscles and tissues


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

You can use a smooth or studded ball or a small fascia roller. Roll the ball with light pressure from the big toe to the heel and back again. Also roll several times from the ball of the little toe towards the heel. Apply light pressure to create a massage effect. Try not to cramp your toes. This loosens your muscles and relaxes ligaments and tendons from overload and strain. You can also roll the ball over your calves with light pressure to massage and loosen your calf muscles.

Expert tip: "Relaxing the muscles and keeping the connective tissue elastic is important for all foot malpositions, so this exercise is also suitable for flat feet, claw toes and hammer toes etc." Simon Volz, Physiotherapist (B. Sc.)

Treatment options for splayfoot


There are various conservative treatment options for your splayfoot. Not everything is suitable for everyone and that is why we want to show you different approaches here that can be helpful and reduce pain in addition to the splayfoot exercises. If you are not sure, always consult a doctor or orthopaedic surgeon first so that you can find out which treatment method is right for you. 

  • Splayfoot exercises to build intrinsic foot muscles
  • The right footwear that has enough space in the forefoot area to relieve ligaments and muscles
  • Splayfoot insoles that support the transverse arch of the foot
  • Alternating foot baths that stimulate circulation
  • Alkaline foot baths, e.g. with dead sea salt, which relieve inflammation of the forefoot and pain.
  • Medicines that have an anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effect at the same time
  • Professional physiotherapy 


You already have a splayfoot and are looking for suitable splayfoot shoes for your insoles?
Here in the shop you will find our shoes for splayfeet!


Accompanying foot malpositions: Splayfoot and its companions


Splayfoot rarely comes alone. Due to varying degrees of stress or incorrect stress, it corresponds with other deformities. This can lead to a flat splayfoot or to the most widespread and most common combination, the bent flat splayfoot. Here is a brief summary of how this occurs and what it means for you.


In addition to splayfoot, the longitudinal arch of the foot is lowered. The foot is flattened and the foot surface widens. This increases the load-bearing surface on the foot and, as with splayfoot, also on the middle bones of the foot. In the long run, an unhealthy gait leads to lasting damage and painful pressing or stinging when walking.


Unfortunately, it is mainly women who are affected by splayfoot or fallen splayfoot. The reason for this is genetically weaker connective tissue, but mainly also the wrong footwear influenced by fashion. Shoes with high heels or narrow toes deform the feet and increase the risk of splayfoot or fallen splayfoot. In extreme cases, the symptoms can even lead to hallux valgus.


Do you suffer from splayfoot and are you looking for suitable splayfoot exercises to improve your deformity?

Click here to go directly to the splayfoot exercises!

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The bending and lowering splayfoot


A colourful smorgasbord of foot malpositions is offered by the bending, lowering and spreading foot, also better known as the flat foot - a very frequently occurring combination of foot malpositions. The lower legs are no longer in a straight line with the heel. Due to overloading and a severely weakened intrinsic foot musculature, the foot can no longer maintain its healthy position. The arch of the foot lowers (flat foot) and the foot also bends inwards. This causes the entire foot to lie 'flat' and results in a flat foot. 

Do you have a flat foot and are looking for suitable exercises to correct it and relieve the pain?

Then click here!

To the flat foot exercises


Tip in the Box:


How can I prevent splayfoot along with splayfoot exercises?

  • If you are overweight, avoid sports like jogging and hiking. Take the strain off your joints and feet by going swimming.
  • Be careful when choosing shoes. Wear shoes that fit and support your feet.
  • High heels are supposed to be something special, so wear them only once in a while, for a given occasion, and take care of your feet in everyday life.
  • The best tip for your feet: walk barefoot as often as possible and on a variety of surfaces. Your feet will thank you for it.

Modern splayfoot shoes from UXGO


You want to get back a feathery walking feeling despite splayfoot or flat splayfoot? Thanks to the especially comfortable shoes from UXGO, this is no problem.

Our shoes offer a free and natural foot space - the toes are not squeezed and rolling remains pain-free. More volume for a healthy foot shape! In addition, we manufacture our splayfoot shoes from breathable genuine leather in modern colours, also on the inside of the shoe.

Handmade for healthy feet. Optimal air circulation and the enjoyment of a pleasant foot climate all day long. The shoes from UXGO have a V-shape developed by experts that adapts to the natural shape of the foot. The shoes are therefore particularly suitable for foot deformities such as hallux valgus, hallux rigidus, flat foot, claw toe, flat foot and other deformities, because they leave enough free space in the toe area and offer great wearing comfort.


Looking for your dream model with an anti-pain guarantee?

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Take care of it early! This applies in any case to splay feet. Recognise early, treat early, avoid pain and consequential damage and always do the splayfoot 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 suffer from splayfoot pain, make an appointment with an orthopaedist, preferably a foot specialist, and discuss in person which splayfoot exercises are best suited to your foot deformity and can help.

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