The arch of your foot is the upward curve that is between your heel and your toes. When that curve is weak and stretched out, that arch falls and you have ‘flat feet’. It can be painful, and can cause other problems in your feet, ankles, and knees too. You must strengthen and support that arch and keep your calves flexible. Learn how to stand tall, walk without pain, and sprint faster.
A tight calf muscle is the primary cause of fallen arches. The calf attaches to the back of your heel bone. If the calf is tight, the heel bone will rotate such that the back end of it is being pulled up by the calf and the front end pitches down to the ground – and takes your arch down with it. Treatment? Stretch your calf. A lot. Then strengthen your calf and feet muscles. A lot. The exercises are easy and can be incorporated into your day mindlessly. You just might be able to be barefoot this summer!!
Video Transcript: Fallen Arches
I’m not going to be giving you a lesson in architecture today, nope, we’re going to be talking about your feet. I’m Josie, I’m a physical therapist and the creator of Insight into injury. And today I get to be barefoot at work! The area on the bottom of your foot, from the base of your toes to your heel, naturally has an upward curve there. That curve is called an arch. The arch is held up in place because of many tendons and ligaments that support the structure of your foot bones. When you’re sitting such that your foot is dangling and you have your shoes off (wink), you’ll get to see the true height of your arch. When you stand up, gravity and the weight of your body puts a strain on the tendons and ligaments along the arch, and that arch gets smashed closer to the ground. To some degree this is pretty normal, but if that arch nearly disappears, you would be considered to have ‘fallen arches”. If you’re struggling with fallen arches, you are setting yourself up for pain on the bottom of your heel, pain along the bottom of your foot, and eventually the position change at your foot will cause a position change at your knees and hips and back. And That can lead to a bunch of wear and tear problems which could result in the need for surgery. So- like I tell my son who has really bad fallen arches – (point finger) YOU NEED TO STRENGTHEN. My number one suggested exercise to help with fallen arches is a calf strengthening exercise commonly called a calf raise. And it looks like this. Depending on how weak you are to begin with you might want to start with just 5 reps 2 times/day and build up from there. Please, check out my full length PT session on this topic. There are some really important tips that I go into much more detail on to teach you what is going to help lift up those arches. There are medical professionals that will tell you that you just have to live with this, that there is nothing you can do except manage the pain with medication and injections and orthotics. BUT, proper stretching and strengthening exercises done diligently Will Help.