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Effective Exercises for Treating Foot Arch Pain and Rebuilding Fallen Arches

Updated: May 30, 2023

Discover a range of foot exercises for flat feet to fix collapsed arches, strengthen foot arches, and alleviate pain. Learn if flat feet can be corrected and explore effective exercises for pes planus (fallen arches).

A foot with a strong arch
Fix Flat Feet


Foot arch pain can be a frustrating and debilitating condition that affects many individuals. It often stems from flat feet or fallen arches, known as pes planus. This condition can lead to discomfort and limited mobility. The good news is that specific exercises can help treat foot arch pain, rebuild arches, and address flat feet. In this article, we will explore effective exercises and techniques to alleviate pain, strengthen foot arches, and determine if flat feet can be corrected.

Section 1: Understanding Flat Feet, Fallen Arches, and Arch Pain

Flat feet, also known as fallen arches or pes planus, occur when the arches of the feet collapse, causing the entire sole to touch the ground. This condition can be congenital or acquired due to factors like poor footwear, weak foot muscles, ligament laxity, or injury. Flat feet can lead to foot arch pain as the lack of arch support puts strain on the surrounding structures, such as muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Common symptoms include pain, fatigue, and difficulty with prolonged standing or walking.

Section 2: Can Flat Feet Be Corrected?

Contrary to popular belief, flat feet can be improved through targeted exercises and other interventions. While it may not be possible to completely reverse the condition, exercises and therapies can help strengthen the foot muscles, provide better arch support, and alleviate pain. It is essential to understand that individual results may vary based on factors like the severity of flat feet, consistency in performing exercises, and adherence to other treatment measures.

Section 3: Effective Exercises for Fixing Flat Feet and Strengthening Arches

Here are some foot exercises for flat feet and collapsed arches that can help improve arch strength and alleviate pain:

a. Arch Lifts / Doming:

  • Stand barefoot with feet hip-width apart.

  • Slowly lift your arches while keeping the toes and heels in contact with the ground.

  • Hold the position for a few seconds and then release.

  • Repeat for 10-15 repetitions.

b. Alternating Toe Lifts:

  • Sit with your feet flat on the floor.

  • Lift your big toe with your other toes remaining on the floor.

  • Hold for a few seconds and then release.

  • Now lift your other toes with your big toe remaining on the floor.

  • Hold for a few seconds and then release.

  • Repeat for 10-15 repetitions.

c. Heel Raises:

  • Stand on the edge of a step with the heels hanging off.

  • Slowly raise your body by pushing up with the balls of your feet.

  • Hold the position for a moment and then lower yourself back down.

  • Repeat for 10-15 repetitions.

d. Towel Scrunches:

  • Place a small towel on the floor in front of you.

  • Use your toes to scrunch the towel toward you, creating folds.

  • Repeat for 10-15 repetitions.

e. Calf Stretches:

  • Stand facing a wall with one foot forward and the other foot back.

  • Lean forward, keeping your back heel flat on the ground, until you feel a stretch in your calf.

  • Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds and then switch sides.

  • Repeat for 2-3 repetitions on each side.

Section 4: How Long Does It Take to Fix Flat Feet?

The duration required to fix flat feet can vary depending on several factors, including the severity of the condition, consistency in performing exercises, adherence to other treatment measures, and individual differences. It's important to note that completely reversing flat feet may not be possible in all cases. However, consistent and dedicated efforts can lead to significant improvements in foot arch strength and a reduction in associated pain.

Research has shown that structured exercise programs focusing on foot arch strengthening and flexibility can be effective in improving flat feet. For example, studies have demonstrated that 5-week programs consisting of exercises performed 5 days a week can yield positive results. However, it's essential to recognize that the timeline for seeing improvements can still vary depending on individual factors.

During the course of our exercise program, it's crucial to remain patient and committed to the prescribed regimen. Progress can be gradual, and it's normal to experience incremental changes over time.

5: Additional Strategies for Correcting Flat Feet

While exercises play a significant role in correcting flat feet and strengthening arches, incorporating the following strategies can enhance your progress:

  1. Orthotic Inserts: Custom orthotic inserts can provide additional arch support and be helpful at relieving acute arch pain. However, orthotics treat the symptom without addressing the source. Orthotics may be effective when combined with exercise to help mitigate pain in the beginning of rehabilitation period.

  2. Shoes with a Wide Toe-Box: Shoes that provide more room for your toes, allows your toes the freedom to provide support to your arch. Heels with narrow toe-boxes and with a heel lift (such as boots, dress-shoes, and high heels) can exacerbate collapsed arches.

  3. Exercise Treatment: Join our program, Exercise to Relieve Foot Arch Pain and Build Arches. The program provides clear guided instruction with short and highly targeted exercises to help build your foot arch, gain mobility, and help eliminate pain.

Conclusion: In this article, we have explored various exercises and techniques to address foot arch pain, fix collapsed arches, and strengthen foot arches. By incorporating targeted exercises like arch lifts, toe curls, calf raises, towel scrunches, and calf stretches, individuals with flat feet or fallen arches can work towards improving their arch support and alleviating pain. Remember to consult a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and personalized advice.

Subjects covered in this article:

  • Foot exercises for flat feet

  • Can you correct flat feet?

  • Can flat feet be fixed?

  • Collapsed arch exercises

  • Pes planus exercises

By covering these topics, we aim to provide comprehensive insights into treating foot arch pain and rebuilding arches through exercises and additional strategies.


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  2. McPoil TG, Vicenzino B, Cornwall MW, Collins N, Warren M. Reliability and normative values for the foot mobility magnitude: a composite measure of vertical and medial-lateral mobility of the midfoot. J Foot Ankle Res. 2009;2:6.

  3. Evans AM, Rome K, Peet L. The foot posture index, ankle lunge test, Beighton scale and the lower limb assessment score in healthy children: a reliability study. J Foot Ankle Res. 2012;5(1):1.

  4. Kong PW, Candelaria NG, Smith DR. Comparison of Foot Arch Height and Arch Flexibility Between Flexor Digitorum Brevis and Flexor Hallucis Longus Contractile Dysfunction. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2015;45(12):952-957.

  5. Shultz R, Cohen ZT, Nguyen AD, et al. Forefoot and rearfoot contributions to the lunge position in individuals with and without medial tibial stress syndrome. Gait Posture. 2020;81:90-94.


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