Strengthening The Arch of Your Foot

Foot Arch

Foot Arch

Why Strengthen the Foot Arch?

Strengthening the arch has shown great results in overall improved foot support and helps in decreasing foot fatigue. Today, we will be discussing the most effective method to strengthen the arch of the foot in order to avoid future injury and chronic issues. After all, the feet are responsible for a majority of your mobility, so when walking becomes painful, your quality of life can suffer. Many of my patients, especially those who regularly run, experience foot/ heel/ Achilles issues up to a couple of years and most of them don’t know that it can originate from a weak foot arch.

The abductor hallucis muscle (a small muscle at the bottom of the arch) and the posterior tibialis muscles (bigger muscle behind the shin) contract in order to control pronation. Pronation is a natural movement of the foot, where the foot rolls slightly inward. This being said, strengthening those key foot muscles can reduce overpronation as well as the problems that accompany it. Those problems can include Plantar Fasciitis, Shin Splints and even knee problems.

What Exercises are Most Effective at Strengthening the Arch of The Foot?

Although there are many strategies to addressing foot pain, some are better than others. Hands down the best exercise that helps in strengthening the arch of the foot is a technique called “arch domes”. Just as the name implies, this exercise has you using essential foot muscles to create a dome by pulling the balls of the toes inwards towards the heel. This essentially “shortens” the length of the foot.

Just like any other exercise or technique that you haven’t performed yourself yet, you probably won’t do it very well. This may mean that you’ll struggle a bit, your face may turn red and you’ll get frustrated. But it’ important to not give up! Learning a new skill takes focused attention and time. Keep at it because odds are, it won’t take long to figure it out!

It’s possibly that you may experience cramping. And that’s fine! It’s an indicator that you’re doing the exercise correctly. When this occurs, you have two options. You can either relax and wait until the cramping ceases or hold the short foot until the cramping passes. This tends to hurt a bit, but the pain passes quickly.

The great thing about this exercise is that no equipment is needed!

And in the end, the challenge of learning this new exercise is nothing compared to the aggravation of missing out on life because of foot pain.

 

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Nick Hunter, PT, DPT
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