1. Welcome to the Foot Health Forum community where you can ask about foot problems and get help, as well as be up-to-date with the latest foot health information. Only registered members can ask a question, but you do not need to register to respond and give help. Please become part of the community (here) and check out the shop.

Rehabilitating flat feet without orthotics

Discussion in 'Ask your questions here' started by Shelleywa, Oct 19, 2015.

  1. Shelleywa

    Shelleywa New Member

    Members do not see these Ads. Sign Up.

    I have flat feet (over-pronation) and also have prescription orthotics. But I would rather fix my feet than have to wear orthotics. I have started doing exercises to strengthen the feet and walking barefoot as much as possible. But I'm not sure HOW I should be walking when I do this - should I walk with the relevant muscles of the foot & leg in contraction (i.e. so that I am holding my arches in the correct position the whole time)? Or just walk however my feet want to (which right now is over-pronated and hurts my knees)? Will walking with the muscles contracted help them to strengthen quicker, or will it cause more damage because there is no relax-contract movement? Any advice gratefully received!

    Thank you :)
  2. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Super Moderator

    Yes and no. Flat feet (or "overpronation") has many different causes. The treatment or rehab of it should be directed at the cause. You will see lots of advice online on how to "rehab" it, but most of that is bad advice given by people who fail to realize that there are multiple causes and advocate the use of one treatment for all (ie one size does not fit all)
    Orthotics are needed if the problem is due to a bony alignment problem
    Stretching is needed of the problem us due to tight calf muscles
    Strengthening the muscles is needed if the problem is due to a weakness.

    If you have a bony alignment problem in the foot or tight calf muscles, no amount of barefoot, strengthening, etc will ever change that.

    If your problem is due to a weakness, then orthotics are only a short term measure to help with initial symptoms and doing what you are suggesting is a really good approach.

    What you are trying to do may or may not work depending on what caused your problem (however there is no harm and it is probably helpful to strengthen the muscles regardless of the cause).
  3. Shelleywa

    Shelleywa New Member

    Thanks Craig!

    Yes, it does feel like (as with most physiologies/pathologies) there is certainly no "one size fits all" and no easy answer - the biggest problem is finding the cause specific to each individual. Which takes time, (usually) money and perseverance.

    I am not able to consult a podiatrist for help with this at the moment, so it will have to be trial and error for now! I will continue with the strengthening exercises for the feet and also walking "normally". I have also started doing stretches of the calfs, hams and lower back every day, as my flexion is TERRIBLE and suspect this may be at least part of the problem.

    Also, my friend is about to graduate as remedial massage therapists and is using me as a body to practice her new skills on - is there anything in the foot/leg area that she could possibly help with?
  4. cyril almond

    cyril almond New Member

    If you try standing on your toes, turn a chair around so you can use the back as a support. Might work, worth a try and it costs you nothing. I have known this to work with some of my patients.
    Shelleywa likes this.
  5. Shelleywa

    Shelleywa New Member

    Thank you, I will try it :)

Share This Page