How To Fix Flat Feet (Rebuild The Arch!)

What Is Flat Feet?

Flat Feet is a type of foot posture which involves the collapse of the inner arch of the foot.

how to fix flat feet

As a result – the bottom of the foot is in complete contact with the floor.

Also referred to as: Pes Planus, Fallen arches, Overpronated feet.

(It is the exact opposite to having high arches.)

In This Blog Post:

Note: It is completely normal for the arch of the foot to have the ABILITY to collapse.

Problems may arise if this movement is excessive, uncontrolled and/or when your foot gets stuck in this position.

What causes flat feet?

There are 2 causes for flat feet: Structural and Functional.

1. Structural Flat Feet

This is where the shape/alignment/angle of the bone and/or joint results in the foot arch being physically flat.

Unfortunately – If you have a structural cause of your flat feet, there is going to a certain limit as to what can be changed through conservative means. 

Note: If your arch is present when your foot is in a non-weight bearing position (sitting or lying down) but disappears when you are standing on it, then you DO NOT have structural Flat Feet.

2. Functional Flat Feet

This is where the flattening of the foot is a result of:

  • Poor control of your ankle/feet/toes and/or,
  • Weak and/or tight muscles that control the feet

Weak Muscles include Tibialis Posterior, Tibialis Anterior, Plantar foot muscles, Flexor Hallucis Longus

Tight Muscles include Peroneal muscles, Extensor Digitorum

3. Other Contributing Factors:

  • Increase in body weight
  • Improper shoe wear
  • Ineffective posture
  • Incorrect techniques in sport

Test for Flat feet

Try out these quicks tests to determine if you have flat feet.

test for flat feet (pes planus)

a) Whilst Standing

  • Stand upright as you normally would.
  • Observe your feet.
  • There should be an obvious arch on the inner side of your foot.
  • As a rough guideline: You should be able to fit the tips of your fingers underneath the arch of your foot.
  • (Check your foot arch whilst standing on one foot as well!)

Results: If there is no gap between the bottom of your foot and the floor, then you likely have Flat Feet.

b) Whilst Walking

Check out your foot print at the beach.

(Similarly – you can wet your feet and observe the foot prints you make as you walk on cement floor.)

Results: If your foot print leaves a wide imprint (indicating that the arch is touching the floor), then you likely have Flat Feet.

problems with Flat Feet

Flat Feet can potentially be associated with the development of issues such as:

How to fix Flat Feet

STEP 1: Releases
STEP 3: Joint Mobilization
STEP 4: Strengthening Exercises
STEP 5: Toe Control

STEP 6: Importance of Big Toe
STEP 7: Orthotics

STEP 8: Other Areas To Address

“So… how do you get an arch in your foot?

1. Releases

The first step is to loosen up the tight muscles which are associated with the flat feet.

a) Achilles Tendon

releases for flat feet


  • Sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you.
  • Place the back of your Achilles tendon on a foam roller.
  • Place the other leg on top of the leg that is on the foam roller.
  • Keep the bottom leg completely relaxed.
  • Use the top leg to apply a downward pressure.
  • Rock your foot from side to side.
  • Duration: 2 minutes

b) Peroneal Muscles

The peroneal muscles are located from the outer lower leg to the outer foot region.

(If you unsure of the location of the muscle, check on Google.)

peroneal release


  • Place the outside of your lower leg on a massage ball.
  • Apply pressure over the massage ball.
  • Make sure to cover the whole outer side of the lower leg.
  • Draw circles with your ankle to increase release.
  • Duration: 2 minutes

c) Calf Muscles

calf muscle release


  • Sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you.
  • Place a foam roller underneath the calf region
  • Place the other leg on top of the leg that is on the foam roller.
  • Apply a downward pressure with the top leg.
  • Roll your leg up/down over the foam roller.
  • Make sure to cover the entire calf region.
  • Duration: 2 minutes

2. Stretches

The Calf:

Tight calf muscles (Gastrocnemius and Soleus) will limit the amount of movement that the ankle can bend.

(This movement is called Ankle Dorsiflexion.)

Without full ankle dorsiflexion during walking, the foot will compensate with overpronation (collapsing of the foot arch).

Quick assessment: How to test your ankle flexibility

ankle dorsiflexion test

  • Face a wall.
  • Perform a lunge.
  • Whilst keeping your knee in contact with the wall, aim to get the front of your foot furthest away from the wall.
    • (Don’t cheat! Make sure the back of your heel does not lift off!)
  • Do not let your foot arch collapse as you bend your knee forwards!
  • Measure the distance between the tip of your big toe and the wall.

What should you aim for:

My recommendation: Aim to get your toe approximately >10cm from the wall with your knee still in contact with the wall.

If you have tight ankles, check out this blog: Improve your Ankle mobility.

a) Gastrocnemius

gastrocnemius stretch for flat feet


  • Stand in front of a wall.
  • Place the bottom of the forefoot onto the wall.
  • Whilst keeping your heel on the floor, bring your heel as close to the wall as possible.
  • Keep your leg completely straight.
  • Lean your body forwards.
  • Aim to feel a stretch in the back of your calf region.
  • Hold this stretch for at least 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 3 times.

See Also: 7 Simple Gastrocnemius Stretches.

b) Soleus

calf stretch for flat feet


  • Assume the lunge position.
  • Bend the ankle at the front as much as you can by lunging forward.
  • Aim to feel a deep stretch in your calf muscle.
  • Hold this stretch for at least 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 3 times.
  • Note: This will also help loosen up any stiffness in the ankle joint.

See also: 10 Effective Soleus Stretches.

c) Lateral Structures

(Target Muscles: Peroneal, Extensor Digitorum, Lateral Ligaments)

lateral ankle stretch


  • Whilst sitting, place your ankle on top of your other knee.
  • Place one hand on top of the ankle and the other on the forefoot.
  • Whilst anchoring the ankle joint down, pull the fore foot towards you.
    • (Include the toes!)
  • Aim to feel a stretch on the out side of the ankle.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 3 times.

3. Joint mobilizations

If there are tight ankle/foot joints that are holding your foot in the overpronated position, consider performing the following exercises.

a) Traction

(To perform this exercise, you will need assistance. So – go grab a friend!)

ankle traction


  • Lie on the floor.
  • Instruct your friendly helper to firmly grasp your ankle below the bony bits on the side. (see above)
  • Relax your leg as your assistant pulls your foot away from you.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 3 times.

b) Dorsiflexion With Band

ankle band mobilization


  • Attach a resistance band to a stationary object behind you.
  • Lace the band around your ankle.
    • The band should be below the Malleoli (bumps on sides of the ankle).
  • Assume a lunge position with your ankle on a bench. (see above)
  • Make sure that there is a firm amount of tension in the band.
    • To increase tension, move forward so that you are further away from the anchor point of the band.
  • Lunge forward.
  • Do not let your arch collapse as you bend your knee forwards!
  • You may feel a:
    • Blocking sensation at the front of the ankle joint and/or
    • Stretch at the back of the heel/calf region
  • Repeat 30 times.

c) Hind Foot Mobilization

foot joint mobilization


  • Whilst sitting, place your ankle on top of your other knee.
  • Cup the heel with one hand, and place the other hand on top of the ankle.
  • Perform a wiggle motion on your heel bone in a up/down direction.
  • Continue for 30 seconds.

d) Mid Foot Mobility

midfoot mobilization


  • Whilst sitting, place your ankle on top of your other knee.
  • Hold onto the front half of the foot with both hands.
  • Proceed to twist the front half of the foot clockwise/anti-clockwise.
  • Continue for 30 repetitions.

e) Cuboid Mobilization


  • Place a massage ball underneath the cuboid bone.
  • Stand up right.
  • Hold onto something for balance.
  • Lean your body weight into the massage ball.
  • Perform 30 repetitions.

4. Strengthening Exercises

How to rebuild arches in flat feet: We need to strengthen the muscles that will encourage the arch in your feet.

This is namely the action of the Tibialis Posterior, Tibialis Anterior and plantar foot muscles.

The Short Foot Exercise

The MOST important exercise to fix Flat Feet

I call this the “king” of all foot exercises.

It is the fundamental exercise that all other exercises are based on.

You need to learn how to do this correctly! Don’t rush it.

short foot exercise to rebuild arches of flat feet


  • Stand with your feet facing forwards and shoulder width apart.
  • Whilst keeping your toes relaxed, proceed to scrunch the under-surface of your foot.
    • Drag the base of your big toe backwards towards the heel.
  • Keep the base of the big toe in contact with the ground to prevent this area from lifting.
  • Gently push the tip of your big toe down onto the ground.
  • If performed correctly, you should be able to feel the strong contraction of the muscles underneath your foot.
    • Does it feel like it’s going to cramp? THAT’S GREAT! You are recruiting the right muscles.
  • Hold this for 5 seconds.
  • Repeat 20 times.

Note: It is called the Short foot exercise because it actually makes you drop a shoe size.


a) Toe Curls

toe curls


  • Place a tea towel underneath your foot.
  • Proceed to scrunch the toes to bunch up the tea towel underneath the foot.
  • Aim to feel a muscular contraction underneath the foot.
  • Perform 10 repetitions.

b) Heel Raise/Drop With Ball

strengthening arch


  • Stand on the edge of a step.
  • Place a small ball between your ankles. (see above)
  • Perform the Short foot activation.
  • Squeeze the ball between your ankles throughout all movement.
  • Perform a heel raise and drop.
  • Do not let your ankles roll out.
    • Aim to keep the achilles tendon vertical throughout the exercise.
  • Repeat 30 times.

c) Step Through

how to fix flat feet exercises


  • Have your feet in a staggered position.
  • Activate short foot in your leading leg. (See position 1)
  • Whilst maintaining short foot on the leading leg, step forward with the back leg.
  • As the swinging leg is about to land on the ground, push off from the big toe.
  • You should feel a contraction in your arch through movement.
  • Return to starting point.
  • Repeat 30 times.
  • Progression: Instead of stepping to the front, try stepping in different directions whilst maintaining a strong short foot contraction.

d) Single Leg Balance

single leg balance


  • Balance on one leg.
  • Activate the short foot.
  • Gently tap your other foot on the ground around your body whilst maintaining the short foot contraction
  • Do not let your arch collapse.
  • Continue for 1 minute.
  • To progress: Reach and tap your foot further away from you.

e) Single Leg Squat

single leg squat


  • Balance on one leg.
  • Activate Short Foot throughout this exercise.
  • Perform a single leg squat.
  • Do not let your arch collapse.
  • Perform 10 repetitions.

f) Foot Lean

foot strengthening exercise


  • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart.
  • Activate short foot throughout exercise. (see above)
  • Keeping your legs straight, lean your whole body forwards from the ankles.
    • You will need to dig your toes into the ground to prevent you from falling forward.
    • You can do this in front of a wall if you feel you are going to fall forward.
  • Use your feet/toe muscles to prevent yourself from falling and return to the starting position.
  • Repeat 10 times.

5. Improve your toe control

The entire human race has forgotten how to use their foot muscles!

We have absolutely no idea how to properly co-ordinate, control and move our feet.

This is a big problem for Flat Feet!

Why?… Because the muscles that control your feet also play a huge role in the support of the foot arch.

Try out these 2 exercises to get your brain connecting to your foot again.

a) Alternate Toe Lift

intrinsic foot control


  • Position 1: Lift up only your big toe whilst pushing the other 4 toes into the ground.
  • Position 2: Push your big toe into the ground whilst lifting the other 4 toes.
  • Transition smoothly between these 2 positions.
  • Keep your foot still. Your toes should be the only thing that is moving.
  • Repeat 30 times.

b) Toe Spread/Squeeze

toe spread exercise
lumbrical strengthening


  • Position 1: Spread all of your toes.
    • (without bending your toes or moving your foot)
  • Position 2: Squeeze all of your toes together.
    • (without bending your toes or moving your foot)
  • Transition between these 2 positions.
  • Repeat 30 times.

4. The importance of the big toe

Your big toe is more important than you think… especially when it comes to fixing Flat Feet (Pes Planus) during walking.

It is CRUCIAL that your big toe has:

  1. The ability to extend
  2. Adequate strength

The combination of these 2 factors will help engage and lift of the medial arch of the foot.

Without sufficient big toe function, the foot is forced to compensate with overpronation (rolling inwards)… resulting in Flat Feet.

a) Big Toe Stretch

big toe stretch


  • Place the big toe onto a door frame. (see above)
  • Lean your foot into the wall to create a stretch of the big toe.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 3 times.

b) Big Toe Activation

big toe push off


  • Assume a lunge position. (see above)
    • The foot at the back will be the side targeted.
    • Make sure that your big toe is extended back as far as possible without compromising the alignment of your foot.
  • Push the tip of your big toe into the ground as you point your foot against the ground.
    • Place as much of your body weight onto the back leg that you can comfortably tolerate.
  • Return your weight back to the ball of the foot.
  • Repeat 20 times.

7. Orthotics for Flat feet

Orthotics are inserts which are placed in your shoe.

It’s function is to provide an external support to lift up your fallen arches.

 Sounds good, right?

However… The main issue I have with orthotics is that it makes your already weak foot muscles even weaker.

You can become reliant on the orthotic without giving your foot muscles any real chance to self-correct the problem.

If you are considering getting an orthotic for your Flat Feet, please consider doing the exercises FIRST.

However – If you are experiencing any pain as a result of the fallen arches, you can use an orthotic to help reduce your symptoms.

Keep in mind – I recommend to only use them for a short period of time so that your foot muscles do not become dependent on it.

(Note: The end goal will always be to rely on your own muscles to support your foot arch.)

8. Other areas to consider

Although the exercises mentioned in this post will help regain the foot arch, I would also recommend that you address other areas of your posture that may be contributing to the development of the flat feet.

a) Anterior Pelvic Tilt

anterior pelvic tilt flat feet pes planus

Anterior Pelvic Tilt is where the pelvis is in a forward rotated position.

This can orientate the whole leg in a position of internal rotation which can lead to the collapse of the foot arches.

For a complete guide on how to fix this issue:

See Post: Anterior Pelvic Tilt

b) Knee Valgus

knee valgus flat feet

Knee Valgus is when the knees collapses towards the midline of the body.

This knee position can lead to overpronation of the foot.

For a complete guide on how to fix this issue:

See Post: Knee Valgus

c) Duck Feet Posture

duck feet posture

Duck Feet Posture is where the feet naturally point outwards.

This foot posture may predispose the ankle and foot to roll inwards.

For a complete guide on how to fix this issue:

See Post: Duck Feet Posture


Do your exercises… every day!

Try to incorporate the short foot activation in everything that you do!

The more you do it, the better you will get!

what to do next:

Any questions?… Leave me a comment down below.

– Follow me on Facebook. (Let’s keep in touch!)

– Do the exercises!

Disclaimer: The content presented on this blog post is not medical advice and should not be treated as such. It is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Use of the content on this page is at your sole risk. Seek medical guidance before starting any exercise. For more information: Medical disclaimer.

405 thoughts on “How To Fix Flat Feet (Rebuild The Arch!)”

  1. Hello Mark, it seems like I have a number of issues and am not sure where to begin. One aspect of my posture is that I have anterior pelvic tilt and forward head, although confused about how this differs from hunch back. Seems that if I try to raise head then the pelvic tilt increases. Then, there seems to be an issue of my right shoulder being much lower than the left, which is associated with my right ribs being compressed and hip somewhat angled toward the right. This hip is only angled rightward when I naturally relax and slump, which is when the weight of my right shoulder drags and compresses the rest of my body down and back towards the right. There does not appear to be any rightward rotation in the pelvis if I correct for my shoulders by standing up straight. Only seems to occur when I allow the right hand side to slump down My right hipflexor is also often firing or tighter when sitting. I assume this is due to collapsed shoulder causing the hip turning to the right and backward. This then puts more pressure on left sits-bone etc. In regards to scoliosis, I have trouble understanding if I have it or what comes first, the shoulder or the spine. It doesn’t seem that my spine is angled much even with my shoulders being as unequal as they are, or it seems to correct if I put the spine in extension by grabbing hips, pulling shoulder back, engaging anterior pelvic tilt. Also shoulders still uneven when I straighten spine out. I believe some of these issues are due to only sleeping on my left side for a decade. Right side of back is also very tight and there is pain in lower right side.

    Recently, I also noticed that I am continuously unconsciously correcting for my right foot / ankle being much more collapsed than my left. Not sure with what muscle group I am using to raise my right ankle, but if I relax then the collapsed arch swings me to the left 45 degrees from center, opposite of what my shoulder situation seems to cause. I believe I have functional flat feet as when I lift my foot there is a clear arch I am usually never in this left turned position, however, as I am always readjusting the right ankle unconsciously, but I guess not with the muscles that would resolve this collapse. I have also noticed my right leg is weaker than left.

    So, what order do you suggest focusing on? I can do multiple at once. Currently doing strength training of raised single leg glute bridges, pistol squats, side plank hip abduction, dead bugs, bird dogs, tucked l-sits, push ups, and trying to gain strength for door pull ups. My hips & quads are fairly flexible and I do stretches for those for my own goals.

    • Hey there Ed,

      – It is common to have a Hunched back posture (aka thoracic hyperkyphosis) on conjunction to an anterior pelvic tilt and forward head posture.

      – It sounds like there might be a bit of tightness of the muscles on the right side of your torso. I would start addressing these areas first: You might want to consider stretching the latissimus dorsi, quadratus lumborum, and erector spinae muscles on that right side. Tightness in these muscles can tilt the spine towards the right and make the left shoulder higher. Tightness in this right side is consistent with habitual sleeping on the left side and sitting on top of the left sit bone.

      – Any stretching on the right side is best followed up with some sort of activation on the opposite side. You can consider performing side planks with left side down closer to the floor.

      – When sitting, try to have equal amount of bodyweight sitting through both sit bones. Sit tall.

      – If unsure of your resting spine position, an xray might be of use. (or you could get assessed by a healthcare professional)

      – In regards to the right foot, is it possible that you have an arch in your foot but the hindfoot is collapsing inwards? The foot may be compensating for what is happening at the pelvis level. Hard to say exactly without assessing the whole body.


      • Thank you very much. Realizing I can get out of hunch back and forward head tilt by being intentional about. Yes, tightness on right side as well as tightness through left neck and raised left shoulder. The amount I can bend my thoracic spine to the left is very limited compared to the right. Seems like I can also straighten out shoulders in spine by being aware of correct and incorrect position, not that I believe this will be the resolve, but shows that perhaps the issue is not caused by the spine being fused inappropriately.

        In regards to feet, yes i have arches, but my ankles are collapsed in. The one on the right is much more extreme. This also causes my knees to come in. Was just noticing that this very much aggravates the APT. I dont think the APT will be resolvable without the ankles straightening out, but I wouldnt know the initial cause.

  2. Hi Mark,

    First off thank you a billion times for providing this “guide” helping so many people!

    I have shin splints (Tibialis Posterior Tendonitis if im not mistaken?) due to flat feet that “luckily” is not structural. I get it from running (football on artificial grass), but mainly from endurance running on pavement.

    The amount of exercises on here is great, although I would like to ask if you could point out some that would be more beneficial for me, so that I can cooperate them into my routine without falling behind on it due to feeling overwhelmed.

    PS I wear orthotics in my everyday shoes, running shoes and football shoes to help cope. I do not know if that changes anything.

    Thank you so much for all your effort,


    • Hello Daniel,

      Thanks for the comment!

      There are certainly quite a few exercises mentioned on this blog post and can get overwhelming in the beginning.

      Generally speaking – I recommend performing all of the exercises in the initial stages. Once you become familiar with the exercises and its effect on the feet, you can start to focus on perhaps the 3 exercises that gives you the best results.

      If you are like the majority of people with functional flat foot, you will benefit from focusing on the “short foot” exercise.


  3. Hey Mark!

    My right foot is longer than my left foot. When I’m standing still and trying to line up my feet for an exercise, should I line up my toes or line up the back of my feet?

    • Hey Josh,

      A longer foot is usually associated with a flatter arch.

      In terms of the alignment during exercises, try to line up the back of the heels if your foot is flat on the floor.

      If your performing exercises such as a heel raise, line up the toes.


  4. Hi Mark,

    I cannot squeeze toes together at all. It’s just not moving in that direction :D.
    If I very strongly bend in the same time, I can do a little squeeze.
    I guess I am in big trouble :D :D.
    What could I do?
    Thanks a million. Your site is a treasure.

      • Hello Mark
        Recently found your website. Sorry for replying rather than initiating a comment. I can’t seem to find how to do this.
        I’m fairly sure I have APT with a lateral tilt (left hip hike) as well as rotation to the right. Which I think makes me a mess and it’s all been ongoing for far too many years (okay, 16 since you ask).
        I started APT type exercises having assessed myself and then found your website … which is brilliant!
        Anyhow, as well as all that tilting I also have dropped arches but on the left foot a bunion. It’s impossible to stretch my big toe out. It simply refuses to move in that direction all the other toes will move away and create a small gap inbetween. Whichever muscle controls that is non-existent.
        Also when pressing that toe down it really just presses down sideways with the outer part of the head of the toe going down far more than the inner.

        I’ve been using a toe separator when doing any calf exercises otherwise the foot pain that results is severe. With the toe separators I’ve managed a lot better.

        Not really asking you to solve anything but if you have any tips or suggestions they’d be very welcome. Thank you.

        Also just wondering if you think my assessment of APT plus left hip hike and a right rotation is at all feasible. I wonder if that’s actually possible or whether I’m a contortionist. :-) I think I may be a bit hypermobile which doesn’t help over much. Still it will keep me amused: pondering and assessing till the end of my days (as you may have guessed … I’m fairly elderly).
        Thanks for reading this far and again apologies for not knowing how to comment properly.

      • Hi Ashley,

        It is definitely possible to have Anterior Pelvic Tilt + Left higher hip + right rotated pelvis + left foot dropped + bunion. In fact – it does make a lot of sense to me why you might be having more issues in this left foot.

        Have you had a chance to have a look at my blog post that covers the bunion? It might be a good idea to have a read of that to see if you can start addressing the foot.

        See post: Big Toe Bunion.

        (It covers it in the blog post link above, but make sure you have adequate amount of ankle dorsiflexion. If you have tight ankles, this can significantly impact how you walk and distribute load through your feet as you walk. Fro more detailed information: Ankle Dorsiflexion Exercise.)

        From here – the right rotation of the pelvis could be associated with the left foot arch collapsing. The best blog post to address this would be this one: Rotated Pelvis Exercises.

        Also – with a higher left hip, do you find that you tend to place more weight through your left foot when standing/walking? This could lead to additional pressure on the left big toe and left leg in general.

        Hope this points you to the right direction!


  5. Hey Mark,

    Thank you for providing this resource for the world. I have had this bookmarked for about 3 years now always meaning to implement it into my routine somehow. However, because of how flat my feet are and simply the amount of exercises described here, I have always feared starting. I have seen you state that the most important exercises are those for the big toe. What would your advice be to focus on for someone who is a regular gym goer and an MMA enthusiast but who is also super heavy on his feet and has been flat footed their entire life. I find running and skipping challenging and my posture has most definitely been affected by years of improper support. You were the first person I’ve seen say that it really can be fixed with hard work and dedication. Yet, it truly seems that to do all of the exercises daily it would take at minimum an hour – am I mistaken? What is best to master and build upon?

    Kind regards,


    • Hi Alex,

      I hear you! The amount of exercises that I have listed on this blog post can definitely be overwhelming. I strongly encourage you to at least try all of the exercises to determine which 3-5 specific exercises tend to give you the best results.

      Generally speaking (and I emphasize the word “generally” as I have not assessed your foot)- these are what I would prioritize:

      1. Any exercise to improve ankle dorsiflexion
      2. Short foot exercise
      3. Big toe extension stretches
      4. Single leg balance
      5. Get good at doing single leg heel raises.

      Hope this helps


  6. Hello mark when doing the short foot exercise should your toes scrunch inwards to target the muscles we are working for. Been trying it and have arch and toe pain now. Thank you in advance

    • Hi K,

      When performing the short foot exercise, you do not want to scrunch your toes to initiate the movement. Aim to relax those toes as you “scrunch” the under surface of your foot.

      It takes a bit of practice!


  7. Hi Mark,

    I was born flat footed – it’s genetic in my case, what you call structural flat feet.

    Would the exercises help at all in my case?

    Thanks so much in advance for taking the time to answer my question.

    • Hi JJ,

      If you have had flat feet since a young age, this does not 100% mean that you have a structural flat foot.

      The exercises can still help. Even if you did have structural flat feet, I would still encourage you to perform exercises to help strengthen the feet.


  8. Hey man! Thank you so so very much! I’ve had fallen arches for over 10 years, and my knees started to collapse inward. Just over a year ago I had such severe pain in my right foot that I could only walk for 20 min and have to sit for 2 min. For this I went to the VA hospital and my OT helped me to strengthen my right knee which is actually where that pain was coming from but my arch problem had not yet been solved and I would continue to have pain in between the ankle bones in the heel, the anterior portion of the heel and the MTP’s. I have been looking every year multiple times a year for anything from anyone that would help and no matter who I asked like my OT or chiropractors or doctors no one had any answer for redeveloping arches when I came across your article, I immediately started it took me 2 1/2 weeks to notice a sizable difference in my arch. The first thing that I noticed was that I now was in pain when I wore the orthotics that I’ve been wearing for over 10 years. I was no longer able to wear them, and I haven’t been able to since. I was able to put my finger under the arch like at the beginning of the article and my arches continue to hold up. They even hold up so well that I can put pressure medially, and lean my foot to the left and my arch still does not disappear. Also, I have noticed that my knees have not only stopped collapsing, inward medially towards each other, but they’ve actually come back a significant amount, which was not just my imagination my friend who is a physical therapist, said that he could noticeably see it and we’ve spent a lot of time together, so I feel really good about that. I still have quite a bit of work to do but I definitely can see a maintenance routine light at the end of this tunnel. I believe that you have not only changed my life but saved a good portion of it I can’t thank you enough. I’ve started to look into the posture data you’ve laid out. Much respect. I’ll be keeping up with you!

    Andy Childs
    Radiologic Technologist

    Happy New Year!!! 2023 will be just that much more amazing

    Sorry had to correct some spelling and resend.

  9. Hi Mark,

    I definitely have tight calves, soleus and have alot of crunchiness in both feet. I am having a difficult time getting the crunchiness under control. My overpronated, misaligned feet are literally killing me and it is causing pain throughout the kinetic chain (lower back, SI, hips). I am literally pounding my feet into the ground with every step. I have tried everything, I release my feet everyday and then try to strengthen right after but I get into more pain. Should I be releasing my calves, soleus and other muscles as well? I cannot find someone without telling me next time we will work on that. Very frustrating. The only thing I can wear is OOFOS as wearing sneakers hurt quite a bit and the pain cycle begins again. I wore orthotics for over 7 years, feel this was a major cause of dysfunction. I need to get on a program and I was wondering if your suggestions would help in the long run. I need help. I really need help and cannot seem to find anyone and they charge so much money with no outcome or relief. I am at my wits end and can’t figure how to get out of this situation. Do you do Zoom? I am so unhappy and tired of pain.

    I literally had an orthopedic telling me my ligaments and tendons were not strong enough and wanting to fuse the bones, while a second opinion doctor said absolutely not.

    • Hi Roberta,

      – Yes- if the calf muscles are tight and contributing to your said issues, definitely get into a habit of releasing/stretching them regularly.

      – Wearing orthotics is rarely the answer in most cases. The aim is to have a flexible strong foot that can handle different loads/surfaces. TheY are fine in the short term if they are providing you relief.

      – I don’t have time to do online consults unfortunately. That being said, I am quite responsive in the comment section in all of the blog posts! (Feel free to ask questions here and I’ll definitely get back to you when I can.)

      – In most cases – I would try to stay away from fusing the bones of the feet together. This will lock you in a rigid foot which is really no better than an overpronating foot. The foot is designed to pronate AND supinate.

      – I’d suggest running through the exercises mentioned on this blog post as I believe it can help most people with flat feet. You may also benefit from addressing other areas of your body (such as the hips/pelvis) as this usually influences the behavior of the foot. If you get significant amount of pain with the exercises, this is probably a sign that either there is too much inflammation (which needs to be addressed first) or the exercise performed was too difficult (in this case – you will need to find the appropriate exercise that you can comfortably perform without hurting)

      – In addition to the exercises, weight management helps offload pressure off the feet.


      • Wow, most blogs that write information or advice for free, they wouldn’t reply in the comments section unless they are paid for it. . Thankyou for these exercises and replying to people.
        I would like your advice, I have flat feet and and wide big heels, my feet, toes have deformed over the years, {everything looks better when I do the *short feet test*) I would love to wear sandals and have straight toes, I have inner media pain in my right knee knee when I dance, skate, ride a bike, lower back pain when I do a basic hip hinge, my right feet is more flatter and toes bent in a pigeon form more than the left foot, I have been to two Physiotherapist and a feet specialist, they all said my feet shouldn’t affect my knee pain, I thought about surgery to straighten my toes but was given arch supports and he said he woukd avoid surgery and I have to live with the appearance of my toes. They said my glutes and hamstrings are weak as to why I have knee pain may you share your advice on how I can correct these problems.

      • Hi Sara!

        Thanks for your comment.

        How your foot moves definitely affects how your knee moves. The most common pattern that I see is over pronation of the feet leading to the knee collapsing towards the midline. This can cause medial knee pain for sure.

        Funny that you mention that you have medial knee pain. I am actually working on a blog post that addresses this exact problem at the moment.

        The knee is also strongly influenced by the hip so weak glutes could also be playing a role here in your knee pain.

        If everything looks and feel better when doing the short foot movement, this suggests that if you focus on the exercises on this blog post, you should be able to improve some aspects of your foot/toes. Keep in mind – sometimes joints in the foot can fuse together over time making it very difficult to change. (But this does not mean you should not at least to try what ever you can improve!)

        1. It sounds like you will benefit from performing the exercises mentioned on this blog post.

        2. I would also start to stretch out your toes. You can pull them downwards/upwards and see which direction you are limited in.

        3. Consider wearing “toe separators”. I haven’t seen your toes, but I would not be surprised if they are a bit squashed together.

        4. Check to see if you have midfoot stiffness. Your foot is meant to splay out (not excessively roll in or out) as you place weight through your foot (eg. when dancing, skating etc.).

        5. Check big toe extension. You’ll need a flexible big toe to walk properly. See post: Big toe

        6. Check your ankle dorsiflexion. Poor ankle mobility usually leads to the feet flattening out as you walk. See post: Ankle Dorsiflexion.

        7. Start to load your knee at a progressive pace. You can consider some of the exercises mentioned here. (Make sure that it DOES NOT hurt as you perform the exercises)

        8. Start learning how to stabilize your hip. See post: Glute medius strengthening exercises.

        9. If you have tight flexors on that same side of knee pain, consider stretching it out.

        These pointers should be a good STARTING point. Let me know if you have any questions.


  10. My son and I both wear Dr. Scholl’s insouls really helps. Then recently I started stretch my toes/leg because one day I feel and cut my leg. It has been healed for a long time but my leg/hips would hurt. So I recently been stretching it and really improving the pain, don’t even notice it now.

  11. Hi Mark,

    I have chronic sesamoiditis on my right foot and I’m trying to get to the root of it. I’ve noticed that on the right side 1) my foot is half a size larger than the left, 2) my intrinsic foot muscles appear larger than on the left, 3) I have a protruding tendon around the inside of my ankle, I think it’s the tib posterior. My theory is that there’s faulty mechanics further up the chain which are causing my right foot to pronate more. The intrinsic foot muscles try to hold up the arch despite those forces, which causes my flexor hallucis brevis and embedded sesamoids to get irritated. I’ve been using the info here on your site to try to fix my whole chain mechanics but progress hasn’t been perfectly linear. Any thoughts? The problem started after I switched to forefoot striking and I have stretched the heck out of my calfs but it seems to be only part of the problem. Any help at all would be much appreciated

    • Hi Austin,

      Forefoot striking would place direct force onto the sesamoid bones of the base of the big toe. If the structures in your foot are not accustomed to this new force, they may not tolerate the force in the beginning and result in your symptoms.

      The first thing I would check is to make sure that you have an adequate amount of big toe extension. Limitations in big toe extension whilst fore foot running would cause the foot to pivot outwards. This may expose your sesamoid bones to more compression as you run.

      If this is fine, it may also be a matter of strengthening the flexor hallucis brevis in a lengthened position. You can do this by performing the exercise 4B)Big Toe Activation on this blog post.


  12. Hello! After reading your article I know I have all of he symptoms of flat footedness! Bunion, collapsing arch, and my big toe is so tight that I can hardly bend it! I also have issues with my IT band when I sleep. I would like to start these exercises but would like to print out a copy to have in my hand. Do you have an e-book or printable copy?
    Thank you for your help!

  13. Thanks so much for the exercises. After overdoing things with a long and brisk 3 mile walk with old sneakers, my right foot arch and the top of the foot is giving me pain (as well as some joint weirdness from an old left knee injury). Hope to strengthen surrounding muscles with these exercises.

  14. Hi Mark,

    Thank you for doing this post. I had no idea I could actually work to fix my fallen arches. I see a foot doctor that basically shrugs and left me to my own devices besides orthotics. So for starters I have an anterior pelvic tilt I have been improving thru exercise over the last couple years although it’s still pronounced somewhat bit better and I have an extensive exercise routine for core (post prolotherapy and PRP to repair fairly severe hypermobility) as well as exercises for upper neck issues and back due to MVA. I want to work to repair my fallen arches they continue to require bigger shoes and hurt all the time. However as a mother of two I doubt I could do everything you have suggested on this page. If I could just do a few which ones would be priority? And then I could branch out from there. Thanks so much for this page. I believe very strongly in healing the body thru exercise and postural changes. From experience doing so has improved my chronic pain.

    • Hi Michelle,

      100% you can address your foot arches!

      In terms of which exercises you should prioritize: You really need to get familiar with the “Short Foot Exercise”. If you do this one exercise, your arch position will improve in the standing position (providing that you don’t have structural flat feet).

      If you can not perform the short foot exercise properly, you’ll need to do other exercises to “unlock” your foot first. Are you able to perform the short foot exercise? If not – what is stopping you?


      • Hi Mark thanks so much for your response I can perform the short foot exercise (it was very hard at first) except for the fact that I have hammer toes on the toes next to the big toes on each foot on my right foot it is worse and therefore no matter how hard I try I cannot get it to relax and it actually sticks up higher when I do this exercise. It seems to be way less of an issue on the left foot. I have tried rolling my foot on a small ball…but otherwise I’m stumped. Thanks!


      • I should add it is also a bit stiff to pull my big toe back without lifting it and tensing up my toes…so makes me think something needs to be released.

  15. This is an amazing site. Thank you a million fold for creating it. I wish you also took on actual clients.
    How/when does one begin these many, valuable exercises for flat feet/fallen arches when there is still pain?
    Your site and info are very clear and I’m VERY anxious to start some of them, but I don’t want to create MORE pain.
    Thanks for a reply

    • Hi there,

      It is possible that some exercise (although very beneficial for your feet) may actually make your symptoms worse initially.

      This is usually due to the structures not used to taking on load. The good thing is that the body will eventually adapt, become stronger and be able to tolerate more exercises.

      If there is a significant amount of pain, you might need to address any inflammation that might be related to this. You can consider taking rest from aggravating activities, NSAIDS, cortisone injection, natural anti-inflammatory supplements etc.

      Also consider performing the exercises at a lesser intensity. For example, if you releasing the muscles, perhaps only apply a 50% pressure and assess how your body responds to that.


  16. Hello, Mark!

    My right leg was inward for nearly my whole life, but my spine was ok, since it was structurally intact, but later on I had an injury which allowed my midback vertebrae to slip under one another, and created some space in the coloumn, to initiate a twisting pelvis.
    It was always wanted to twist, I always stretched it back to right position.

    Now, as I was recover from another injury, my right leg found it’s right position, doesn’t stand inward anymore, but now my rotation wants to go in the other direction.
    My neck still has some leftover from my forward head posture and it is very loose.
    So these structural problems end up in a prone to twist spinal coloumn, which tends to lock in the lumbar level.

    I am attending on prolotherapy, but I am afraid, that the reason for my facet joint locks on the right side, is the years of bad position of my leg, and the years of pelvis rotation it caused.

    Or maybe it still can be fixed somehow, and it is mostly because of the mascular imbalances still?
    Now both legs are nice, but the twisting starts easily on the lumbar and together with that, at my injuried mid back vertebrae.
    That causes my hip to loose the horizontal alignment.

    I feel like cripled.

    I don’t know, if I can make this through.

    Do you have some thoughts?

    Thank you.


  17. The information you give you is the best I have seen. I am not sure what to attack first. I have knock knee (worst in my right, then my left), and I have flat feet and maybe ATV. Which one should I attack first?

    • Hey Brandi,

      In terms of which area to address first: Generally speaking – It depends on where you are having your symptoms.

      For example – if you have foot pain, it is a good idea to start exercises for the foot first before tackling global postural issues.

      In your case, improving the foot control might actually help with the knock knee position.


  18. Does functional lateral pelvic tilit conected to flat feet? If yes, does flat feet cause lateral pelvic tilt or does the lateral pelvic tilt cause the flat feet? What is the root cause of the problem…if i have lateral pelvic tilt where my left leg is shorter than the right then a lot of the feet muscles have a different force on them,and my right foot is flat but my left isnt flat, so what is the underlying root cause? I understand i should exercise both i really do!!! But if im standing more on one leg for years before of the lateral pelvic tilt than i dont know, maybe the lateral pelvic tilt where my left hip is higher and the left leg is shorter can cause my right flat feet and then if i fix the lateral pelvic tilt maybe the feet muscles would balance, because the feet muscles arent strong at all , where the glute med and abductors that you said that have the effect on the lateral pelvic tilt are much much stronger.
    I want to know what do you think is the root cause here…???
    Thanks, aviv.

    • Hey Aviv,

      You can certainly have flat feet with a lateral pelvic tilt.

      In terms of what causes what, they can cause each other depending on how the body is compensates.

      A quick way to see if flat feet causes a lateral pelvic tilt is to place your foot on top of an arch support and then re-assess what happens at the hips. If the hips are even, then it is likely that flat feet has lead to the lateral pelvic tilt. In this case, you would focus on the feet to address the pelvis position.

      If you have a hip hike on the right side and you tend to place more weight on this right side, it is common to see a flat foot on the right side. In this case – if you balance out your hips so that you are distributing your weight evenly between the 2 feet and it improves the flat feet, then you would focus on the pelvis/hips to address the foot position.


      • I tried to stand on insoles on both feet,only on left,only on right,without insoles- the hips looks more even when there is insoles on my right foot, what does this mean?

      • Hey Aviv,

        This suggests that the pelvis position is influenced by the foot position.

        Perhaps work on the right foot with the exercises mentioned on this blog post to see if that helps.


      • Wait, but i have a left hip hike, and it feels like im leaning to the left,and when i take pictures of myself the left glute med looks smaller than the right, doesnt this mean the left weaker,smaller glute med is the cause of the uneven?

      • Hey Aviv,

        If you believe your weak left glute medius is the main cause of your left hip hike (and not your pronated foot on the right), then strengthening the left glute medius should improve your uneven hips.


  19. Mark ante todo gracias por la información que brindas.
    Sufrí un accidente me fracture la tibia y el peroné me pusieron clavos y placa tengo el 80% recuperada deje la terapia por factor económico cuando camino me empieza a doler la rodilla no tengo pie plano antes del accidente usaba tacos altos, en estos momentos solo uso zapatillas.
    Que me recomiendas aparte de los ejercicios que se encuentran líneas arriba.
    Gracias por tus recomendaciones.

    • Hey Betty,

      If you have had surgery to your leg which I assume is in your ankle, I would highly recommend that you reclaim full ankle dorsiflexion.

      See post: Ankle Dorsiflexion Exercises.

      Poor ankle dorsiflexion can also lead to collapsing of the foot arch whilst you are walking.


    • Hi Brody,

      They shouldn’t, unless the flat foot is compensating for something else in your body such as knee valgus, rotated pelvis, poor ankle dorsiflexion etc.


  20. I’ve been wearing orthotics for 25 years. If I walk without them I get awful pain in my lower back. I’d like to try e exercises and weaning myself off the orthotics, but unsure how to do that without triggering the lower back pain. Any thoughts?

    • Hey Matt,

      Slow and steady!

      You can start by wearing no orthotics for 10-30 minutes per day and see how your body responds. This can tell you how much you can push your body.

      Keep in mind – you would need to also perform the suggested exercises on this blog post as you transition from relying on your orthotics to your own muscles.


  21. Hi Mark,
    What style of shoes do you recommend for flat feet and overpronation? I also have a wide feet. I’m considering getting a barefoot but i can’t due to location and shipment issues. Is Nike Air Zoom Structure 24 good?

    • Hi Madds,

      If you are having symptoms related to your over pronation, orthotics/support shoes can be help in the INITIAL stages. (I would strongly recommend NOT to become reliant on it though.)

      ASICS kayano shoes are great shoes to begin with in addition to performing the foot exercises every day. They also offer different shoe width sizes.

      Barefoot /Minimalistic shoes are great to transition into ONCE you have developed strong feet. I would caution wearing these barefoot type of shoes too soon as it can places a lot of pressure on your feet.


      • Hi Mark,
        Thanks for the reply first of all. I’m severe overpronation according to my observations. ASICS Kayano is ok for severe overpronation? You say “(I would strongly recommend NOT to become reliant on it though.)” what does that mean sir? You mean like “if you want to fix your flat feet dont stick to it, alongside do your exercises” ?
        So can i buy Kayano and wear it everyday? (I will do my exercises every day)

        Another question is, can i use toe spacer everyday and all day long? Is it beneficial?

      • Hi Madds,

        If you have severe over pronation, ASICS kayanos may not provide enough support. You can assess this by standing in them and having a look at your foot/ankle alignment. If you require more support, go for the orthotics.

        Keep in mind – if you don’t have any symptoms/issues, you might not even require orthotics.

        When I say do not become reliant on the orthotics, this means you will also need to do your foot exercises.

        Toe spacers are great and beneficial to use everyday.


      • Hi Mark,

        Thanks again for the reply also thanks for making these for free. You’re putting so much effort to help people!
        I have one last question I want to ask. If i dont wear stability shoe that doesn’t have enough support and wear any other shoe and i pronate with that (also doesn’t hurt my feet) but besides that i’ll keep doing my exercises everyday. Is there any chance that i’ll improve or correct? Or should I really wear insoles or stability shoes? Thanks in advance!

  22. Hi Mark, I trust you are well

    I have had flat feet for my whole life(I’m 22).
    Around age 12 my posture was already terrible and basically slouched around(I even got teased over it).It was at this point where my teachers notified my folks how this and suggested I go see a doctor/specialist.Long story short,I was diagnosed with flat feet and had surgery done on my feet. I cant remember the procedure as such but I do remember that I have screws in my feet. after that(and healing) I had been put in a physio program, I didn’t really stay there too long because I felt discouraged after a couple of months(that was around 2012) and as you guessed it,things haven’t improved.

    I still slouch, my feet are still flat, realized later in life that my knees faced inwards and have a pelvic tilt.
    So based of that, How long should expect it to take to fix everything(or improve)

    • Hello Kamohelo,

      Depending on exactly where your screws were added to your foot, this might suggest that it might be difficult to change the shape of your arch. But I would still encourage you to try these exercises for at least 6-12 weeks to see if you can see any improvement at all.

      In terms of how long is fix EVERY THING, this is a very hard question to answer as it is multi-factorial.

      If your knees collapse in wards, I would also encourage you to have a read of this post: Knee valgus.


  23. Hi Mark

    I have flat feet and severe scoliosis and have started to get back pain and hip pain – I was excited to find your page and all the information on it.

    I’ve been trying these exercises and am not able to activate my toes/big toe independently of each other. Any tips on how I can learn to do this ? I clearly have very weak feet!


    • Hey Jill,

      Don’t worry! It’s actually a fairly difficult exercise.

      You can try performing the exercise with manual guidance using your fingers. As you get better, take away the external guidance .


  24. Good evening sir please I also have a problem with my right foot and it seems my knee is rotated but I don’t know the right exercise to do and this is affecting me really bad..
    Please what should I do??

  25. Hi Mark
    As a kid I had flat feet and had special orthotics hard cast back in the 70’s. One exercise I remember having to do was toe ups. Leaning forward hands against the wall feet pointed straight and gently rise up and down on the balls of the feet. It was also to help with quick starts and jumping ability by strengthening the calve muscles.

    Also walking barefoot tiptoes but that can lead to other issues if not counter. Just wondering if these are still used.

  26. Hello Mark,

    I have overpronated my feet my entire life, has not caused me too many issues but I have read that it can be a bigger issue down the road so I am trying to work on it now. If I stay mindful of it I am able to maintain some what of an arch if I distribute weight evenly on the three points of my foot (base of pinky toe, base of big toe and heel). I am trying to make sure I walk on the 3 points instead of overpronating whenever I walk or stand. However, it is causing my feet and ankles to be sore and I really cannot maintain the arch when running. Do you think I should stay practising walking on the tripod of my feet alongside these exercises? Do you think these exercises will make it easier for me to maintain proper walking/standing technique?

    • Hey Dave,

      Before you can control your foot arch in running, you need to make sure you are quite confident you can control it whilst standing and walking first.

      Otherwise – the muscles in the feet will have a hard time absorbing the forces whilst running.

      Keep up with these exercises as they will help with the over pronation. Just make sure that you are not forcing the arch up at the expense of compensating somewhere else in your body (eg. knee, hip, lower back etc)


  27. Hi Mark,

    Is there a connection between bow legs and flat feet? My father, my brother and I have both, so I assumed there is some connection here.
    And do I need to fix bow legs first (it gets better with running), and then do exercises for flat feet? or vice versa?
    And do you have exercises for bow legs?

    • Hi Lisa,

      There is no direct relation but bow legs and flat feet can occur together.

      You can address either and see how that affects the shape of the legs.

      Keep in mind – bow legs tend to be structural!

      Unfortunately – I do not have any blog post on this yet.


  28. Hi Mark
    my son is 15 with flat feet, very tall and is into basketball, he has one foot that gets an inflamed tendon on the bottom of his foot during games that prevents him from playing – he rest and gets it right and it happens a few time a year will these exercises help – he does have orthodontics

  29. First thanks for this valuable information, i want to ask about sports that help in fixing the arch
    my son is 9 years and have flexible flatfeet now i will stop using the insoles and follow your directions.
    is yoga or what gymnastics can be helpful or what ?

    • Hi Heba,

      If your son is already used to wearing in soles, perhaps he can use them for a portion of the day (as opposed to getting rid of them completely).

      Making sudden changes can potentially exacerbate any existing symptoms.

      Yoga and Gymnastics is great. Focus on single leg balance.


      • Hi, am Anna. Please I need a foot brace for my foot. A foot brace that is very thight. When I stand and walk the arch in my feet touches the ground or floor. This also make my shoes to be widen. Please I need a total solution to this flat feet arch for it not to be there anymore. Thanks

      • Hey Anna,

        You can try orthotics to support the arch of your feet.

        But I would strongly encourage you to get your feet as strong as possible by doing exercises!(Otherwise – you can become reliant on the inserts)


  30. Hi mark I was wondering I have supinated feet more so on my right foot what would be causing that because it’s affecting my right knee and lower back aswell I think do you have any suggestions ?

    • Hi Daniel,

      It could be due to tightness in the arch and big toe muscles. Rolling under your foot with a massage ball is a great for this.

      Follow this up with a plantarfascia stretch.

      If you have just one foot that is supinated, I would also suggest looking at your pelvis.

      A rotated pelvis can lead to one foot being more supinated. Check this post: Rotated pelvis.

      This could even lead to lower back issues as well.


  31. Hello Mark,
    Extremely sad and frustrated for few years about my right foot, I had the x-ray and MRI and my foot about 10+ years ago on top of my foot had a hairline crack which no longer there now, but same foot is collapsed, done therapy and cortisone shot in above each toe but didi not work matter fact for few days it was way more gainful then anything, my next step is doctor’s are telling me is surgery and will fused each joint so no friction hope I get out of this pain issue. It on and off situation, since last month now top of my foot up to the ankle throbs at night. I started to do your stretches since 5days, it does give me some relief but after driving or walking it comes back. I do ice and heat as well.
    Any thoughts or suggestion to my issue?
    one more thing on top of my big toe it feel like my skin is separating from my nails it burns a lot. Thank you in advance. Lata

    • Hey Lata,

      I would encourage you to persist with the mentioned exercises. I generally advise people to try to avoid Surgical fusion of any joint in the body. It will likely have a significant impact on how you move which in turn, can affect other joints.

      If the skin is separating from your big toe nail, this might suggest that your big toe is twisting as your walking. This pulls the skin away from the nail bed. This is very common for those with flat feet.


  32. Thank you so much for providing this wonderful information regarding flat feet. The tips or exercises you mentioned here really helps. As my friend was suffering from flat feet problem and his feet are so paining. But doing the exercises you mentioned really helps him. Now he is able to walk and move. So thanks again for this informative blog. Keep posting such blogs which help everyone to know the solution to their problem.

  33. Hi mark,

    I am a 21 year old male and have had flat feet pretty much all my life I get no pains whatsoever but just some minor aches on my feet from time to time but I have always been insecure about them and I don’t know whether I can fix them or not. My left foot has a slight arch but is still flat either way. But my question is will is still be able to fix them or not?because iv had flat feet pretty much all my life.

    • Hi Kamran,

      It’s your flat feet is structural, then there might be a limit as to how much arch you can regain.

      I would encourage you to try these exercises for at least 3-6 months to see how much you can reclaim.


  34. Hi Mark,

    First of all thank you for the wonderful information. Essentially what happened was I broke my left ankle and ended up walking on it for several months until I had surgery which altered my gait (especially I’m the calves). When I initially went to physical therapy it didn’t work because my calves were so tight and I had fallen arches. I just realized my calves were incredibly tight about 3 weeks ago (about 12 months since my surgery). I released and stretched them for a couple weeks religiously and all of a sudden I went from 20% to 60% and I could feel my arch again. However I developed some compensation movements due to having a probated foot for so long. When I squat i put most of my weight on my healthy ankle and it seems like my hips shift. Because of the hip shift my right shoulder has also been bothering since about 6 months from my injury. I’ve recently been doing the 90 / 90 hip shift to try and correct the balance. I have trouble fully stretching my calves due to the hip shift though. My hip also rests externally rotated. Progress has been slow but I haven’t been healthy in 2.5 years and I’m a young generally healthy 26 male. Any thoughts ?


    • Hey Peter,

      With a tight calf, I assume you may also have limited ankle dorsiflexion? If so, check out this post: Ankle Dorsiflexion exercises. I would say this movement is the most important following an ankle surgery in most people. (as it alters gait)

      It sounds like you may need to do exercises on the surgical side to teach the body is tolerate load. This will help your center of gravity back to where it needs to be. Exercises like lunges, single leg squats, step ups would be great.

      Also check to see if you have a Rotated pelvis as this tends to occur with hip shift towards the other side.

      If your hip is stuck in hip external rotation, make sure there is adequate amount of hip internal rotation so that the injured side can have the chance to receive load.


      • Hello Mark! Please help me.

        I have a similar case where I had a non-displaced medial malleolus fracture last year in June. It was on my right ankle. It’s been about 8-9 months since the fracture and since I didn’t have to get surgery, it was immobilized for about 5-6 weeks until I got put into a brace. Went to physical therapy, eventually got to walking again & my last PT session was at the 16th week mark. I could have gone for more but my insurance wouldn’t cover anymore sessions so I had to do exercises at home. The immobilization period with the boot on caused a whole bunch of problems with my hip and “uneven-ness” throughout my legs and glute area. Especially when I lie down, all of the weight seems to naturally shift to the uninjured side (left side) unless I’m consciously forcing my body to stay evenly grounded whilst laying down and also while sitting down. I have spent the last 2 months or so researching for answers and thank god I came across your articles! You are an angel.

        I came to realize that I may have a lateral pelvic tilt and it may be a bit rotated as well as I spent those months in the boot and my body’s muscles adapted to the walking boot. I have been doing a lot of yoga stretches and stretches to neutralize the hip. My right foot has also become flat due to the immobilization. It has regained more of an arch than before but not as equal as my uninjured foot/ankle. Even when I am sitting at times, I can notice that my uninjured foot (left) grounds itself with a heavier load than my right. It feels so uneven and it honestly kills me inside sometimes lol.

        As you can see, I’m dealing with several issues here and I just don’t know which problem to address first, or in which order I should start. People are saying address the hip first and others are saying to address the ankle first. By the way, I should mention that my ankle injury still isn’t entirely fully healed as it hasn’t been a full year yet and I still feel soreness at times. The range of motion is nearly 99.9% back. Is there a specific protocol to follow that is best to solve this problem? Can you possibly provide a list of things I should do?

        Any information you can give me would be so greatly appreciated. Thank you!!! <3

      • Hi Elana,

        The first thing you need to address is the ankle. You need to make sure that you reclaim full ankle mobility (.. especially ankle dorsiflexion!).

        Without full ankle dorsiflexion, the foot will tend to pronate (flatten) as you place weight through it. It will also change the way you walk which can lead to issues of the hips.

        Once your ankle has full ankle dorsiflexion, tackle the foot arch with the exercises mentioned on the blog post.

        After this – You want to teach your right side to accept load. Focus on single leg exercises such as the step ups, single leg squats, balance.

        If your pelvis imbalances are still present, then I would encourage to address pelvis tilt and rotation.

        But if any doubt, follow up with your health care provider first.

        All the best.


  35. Me again! Sorry… I just also wanted to ask if there are things that I can still do while I give my arches some rest. (Stretches? Maybe the toe strength exercises?) thanks!

  36. Hey, Mark, thank you so much for this very helpful info. I have fallen arches (PTTD) on both feet. My right foot is definitely worse than the left, but they are both painful. I have now been to two podiatrists and two physical therapists. I just got fitted for custom orthotics, and I am currently using hapad pads on top of powerstep orthotics. The combo has provided some relief. I have high arches and while my footsteps on sand definitely show defined arches, I can visibly see that the arch on my right foot appears a bit flatter. I have tried some of the exercises you wrote about, but I am at the stage where almost any form of exercise on the post tib (toe crunches, as an example) make my arches/feet so weak (and painful) that I can’t walk for a couple of hours afterwards and I am in severe pain the next day. I did an MRI of my right ankle, and it said the post tib was normal. A few questions for you… are there other areas of the foot or leg that I should have an MRI on? How long should I “rest” my foot before I can do any sort of exercises? I have now had this for 4 months. It’s crazy how much muscle mass I have lost in my legs from not waking/attempting to rest. Some other context for you… the PTs both said that my gait appeared to be normal, that I did still have some strength in my post tib, and that my ankle/foot/leg flexibility was good. Where should I go from here?

    • Hi Allie,

      Q: Are there other areas of the foot or leg that I should have an MRI on?

      Most likely no need to MRI the hip, but always check the hip position to see if there may be anything affecting the feet. Check for hip internal rotation (+/- knock knee)

      Q. How long should I “rest” my foot before I can do any sort of exercises?

      I would still recommend performing exercises for the foot, but you might need to adjust the intensity so that it does not flare up foot. For example, if your are doing the short foot exercises, perhaps try to only engage it at 50% and see how the body responds. If you have tried everything and it still flares up, rest it for at least a week and gradually get back to it.

      Q. Where should I go from here?

      This is a hard question for me to answer as I have not assessed you. Generally speaking – once you have rested the foot and the initial inflammation has settled, you will need to start to progressively load the Tibialis posterior tendon at an intensity is can handle. Perhaps you can try theraband ankle plantarflexions to begin with since it is quite gentle.


  37. Hello Mark. My main complaint is chronic plantar fasciitis. Have had it twice in left foot and once in right. This current bout (left) I’m really struggling with. Nothing is getting rid of it or even helping. I’ve tried everything. And have seen several specialists in different fields. I’ve always felt it’s structural. I’m currently seeing a chiro who’s adjusted me and explained to an extent what going on with my body. They mentioned I am a puzzling case cos the way my body is. I have mild flat feet and a bunion on the left side. I also have knee pain. My calves and hips are tight. I have a slight ant pelvic tilt. My calves and hamstrings are oversized compared to my glutes which have wastage. My core is weak. My knees turn outwards. My gait was analysed and I supinate to start with then pronate and stay pronated. I’m very confused at how my body is moving and what I can do about it. Cheers

    • Hey Matt,

      Plantarfasciitis can definitely be quite frustrating.

      My first recommendation would be to stop and reduce exposure to anything that is making your symptoms worse. If walking is the main culprit, I suspect you will need to reduce the time on your feet to allow the symptoms to settle.

      If you have tried this already which I am pretty sure you have, the next step is to make sure that your feet are supported with appropriate foot wear. As we can’t really avoid being on our feet, it is imperative that your shoe significantly reduces your symptoms. I would also suggest that you do not walk barefoot on hard ground such as tiles.

      Increased dependence on your leg muscles (ie calf, quads) suggests that they may be compensating somewhere further up the movement chain (ie. core, glutes). This can tie in with an anterior pelvic tilt presentation.

      It sounds like you walk with duck feet posture (as you mentioned knees are outwards) which can expose more of the inner side of the heel to the floor. (which I assume is where your pain is)

      But before addressing the posture, you would likely need to strengthen the foot. Short foot and heel raises (with emphasis of pushing big toe down into the ground) are great exercises that generally do not increase one’s pain.


    • Thank you Mark for your response! I have tried many things. I find it hard to find shoes that give me any kind of help. I believe my PF is caused by tight calves through to tight hamstrings caused by weak glutes and a weak core all round. My APT is only minor I’ve been told. I do have mild flat feet but wouldn’t say I was particularly duck footed. I wore insoles at work for 7 years after my first PF bout. I feel wearing them for that long may of hindered something along the line in that time

  38. Thanks for your reply Mark. One thing I am really struggling with is just activating my arch muscles alone. Is there anything that I could be possibly preventing me from activating my arch?

    • Hey Chris,

      If you can’t do the short foot exercise, you might need to work on exercises such as toe scrunches and heel raises.

      Tight muscles (as indicated in the blog post) will likely be making it more difficult to engage your arches. In this case, you might need to work on your foot mobility before strengthening the arch.


  39. Hi and thanks for the great info.
    I have a low arch and a mild-moderate bunion. When doing the short foot exercise, my big toe insists on going towards my other toes when I activate my arch. How can I get it to cooperate?

    • Hi Chris,

      Sounds like you might be activating your toes to engage your arch.

      Try to keep the toes as relaxed as possible and direct your contraction to the arch ONLY.

      If you have difficulty relaxing the those, you might need to stretch them out and/or do specific exercise for it.

      I have some exercises for big toe bunion as well! See post: 40 tips for Big Toe Bunion.


  40. Every time I point my left foot big toe(Hallux) or far as possible I get this cramp near my abductor hallucis. I feel the cramp in the side and in the bottom of my medial plantar nerve. after I point my big toe or reach far as possible for a while. I get this small sore pain in the side and bottom of my left foot What could this be? Can you help me out?

    • Hi Osvaldo,

      Perhaps your big toe is not used to this position. If you force a muscle into a position that it is not used to, it can certainly cramp up.

      If you would like to improve your ability to point your foot, you might need to gradually increase the intensity over time. Let the body become accustomed.


  41. Hi Mark,
    I just wanted to know how often one should do these exercises (daily, weekly?) and if all above exercises are done daily – how soon should you notice a change in the in the arch?

    • Hey Ari,

      Daily would be ideal if your foot can tolerate it.

      In terms of when you would notice change? This really depends on how weak you are, how tight you are, how good your foot control is etc.

      If there is absolutely no change in 6 weeks, you might need to delve a bit deeper as to why.


  42. Hey Mark, I would really love to be a boxer but having flat feet makes it very hard to even become one because I heard flat feet also affects your hips and spine. I was born with flat feet and I really want to fix it, should I do surgery and if not why do most people try to avoid flat feet surgery. I only get pain once a while, but I used to wear orthotics 2 years ago and I would get pain after taking them off. After I stopped, I only get pain once a while but I’d really love to find a way to fix my flat feet.

    • Hey Ameer,

      Generally speaking – I would try to avoid any surgery. (Especially since there is no guaranty that the surgery will help you functionally)

      If you have structural feet, I would encourage you to get your feet (and toes!) as strong as possible.

      Orthotics are fine to use, but make sure they are used in conjunction with a foot strengthening program. (like the exercises mentioned on this blog post)


  43. Is there anyway to an anatomically flat arch? I think I was born with flat feet I believe, and i don’t think there is much of an arch even when I’m not standing on my foot. If you have any advice I would love to hear it. Thank you! :)

    • I’m also a dancer so it makesit hard to balance en pointe or even on flat shoe. I have bunions on both feet as well, I have like the worst feet for a dancer..sad…

    • Hi Lily,

      Yes – it is possible to have anatomically flat feet.

      Although there may be a limit to how much you might be able to correct your arch, I would still encourage you to continue to strengthen your feet/toes as much as possible.


  44. hello mark,

    This is Nishant,24 yrs and me having a flexible flat foot.i have my selections for army in a gap of 5 months from today.will this be really effective?
    please help me..

    yours sincerely
    NIshant das

  45. I need a fix that doesn’t revolve around feet workouts!

    I have orthotics but, they don’t work or reduce the throbbing pain to a manageable level.

    I’m 27 years old and feel like a 70 year old man!. Like, I can’t even go walking for 3 hours without having to take breaks like sitting down for 10+ minutes even with the breaks the pain ramps back up when i start walking again.

    I been soooo depressed because i’m unable to work like this its pure suffering and agony have to find a solution to the pain or will have to collect welfare and not work. Imagine knowing your able to work hard with your upper body but then your feet give out 3 hours into work you know how embarrassing that is?.

    I been so many doctors about my feet condition, got it x-rayed, got orthotics , been giving pills and nothing works.

    I don’t know what too do…..

    • I just saw Hyprocure, which is extremely promising. High success rate, minimay invasive, reversable and short recovery time due to minimal invasive.
      Just a stent that lodges…no drilling or anything. And insurance should cover it. Check it out.

  46. Hi Mark,
    Thank you so much for taking the time to write this blog, I really appreciate all you are doing.
    I have a couple of questions if that is ok?
    I have gradually developed a worsening pronation throughout the teenage years. My feet are functionally flat (ie.. the arch only collapses when I stand). I have been prescribed orthotics which are half shoe ones that have been moulded to my feet by the physio department at my local hospital. As a young adult, I now experience increasing knee and hip clicking (most of the time), lower back ache and stiff knee joints. I am wondering what do now as I believe this is due to my overpronating feet. Which particular exercises would you recommend in my case? Would you recommend any other intervention ie… splints/ surgery?
    Many thanks!

    • Hey Nia,

      If your flat foot is completely functional, then I would encourage you to start the exercises mentioned on this blog post.

      Foot orthotics are fine in the short term. Don’t become reliant on them though.

      If you have knee and lower back problems as well, addressing the feet may help. However- you may also need to address these said areas specifically as well.


  47. Hi mark

    Was wondering your thoughts on strengthening exercises for the tibialis anterior. Presumably as it is attached to the arch strengthening it should also help. Would you advocate such exercises as well as the ones shown here, or could strengthening this muscle have the opposite affect? I’d appreciate your opinion on this. Thanks

  48. Hi Mark,

    Thank you for this site. I made a terrible mistake of having a bone spur shaved on my left big toe. Since then, the mechanics of my feet changed, my arch dropped and my foot became flatter. It’s so flat that I can not walk barefoot anymore. The two joints jam against the arthritis which causes pain. My orthotic is not helping much. Do you think there is hope with exercise to regain my arch, even if it’s just enough where I can walk without pain or barefoot?

    • Hey Joanne,

      Definitely give the exercises a try.

      It sounds like you had an arch previously. There shouldn’t be a reason why you can not reclaim it!


  49. Hello ,
    I’m 21 years old and I have very flat feet. I’ve had this since primary school but noticed it massively when I was in high school. When I place my feet flat on the ground my foot just overpronates and there is no arch. I’m able to stop my foot from overpronating when still but as soon as I walk it just goes straight back to being flat on the floor. When I flex my foot an arch is visible. Could it be because I have a weak joint in my foot ?.

    Is there specific exercises I should Just mainly focus on or do I need to do them all.

    Thank you

  50. Hi Mark,

    I came accross your website when trying to find some information about helping my 10yo daughter with her flat feet. shes been in orthotics for years and has pain without them.

    her feet are flexible flat – an arch forms when she goes up on her toes. But her feet are so badly pronated and flat.

    Since she is only ten – and her capacity to do all these exercises all the time is really limited – could you recomment which are most critical and how often she should aim for to be able to see a real improvement?

    How long will it take before we see improvement?

    Thank you

    • Hey Dee,

      The short foot exercise is the main one I would focus on.

      Perhaps you can make it in some sort of game to keep her compliant with it.


  51. Hi Mark,

    I’m a big fan of your blog, I found it a year ago and began a journey of fixing my posture through ant. Pelvic tilt, rounded shoulders, and forward head exercises you recomended.

    Three months ago I developed pain in my ankle after running, which didn’t go away from resting. After a couple weeks I saw a foot Dr. who said I had anterior tibia tendonitis, and that I had to wear a CAM boot for 4 weeks, then start physical therapy. It ended up being 6 weeks before therapy started. It’s been about 10 weeks now and I am still in a lot of pain when I try to walk. I have developed a lot of other pain due to the immobilization and am having trouble spending time out of the boot. I realize I’ve developed posterior tibia tendonitis aswell, and the arch on my foot has collapsed, which has created a lot of pain in my arch (along with other posrural isssues). I know I need to spend time walking out of the boot, but it is difficult because of the amount of discomfort, and I feel the the therapists I’ve been working with don’t have a good grasp of what kind of rehabilitation I need.

    I really respect your opinion, and was wondering if you had some insight into how to get out of a boot.

    Thank you, I’d be happy to provide any more details if it would be helpful

    • Hi Maxwell,

      That seems like a long time to be in a camboot for a tendonitis! Immobilization tends to cause a whole lot of other issues which seems is what you are going through.

      I’m not likely to be able to give you specific recommendations as I have not assessed you, but the main thing you need is PROGRESSIVE LOADING of the tendons in your foot.

      You need to be able to do an exercise where you are able to progress every week. If there is that much discomfort, chances are that the prescribed exercise/s is too much load for the time being.

      Decrease it to a level where you can tolerate: (eg. instead of walking 10 minutes: try walking 5 minutes in 2 lots, use a walking aid to take some pressure off, reduce the speed, wear supportive shoes, walk on flat ground etc)

      If you have tib post tendon, you can focus on the short foot exercise and that should help out quite a lot. If it is too hard, perform it sitting down.


    • Yes Kohler’s Disease number 1. I want to know your opinion.
      I have flat feet, but the feet are normal, but I have two different on my feets. scaphoid bone is small on the right foot and normal on the left. is it Kohler’s disease? will it affect flat feet?Does this interfere with flat foot fixes?
      I wanted to thank you in advance for paying attention to my question.

      • Hi Kazakh,

        When you say Scaphoid bone, do you mean Navicular bone? (Scaphoid is in the wrist)

        If the navicular is smaller (which can be due to Kohlers), you can still benefit from doing the exercises recommended in the blog post.


  52. Hi Mark,
    I have congenital flexible flat feet that started giving me trouble 7 years ago with the impact of shin splints, tight calves, inner foot cramping, hypersensitive nerves, numbing (around the ankle and lower leg), and most recently knee pain. For the past 2.5 years I’ve been wearing orthotics, but can’t function outside my gym shoes with the insets. The ortho-surgeon is willing to do surgery but it’s a toss in the air because all tests (MRI’s, X-rays, EMG’s, Vascular, Rheumatology, Neurology, Blood) are fairly inconclusive. I never did a thorough stretching/release/strengthening program, nor was it very lengthy. Do you think after 7 years it can still help? I also have lax ankle ligaments due to repeated injuries and overuse.

    • Hello Hope,

      You didn’t have symptoms prior to 7 years ago (and you had flat feet), so there is a good chance that you can reverse your symptoms.

      The best thing for lax and overly flexible joints is strengthening exercises. (even if you have had issues for 7 years)


  53. Hey Mark, I have quite a few postural problems. My oemer physio and podiatrists said they did not want to see me after a year of physio due to me not having hobbies. Basically as I was not working toward a specific sport, they never cared to help my issues. At one point my shoulder couldn’t be moved without pain for a few weeks (couldn’t hold my then, recently born daughter) and months of physio did help but there is still winging.
    Past lifting, probably with improper technique gave me bad knee, it’s always painful when I walk on the inner tendon of the knee and the back. Now I have a fallen arch also, diagnosed by physiotherapist and podiatry. My other foot is fine. On top of a stiff and painful neck and a mid-lower back that feels wonky at the spine I feel that I have been seriously let down by the professionals disregarding my injuries and ailments.
    Although I was making progress I have been left without guidance and am in need.
    So, the only question I want to ask is whether I should start from head to toe in achieving a stronger posture to realign my body or, toe to head?
    This has to be somewhat self diagnosed. I know I’ve been told I might have plantarfasciatitus and posterior tibial ‘something ‘ but nothing confirmed. I think I’ve read the answer to my question before but there are lots of comments to go through. Your a popular guy.
    Thanks in advance.

    • Hey James,

      That’s strange how your physio didn’t want to see you.

      “So, the only question I want to ask is whether I should start from head to toe in achieving a stronger posture to realign my body or, toe to head?”

      You can go with either.

      If you are having issues in the foot, perhaps addressing that area would be where I would suggest. It sounds like you have tibia posterior tendinopathy (which is basically an issue with the tendon that helps support your arch in your foot).

      Once you feel you have achieved the most in the foot, move onto the next area.


  54. Hey Mark,

    Great article & great site! I spent the past few hours binge reading your articles & sent a small donation your way. I’ve got a few questions regarding correcting my flat feet.

    1. When doing the short foot exercises, what are the common mistakes made by people? I don’t want to go at it and down the road, suddenly realize that I’ve been doing it wrong. Are there any hacks to making sure the technique is perfect or is it just lots of practice?

    From what I gather after reading some comments, some of the common ones is scrunching your toes together or not feeling it in the right place (You’re supposed to feel it directly where your arch is supposed to be right?)

    2. I have a mild bunion on my left foot. Is this permanent or reversible? And if its reversible, is the reversal permanent or do I have to keep working at it? I’ve already ordered some toe stretchers along with some other yoga equipment to help with stretching etc.

    3. In your experience, what’s a reasonable time frame for me to re-develop an arch in my feet assuming I do these exercises daily 5-7x per week? Is 3-9 months a realistic time frame?

    TLDR; I understand you need info to answer this, but it appears that my only major postural issue is my flat feet. After doing the tests on your website, I seem to be doing alright on the other stuff. I also suffer no pain whatsoever in hips, knees or ankles.

    Just some personal background, being active & involved in athletics has been a part of my life as long as I can remember. I competed in Tae Kwon Do from the age of 11-13 & trained MMA from age 19-22. I think I developed flat feet when I gained weight at the age of 13 after being bed-ridden for pneumonia and it took me a year to lose the excess fluff and it became worse after a motorcycle crash at 17 where I suffered a badly sprained left ankle and lost a lot of control and mobility in my left ankle/foot (Unsurprisingly, my bunion is on my left foot).

    I will be 24 this year and still very active. I lift weights regularly & am quite aware of my posture to avoid injuries and have gone to great lengths to make sure my shoulder, head, knee & pelvic posture is proper. It appears the only major postural issue I still have is wonky feet posture and would like to correct it because I want to take MMA more seriously again as well as regain the type of kicking ability, flexibility, control & springiness I had with my feet during my Tae Kwon Do days.

    Thanks & keep up the great informative work!

    • Hey JJ,

      Thanks for the donation. Appreciate it!

      – Scrunching up the toes is a big one. Try to keep them relaxed as you perform the short foot. Once you master the short foot with toes relaxed, then you can do more advance exercises where you push the big toe down into the ground/alternate toe lift/toe spreads.
      – Another way of activating the short foot without thinking about it too much is to stand shoulder width, make sure the foot does not lift off the floor (keep base of your big toe down), place your weight on the side you want to target and then turn to look all the way behind you on the same side. The arch should automatically engage.

      2. Check out this blog post: 40 tips to get rid of your big toe bunion.
      – It’s reversible if it is mild.

      3. Hard to say! Depends on what exactly is stopping you from developing an arch. (ie. is it tightness, lack of strength/control?)

      If it is purely poor strength/control, 3 months is certainly doable.

      If tightness is stopping you, this could be more on the 9 months side.

      Extra: Double check to see if you have adequate ankle dorsiflexion. This is a major cause of flat feet in people!


  55. Dear Mark Wong.
    Hello, we are the production crew of Korean TV programs Channel A and ‘I Am the Body God’. The goal of our program is to introduce a variety of beneficial health information to our viewers.

    I’d like to ask if our program could air a flat-footed exercise called ‘Michl Jackson Lean’ posted on your homepage.
    Can we introduce this exercise as a way to correct flat feet in our program?

    The exercise method is planned to be introduced by a physical therapist along with other movements.
    I hope you will share your wonderful wisdom with many viewers in Korea.

    I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you very much.
    I always wish you good health and happiness.

  56. Hi Mark
    Im experiencing pain in my feet almost, everyday, esp at the end of the day. And more so if I’m continuosly standing and working or walking. Sharp pain in the heel. And now days arch area too. Also after reading your blog, I’m pretty sure I have flat feet. With wet feet, I see full feet but v lil gap but the outlining is the entire foot is present. And I realised I always had this pain during my teenage and twenties but not this much the way I have now. Due to knee pain I visited knee specialist, got xray done, found lil roughage in ball socket joint and one knee lil inwards. Im assuming it’s coz of flat feet only. All the exercises mentioned by you , will they help in correcting the flat feet ? Coz I think it’s not structural in origin.

    • Hey Deepa,

      If your flat feet is not structural, then it is very likely the exercises will help you.

      Pain in the heel and arch may be suggestive of an injury like plantarfasciosis and/or perhaps issue with the flexor hallucis longus muscle.


  57. Hi,
    Sorry if this has been asked before, but I think I have fallen arches as I have been pregnant or breastfeeding since January 2016. My doctor said I have flat feet but this definitely is a new thing for me. He suggested I walk concentrating my weight on the inside of my foot rather than on the edge of my foot where my pain is…? My main problem is that I get pain in my toes , mostly my right fourth toe. It is constantly red and swollen. I am waiting for a podiatry appointment but obviously that won’t happen for a long time now.

    Just wondering you have any experience of this ?

    Thanks so much for reading

    • Hello Hannah,

      Flat feet can occur during pregnancy due to 1) increase in weight and 2) your muscles becomes more “loose” due to the release of hormones.

      Keep in mind – this does not necessarily mean that this is the cause of the pain your 4th toe.

      If you have pain in the 4th toe, I would feel it might be due to the way you are walking and/or shoe wear? If this is the case – I would suggest the podiatrist to look at how you “toe off” during your walking.

      This would give you better clues as to what is really happening.


  58. Hi Mark,

    You are awesome! I have 2 young kids that have flat feet and I was hoping these exercises can help them strength their arches since they play sports and easy get tired. I’m more of visual person, is it possible you can make some youtube videos with all these exercise step by step.


  59. Hi Mark, your site is amazing with so much of helpful information. Thanks a lot for sharing your knowledge. I have a flat feet. Could you please let me know if one needs to do all of the exercises everyday, I mean Release, Stretches and Strengthening exercises everyday or just release exercises for some days and then just do Stretches for somedays and then progress to Strengthening exercises?

    • Hey Shobha,

      It depends!

      If it is practical for you, try to do everything in the one day.

      If you are very tight – you might need to just focus on the releases and stretches for now.

      If there is no tightness, you could just to the strengthening.

      Generally speaking – 2 to 3 /week is a good place to be at.


  60. Hey Mark,

    Thank you for a fantastic article. With gyms currently being closed I’ve started individual running sessions that are parkour oriented.

    I currently have a flat left foot and over arched right foot. My balance is impeccable on my right foot and adequate on my left. I intend to utilize your foot excersizes and include them into my daily fitness journal.

    What would be a good way to measure my progress?

    • Hey Brent,

      Thanks for the comment.

      To answer your question: If you have good awareness of the quality of balance in your left foot, you can use this to measure your progress by seeing improvements in your single leg standing balance exercises.

      Also – if you have one flat foot and one arched foot, double check to see if you have a pelvis rotation that might be causing this.

      All the best.


  61. Read your blog very carefully and found some very important tips. As I am facing knee valgus problem Can you tell me more about knee valgus topic?

  62. Hello Mark, once again thank you for the wonderful article!
    If one was very short on time, what activities should they prioritize? For example, 1. Strengthening 2. Stretches

    • Hey Daniel,

      In a very simplistic view:

      If you are very tight: Focus on stretches.

      If you are not tight , but unable to attain/main the arch, focus on strengthening exercises.


  63. Hi Mark,

    How do I know what is causing what in order to work on that first? I have had a micro discectomy L5-S1 many years ago and have really bad pelvic instability, but also thoracic and neck pain, rounded shoulders, forward head posture and plantar fasciitis. I’ve been going to physio for 10 years which helps for a limited time. Should I do all the exercises for those areas or prioritize certain ones first? Thanks you in advance!

    • Hey Stacey,

      You can address all of them at the same time, but this really depends on how much time you have.

      Ideally – you would want to focus on the area which would probably help address a majority of the other areas as well.

      Your next question is likely going to be how do you figure that out?

      My advice would be just to start with 1 area, do the exercises to get that said area as good as it can be, monitor the affects (if any) on the other areas you mentioned, then address another area.


  64. Hi Mark, I have a buddy on my softball team who is experiencing a problem with one of his feet….when he is standing straight up and feet together…. he cannot on his left foot I believe, raise any of his toes, nothing at all…I was wondering what you would think is going on, thanking you for a reply, Rich

  65. Dear Mark,

    I experience a forward head, rounded shoulder, sway back and flat feet.

    In my case, kindly please advise which posture’s exercises I should do first?
    and If I should do them all, what should be the the good plan to divide my exercises’ time between them to make the good fit of combination exercises.

    • Hey Eisa,

      You can start on any region. Do the exercises for that particular area, give it some time, see how the body responds, and react accordingly.

      Generally speaking – I would tell people to address the area where they have their symptoms.

      Sometimes this may completely eliminate all of the issues. Other times you might be better addressing other areas as well.


  66. Thank you very much, I loved your article and it helped me to fight my cramps and I agreed with my back and back pain exercises and the way of life has changed me.

  67. Hi mark I read your page about flat feet a few weeks ago and have been doing the exercises. I have noticed a dull/ache on the medial side of my upper tibia, it also feels like my vastius medialis is kind of pulling into that side of my kneecap there is a dull sensation all around this area especially when walking. Also dull sensation at the front of my kneecap.

    Thankyou ❤

    • Hi Jimmy,

      If you are performing the Short Foot exercise, it is possible to get a strain on the inside of the tibia (this is where the tibialis posterior muscle is located).

      If this ache is lasting for more than 48 hours, Consider reducing the intensity of the short foot exercise.

      As you correct your flat foot, there will be a shift in loading from the vastus lateralis and into the vastus medialis muscle. This is normal.


      • When doing the shortfoot should the I be activating this with just muscles inside my feet?

        When I do shortfoot I get activation at the bottom of my hamstring and I can feel the tibialis anterior activate and can see the tendon on my ankle lift as well. Should I try and isolate certain muscles? And is the other areas I want to try and activate when doing shortfoot

        I’ve had a break for a couple of days from shortfoot whilst walking and still have a dull ache in the side of my knee

        Thankyou so much for taking your time to reply to me ?

      • Hey Jimmy,

        You want to get the muscles in the feet to activate.

        If you are getting hamstring involvement, you are likely trying to drag/slide your foot back on the floor.

        You can try doing Short foot activation whilst sitting in a chair if you are having problems with it.


  68. Hey mark,

    So I’ve been doing exercises to fix my apt and I’ve seen some progress but not where I’d want it to be. I was wondering if my flat feet were causing my apt and also if I do these exercises should it fix the pronation in my foot?

    • Hey Musaab,

      Feet can affect the pelvis, and the pelvis can affect the feet.

      If you feel you have done everything possible regarding the pelvis, move onto the next possible area.


  69. Fantastic write-up! I have been having knee pain for a long time and I`ve been working on other structural issues at home, but I had an evaluation with a PT and they said I have collapsed arches. I was looking for a thorough guide to how to strength the arches and feet and came across this page. Thank you so much for taking the time to put all this together. Going to get going on my short foot exercises ASAP.

  70. Hi Mark,

    I went to a chiropractor and i did a test which scans my foot to test if I have flat feet. I didn’t know that the fit has 3 arches. The scan show that my medical arch was okay but my lateral and transfer arch aren’t there, so I do have flat feet? Most of my weight is on my right lateral arch. I have a whole bunch of issues with my body that i don’t wanna get into but will these exercises help with the lateral and transverse arch or just the medial?

    • Hey Isamar,

      I specifically refer to the medial arch in the blog post, but the exercises will help the transverse and lateral arches too.

      If you have a medial arch, it might just be a matter of getting more weight through towards the medial arch.


      • Thanks for responding mark,

        One more question, right now I’m flat footed and walk a little funny. As I help build an arch will my walk improve over time as well?

    • Hi Jill,

      It will be hard to give specific instructions based on that, but the general advice would be to keep the feet/ankles/toes as strong as possible.

      The exercises mentioned in this blog post are a good place to start.

      In regards to swelling, you will need to find out exactly what has caused the swelling (ie. is something injured? Circulation issues? Diabetes? Heart problems etc)


    • Hey Karen,

      The strength of the band should be relative to your foot strength.

      Try a weaker band to begin with and see how that goes.

      Progress to harder bands as appropriate.

      Good luck!


  71. Hi Mark, I wish I had found your site sooner. Thank you for the info.

    I sadly did not wear supportive shoes when I was pregnant (flats and barefeet) and have suffered collapsed arches. (Pain began in third trimestester August 2018) There is still a visible arch when I flex my feet, and when I stand and leave the wet imprint, there is still some crescent. But I noticed to my dismay today while barefoot that my feet are pronating towards the fallen arch, so inwards, the left slightly moreso than the right. The podiatrist gave me custom orthotics back in May 2019 and I have worn them as recommended (all day). I see from your info that just has weakened my muscles. I plan to do your recommended exercises. And I start physical therapy tomorrow. So, I think my arches are collapsing from the hormone relaxin (from pregnancy and breastfeeding), but they have worsened likely due to wearing orthotics and not doing exercises, and now there is tendonitis, this pain that shoots up the outside and inside ankles. I think relaxin stretches ligaments. And there is pain in my left knee – Is there any hope for the pain to improve, and arches to restore to health with weaning baby (I am 13 months post partum). I read in one of your comments that muscles can improve, but it is unlikely for ligaments? I think I have muscle, ligament and tendon issues here…I don’t know my exact diagnosis. I am going to see an orthopedic foot and ankle doctor for another opinion, along with the PT. Thanks for any feedback, and for all your work.

  72. Hi, Mark..great site and immense of knowledge you possess. My kid 3 year old still have pes plano vagus foot and slight knock nee and anterior pelvic tilt. He was borne 34th week and all milestones achieved with a delayof 6 months. He started walking independently at 18th month, 1.5 years old. He is very active.
    1. While toeraising valgus foot disappears and while standing pronated condition. Because of this his gait somewhat clumsy and bending the knee slightly while walking i think this bending making valgus more visible
    2. Orthotics inserts in the shoe making him unconfortable and less active.
    3. No pain in both the foot
    4.our physiotherapist and orthopaedic doctor told us that
    By the age 8 his legs comes in the natural pisition both femur and tibia. So flat toot goes away automatically…is it so??
    5.he does foot , hip strengthening excercises last 2 years.
    Doctor said its flexible pes plano valgus foot.

    Anything to worry at this stage and somebody told situation may worse next one year then gradually improves certain degrees. Is that correct?

  73. Hi Mark,

    You mentioned above I should take a look at other issues I have that may be causing my flat feet.
    I have anterior pelvic tilt, lateral pelvic rotation and flat feet, and uneven shoulders, scapula winging, text neck just a whole lot of issues, but I am not sure where to start with my exercises or I cannot determine which is the first or main reason for my issues. I had a car accident in the past and my job entails a lot of sitting for prolonged hours.
    My posture is horrible at the moment but I am not sure where to focus the feet first, up down or down up or the main big pelvic issues? Can you maybe guide me where I should start with my exercises??
    Also another question: When I am sitting I get this nerve pinching pain that shoots up between my shoulder blades up to my neck. My arms keep getting loose from my shoulder socket and my scapular keeps snapping out of place and I need to like crack it back into place should I say? Do you have any idea what is the cause of this?

  74. Hello mark!
    Sorry for this,I’m again asking you,that if I ask you how much time it will take,so please don’t reply like”it depends upon you”.If do exercises for 4 days a week,and I will continue it for 6-8 months then tell me can I see very very minor changes in my foot?
    I’m not saying that I want result quickly,just try to find that it is really curable or not?

    • Hi Pravin,

      Generally speaking – If there are absolutely no other factors contributing to your flat feet, you should see good improvements after 3 months.

      But having said that, I have not assessed you personally so it is hard to say.


      • Hi mark!
        I have reposted this message because this site didn’t show my message before, I thought wait for sometime but it’s still not showing.
        So I want to ask you some questions, please reply
        1) whenever i see my foot prints of my both feet on paper after doing it wet it shows a normal curve like a normal foot then it seems like over pronated while standing?
        2) my both knees are knocked very little,are they because of feet over pronation?
        3)then what should I do?means should I treat knocked knees first or go for flat feet or treat both at same time?
        4)I have seen that foot adduction hell raises activates tibialis posterior than any other exercises,is that correct?
        5)my right foot is very less flat footed than my left foot,why I can’t turn my left foot inwards as compared to my right foot?is this because of flat foot also?
        6)while doing this exercises should I need to wear arch supported shoes? because I have seen on many sites that doing exercises with arch supported shoes impacts more
        7)if I do this exercise regularly then tell me how much time it will take? seriously I just want to get rid off it because it’s damaging my whole structure.
        8)finally I want to ask you that this problem is really curable or not?many sites tell that it’s not curable,as a physiotherapist this problem of how many patients you have corrected? please don’t mind,I just trying to relax my mind

      • Hey Pravin,

        1) You probably don’t have completely fallen arches then. But it is still possible to have a degree of pronation in standing.

        2) Yes – this could be a factor.

        3) If the position of your feet are driving your knees to the knocked knee position, then fixing the flat feet will fix the knees. If this is the case, focus on the feet and see how the body responds.

        4) That exercise will help with the tibialis posterior. Any exercise which helps with controlling the arch will activate tib post.

        5) Difference in foot position may reflect a rotation at the pelvis. Do you have a rotated pelvis?

        6) I am not a big fan of arch supports in the long term. They can help reduce symptoms in the short term.

        7) Hard to say. (many factors influencing this)

        8) If your flat feet is not structural in origin, then it is of my opinion that they can be improved. If it is structural, then it is unlikely that you can make significant changes. (from what I’ve seen anyway)

      • Hello mark!
        1)I have slight knee valgus due to my flexible flat feet,I am saying it because whenever I see my foot print on plane paper by doing my foot wet,it always shows a curve like normal foot.
        2)so I want to ask you,what should I do first?
        3)also while doing these exercises should I wear arch supported shoes?
        4) please don’t mind mark,but is these problem really curable?,because I have researched a lot about this problem on different sites,many of them says it is not curable.

  75. Hi Mark,

    Thanks very much for the informative article. I was recently diagnosed with Stage II posterior tibial tendonitis, although my doctor said that I still have fairly good arches. Would these exercises help to reverse flattening in cases of ptt? I have also seen recommendations that individuals with ptt should incorporate ankle exercises with a Theraband (i.e. inversion, eversion and dorsiflextion) to strengthen the relevant muscles. Would you concur with those suggestions?


  76. Any advice for a toddler who is getting bowed ankles from flat feet? I could do the taping but teaching him the exercises will be difficult. He also has an ab split from the naval all the way up. Should that be worked on first? Thanks

  77. Hello Mark!

    I am a personal trainer and many of my clients have flat foot, as do I myself! So this has become a growing area of research and interest for me.

    I have been following yourself, and also Dr Emily Splichal. Your approaches to short foot seem a little different, as per her video here:

    This has left me slightly confused about how to perform short foot correctly myself, and for my clients. I’m just wondering if you could clarify the differences in approaches? And also the role of the breath in these exercises, as she mentioned.

    Can I just also say I adore your website, what an incredible font of knowledge, thanks for all you are doing!!

    • Hey Roz,

      Had a quick look at the video.

      You want to maintain an even foot tripod throughout whilst doing the short foot.

      This means you do not want to let the base of the big toe lift off the ground. You shouldn’t be exactly forcing the base of the big toe down either (it should be the same pressure you are applying to keep the base of the pinky toe on the floor).

      It is still very important to engage the long toe flexors as she has mentioned. I tend to do this with the alternating toe lift exercise and practising “toe off” exercise.


  78. Hi Mark, When you say structural flat feet cannot be fixed by conservative means what do you mean? that the exercises will not be sufficient?

    • Hey Vicki,

      This means the exercises are not likely to make a significant difference in the shape of your arches.

      Having said that – the main aim then will still be to strengthen the foot muscles regardless.


      • Thanks Mark, I was wondering if / when you ever suggest surgery. I have definitely found doing the exercises has improved and I think avoided things getting worse. Will keep at it!

      • Hey Vicki,

        I haven’t recommended anyone to get surgery for the their flat feet before. (My fear is that a whole lot can go wrong during surgery, and if anything, symptoms could get worse potentially)

        If your foot is strong and adaptable, you will definitely not require surgery.


  79. Hey mark..i think i have both slight of knee valgus and flexible flat feet..what should i do to cure it both?i want my knees to be straight and make an arch in my feet..hope you will reply!

    • First of all idk if this is a response to Iftesam (if so I apologize, as this is a post of my own) but I couldn’t find an area to create my own question. But maek if you see this, my question to you is you say structurally (genetic) flat feet cant create an arch. Well mine is structural as I inherited it from my mother and with the tennis ball roll under my foot (which was mentioned on another site) has already helped create a partial arch. Prior to that my left foot was flat as hell completely with no arch whatsoever. So although all your other information was great and informative, I definetely disagree with you there. And if you fire back with a response like (well its scientifically proven) no offense, but idc because not bvb everything in science is correct and I’m living proof of that as ice already started to create an arch

  80. I have a right hip hike and flat feet. Should I focus on fixing one first before I attempt to fix the other? Or can I work on both simultaneously?


  81. What a great resource! Thank you so much for doing this.

    I have three issues: slightly flared ribs (more on the left side), anterior pelvic tilt and one pronated ankle (left side again) with a flattish foot.

    Which should I tackle first?

    (Also, my right hip is a bit higher than my left hip, but I didn’t see a plan for that.)

    • Hello Seth,

      You can start in any area.

      Some areas influences other areas so ideally it is best to start at these locations. However – you won’t really know the effect of correcting one area until you start doing the exercises.

      If you have a right hip hike, check out this post: How to fix a Lateral pelvic tilt.

      It also sounds like you have a rotated pelvis. Feel free to check out this post: Rotated pelvis exercises.


  82. This is very useful page to learn from. I really want to fix my feet issue independently but can you add extra pictures for better illustration? Because I do not understand written instructions well.

  83. My 6 year old son has flat feet when standing but not when lying down and my 3 year old daughter is legged. Can they be fixed without surgery?

  84. Hai Mark ,Thanks for such a detailed article.You made me understand how the whole process is and your explanation of how your strategy works makes real sense. For about 5 years ,I had knee and lower leg pain after standing long at work. I used over the counter orthotics initially,which gave me relief for some time. Last year I developed hip ,both leg and backpain which worsens by walking. My leg pain was worse on right outer thigh. I was told that I have right feet over pronation,left pelvic rotation, anterior pelvic tilt. I was also told that I am high arched by birth and I still have very low arch in both feet.I also think I have rotated shoulders. I started using custom orthotics,which gave me a lot of relief as long as I use it with New balance 928. I tried other shoes , it wouldn’t work with orthotics. With my history do you think pronation is the root cause?What would you suggest to adress first? Do you think certain sleeping position can help? I have read about the benefits of sleeping on hard floor,which might help to realign your body. What’s your thoughts on that?

  85. Mark, thanks for the article. My 10 yr old daughter has been diagnosed with over pronation in the right ankle. That led to a chiropractor telling us she has flat feet. (0% arch on right and 10% on left) and short ligaments in her right ankle. He also found that her hips are misaligned by about a 1/4 inch. She may also have an issue with her Achilles heel because she has been a tip toeer since she learnt to walk.
    He has recommended we use over the counter arch support insoles to ease her discomfort and has asked her to do exercises nightly (standing on her toes, her heels, outside foot, inside foot). Her GP told us that she must wear the insoles at all times including in the house rather than being barefoot.
    Your article suggests the more you rely on insoles the less strength we will have in our feet. She is 10, if I can help her correct the problem rather than just making her comfortable, I would rather do that. In your opinion, how much time should she be barefoot vs in insoles to allow the muscles to strengthen properly?

    • Hi Concerned Mom,

      If you need to use insoles to get some of her pain under control, it is fine to use the orthotics.

      But it is important that she strengthens her foot in conjunction to wearing the insoles. (as to prevent dependence)

      In terms of using the orthotics, my advice would be to use it as much as it provides benefit, but gradually wean off as tolerated. The time in barefoot vs orthotics really depends how she responds to the inserts.


  86. Hi Mark, thank you for the comprehensive article. My question is how effective these exercises are?

    I was told by podiatrist that once leganenths in the foot over stretched and arch flattened there is not much I can do to correct it and best way is to get orthotics.

    Does these exercises help to strengthen and shorten ligaments?

    Thank you

    • Hey Anna,

      Muscles: Yes

      Ligaments: Unlikely.

      You can rely on your muscles to support your arch in the long term.

      Orthotics are fine. Just make sure that they aren’t your ONLY form of treatment for your feet.


  87. Hi Mark,

    First of all, thank you so much for all your work on this site, it has helped me a lot.
    I was born with my right foot in a weird position, which has always been fine, but I’m starting to suffer from some negative effects. The outer side of my foot is very flat and has extremely limited dorsiflexion, while the inner side has such a high arch and permanent dorsiflexion, that no point between my heel and big toe can touch the ground. On top of that, the foot is rotated outward, this all causes my knees to cave in when squatting or cycling. My phisical therapist has also told me I have a right hips hitch, a left rotated pelvis and minor lumbar scoliosis, which I suspect me be some cosequence of this as well. I’m already trying to work on all of these issues by the exercise provided by this website, so again, thank you very much.

    Would you have any recommendations on how to try and fix this problem?

    Best wishes

    • Hi Ruben,

      If you have been born with a structural foot issue, it is unlikely to change with exercises.

      However – since you had no problems previously, this makes me believe that there may be other factors that might be influencing you to have some issues.

      What activity are you having difficulty with exactly?


      • Yes I was born with flat feet I have back and hip problem and pains in my leg and I’m just 32 years old help.

  88. Hello i have a question.. My left foot has high arch and my right foot is normal when i stand but when i run my right is pronated a little. Which leg must work to increace the balance?
    How should i work? Im confused


  89. Thank you so much for this! I have APT , a rotated pelvis as well as flat feet and overpronation. Should I work on APT first or work on both at same time? Thank you!

    • Hey Krystal,

      If you can rotate your pelvis and it helps correct your flat feet automatically, then you should focus on the APT.

      Conversely – if correction of flat feet help with the apt, then focus on APT.

      If they are independent of each other, focus on both!

      If you are short on time, focus on one area first and move on to the next when you feel you have reached as far as you can with the exercises.

      Good luck@!


  90. Hello Mark,
    First of all, thank you for your beautiful website and this article.
    I am both a yogi and a runner, but I quitted running few months ago after seeing my feet arches collapse more and more and more. I am also known for an anterior pelvic tilt AND a valgus knee. When I run, my feet go on the outside, like a duck. Since I don’t really know what is the first problem between feet, pelvis and knees, I stopped running and started working on my pelvis. The posture improved, but the knee valgus and the flat feet still are a problem. Would you suggest to attack the three areas altogether ?
    Otherwise, i am also a general practitioner physician with a little focus on rheumatology and very interested with posture since so many patients have complaints due to posture. I send them often to physical therapists.
    Would you be kind enough to maybe send me some references of books for my own culture and education (and maybe understand it better) ? Do you know the muscular chain from de Busquet ?
    Best greetings from Switzerland.
    Thank you again for your amazing work in this website and for your interest in teaching !
    Lucie B.

    • Hi Lucie B,

      You can attack all 3, or focus on one at a time and see if it affects the other structures.

      I’m not familiar with the muscular chain from de Busquet.

      However- I just had a quick google search.

      It reminds me of
      – Anatomy trains by Tom Myers and
      – Fascial release for structural balance by James Earl/Tom Myers.

      A lot of my manual treatment is strongly influenced by the works of these 2 fellows.


    • Hey Jeeva,

      I wouldn’t be too concerned at that age.

      As long as she can move and there’s no pain, all should be fine!

      With postural issues at this age, most will tend to grow out of it automatically.


      • Hi Mark, I have kissing spine as well as knock knees Flat feet, bunions, one leg longer than the other, frozen shoulders pain in my neck, as well as in both of my thumbs pretty messed up!
        Where and with do I begin? Does age matter? Greetings from Germany!

      • Hey Patty from Germany,

        When there are multiple issues, I would just pick one area and start.

        Get the most out of the respective exercises, then move onto the next.

        Age is definitely a factor in these postural issues. But keep in mind, it is never too late to start exercises!

  91. Hi Mark,

    After doing the quick assessment for my calf, My ankle makes a noise when i plantar flex it. Is this normal?

    Thank you,

      • Hi Mark

        Could you explain what you mean by staggered position in how you activate short foot during walking?
        Thanks a lot


      • Hey Justine,

        Staggered stance just refers to the position where one leg is in front of the other.

        With the stepping exercises, you want to activate your short foot (see instructions in post) as you shift your body weight onto the leading leg.

        As the other foot hits the ground, you want to push off the tip of the big toe.


  92. Hello. I have the problem of big toe bunion and flat foot as well. Can I still continue with the exercises that you suggested, considering the fact that bunions are causing flat foot. Or do I need to fix the bunions first?

  93. Great article! You covered each and every aspect of flat feet. Amazing and very useful information shared by you. I like to read your article. It is very helpful. Thanks for sharing.

  94. I was diagnosed with fallen arches last night by my doctor. For the past two weeks my right foot was hurting when I walked. He recommended one Advil a day for the inflammation and orthotics. It is a gift from God that this morning I found your article. I will do these exercises. Thank you.

  95. Hi mark,

    I found out that I have ankle instability, so both my ankles gave out on me. One more than the other. It was a sharp pain in the front of my lifer foot, a week ago today. I had no swelling in either foot. I didn’t know what happened for a about 4 days but I knew to not walk on them, (just minimal walks to the bathroom kitchen etc.) it was tolerable to walk on them, I just had to cripple my walking a lot. I went to Apple pressure back on my most injured foot and felt a sharp pain in the ankle (from 1-10 about a 5) so I got a further opinion and found out it was ankle instability. I’m an flat footed as well, was born with it. Now I’m walk about 40% back how I use too walk. I can bear weight on both my feet but not all. I mainly put pressure on my heels but I am slowly taking steps and apply very minimal pressure to the front of my feet when I walk. I’m doing better and doing some excersises. (Toe curls, alphabet, rocking my need back and forth with my foot planted firmly) The only excersises I have been doing is the range-of-motion and I did a foot massage. My right foot still has pain when I do the alphabet exercise so I don’t know if I should continue that on that foot. (1-10 about a 3) still hurt when I get up to walk on it in the front of my foot (1-10 about 4) but if I walk for a while starts to fade. I’m just not sure how long do I do the range-of-motion excerises before I start moving towards strengthen and stretching them. In suggestions.

  96. Hello!
    Your web-site is great!!! Every article is so perfectly structured, so informative and clear! But one thing I would like to clarify. Hope it won’t take you much time to answer. It’s all about my elder daughter. She’s 10. She’s got bad posture and flat feet (one foot is actually worse (left), the right foot is good). She’s very active, loves running, goes in for athletics. You wrote in your article, that special Flat feet brace can be used (we are doing the exercises, but I thought of a brace for athletics trainings). Must there be a special “pad” in this brace or just like a bandage?

    • Hello Olya,

      You can try taping over the arch to see if that helps.

      Otherwise – you can also get a brace that wraps around the middle of the foot. It just helps keep the arch lifted.


      • Hi Mark, hope you are doing great. Your article is great. Thank you for sharing such a good information.
        My daughter is now 2 years old, she is very active no complains of pain or anything as such. A couple of days back a lady pinpointed me that she has flat feet while standing. Since that day I’m worried but I don’t find her behind any milestones or any pain. After reading your article I noticed that she develops a clear arch while lying, lifting feet off the ground and sitting as well. So should I be worried? As when I was reading on google it said that children develop arch at age of six.
        Note: my husband has a kind of flat feet, he is an athlete without any complications.
        Pls reply. I’m really worried to know that should I really worry about my daughter or it’s fine?

      • Hi Madiha,

        I would not worry about it too much.

        She is only 2 years old and probably has not developed the strength in her feet yet.

        Encourage barefoot walking as much as possible in different terrains. This will automatically make her feet stronger.


  97. Hi Mark,

    Great article! Certainly the best i’ve seen. I really appreciate your depth and clarity of explanation, plus illustrations. I have shared this with many others. I understand the importance of good feet and have been working to improve my arches which have progressively collapsed over time. As I try multiple arch strengthening activities using the short foot stance, the muscle on the inner side of my foot is used the most – I feel like this comes at the expense of strengthening the intrinsic arch muscles below my feet. The result of my exercise has been a big bulk of muscle on the inner side of my foot and no noticeable improvement in my arches.

    In your knowledge, is this common? Is this just a side product of strengthening my arches, or am I targeting the wrong muscle? If the later is so, could you recommend some alternative exercises or possible correction to strengthen my arches? I would really appreciate your thoughts.


    • Hi Philip,

      Thanks for the comment.

      I’m not exactly sure which inner side muscle you are referring to.

      If it is, this means you are pressing the outside of your big toe onto the floor. The aim with short foot is to push the middle of the toe pad into the ground.

      Do you happen to have big toe valgus? This might make you more predisposed to using this muscle more so.


      • Hi Mark,

        Thank you for your prompt response! Yes, that is the muscle I am talking about. I do not have big toe valgus – my left foot’s arch is in better shape and does not experience the same problem. I guess the solution would be to activate muscles to force the middle of my big toe pad into the ground as you mentioned. One additional inquiry: will these exercises help with pronation and improve the “springiness” of my feet? I have developed stronger calves and leg muscles to counter the increasing weakness in my feet, and although I am a competitive soccer player, i’m trying to develop a slimmer leg profile.
        Thanks so much for sharing your time and expertise, I really appreciate it.

        Have a good one,

      • As you gain more control of your foot in various positions, it will make your more “springy” in your feet.

        I would also add that you should work on the achilles tendon to make you even more springier. I recommend eccentric training for this!


  98. Hello Mark,
    thank you so much for the set of very comprehensive exercises. I broke my ankle 11 years ago, slipping on black ice, got a gait analysis and know my feet are flat and totally unbalanced. I have since worn orthotics since I overpronate and also have a weak muscle running down the inside of the left ankle attached to the Achilles’ tendon. All my life I’ve gone over on my ankles and my posture hasn’t been great but in recent years it’s a bit better with Pilates. In the last few weeks I’ve developed shin splits and hip pain and sometimes the knee is affected too, all on the right leg which is not the side I broke my ankle on. I’m now in my 60’s and have developed bunions with the one on the right really developing. With massage and taking it easy the pain settled fairly wel, particularly in the hip, but I triggered the pain again by walking up a steep hill or two. This time I really felt the pain a little on the right side of the top of the foot, up the shin and side of my right leg and deep into the buttock and possibly into my back. It seems to be all connected. Any advice gratefully received.

    • Hey Nuala,

      It is possible that you are now placing more pressure on your right side (perhaps to subconsciously protect the left side).

      This may explain your symptoms that you have.

      The gait analysis should be able to see if you are placing more on the right side.

      If you have continuous pain all down the leg, it may also be coming from the lower back? Any scans here?


  99. Just come across your articles, and they’re all absolutely fantastic. I have pretty much everything you’ve described above, pelvic tilt, rotated pelvis, femurs and tibia internally rotated (knees face inwards – although they don’t touch). After analysing how I walk, it seems though as I take steps forward, my feet move inward to the floor quite noticeably, BUT I don’t physically have ‘flat feet’ – in fact quite a noticeable arch. Should I still do the above exercises? Or should I be tackling other areas first/in what order? thanks!

    • Hey Nabs,

      You can still have a pronating foot with a normal starting arch.

      In this situation, you would focus on the strengthening exercises in this blog post.


  100. Hello Mark,

    When I am doing the short foot exercise, I am feeling my peroneals getting activated, is that normal? If not, how can I change it ?

    • Hi Samer,

      Although they are not the primary mover in the short foot, it is fine for your peroneals to activate.

      This is just to help stabilise your foot in the weight bear position.

      (Just make sure that your foot is not rolling in as you are doing the exercise as this will mean the peroneals are taking over)


  101. Hi Mark I started with neck pain then severe back pain now is knee pain and left side hip popping out. Reading your post I know is related to my flat feet where do you recommend I start?

    • Hey there Ruben,

      If everything is related to your flat feet, then this is the area where I would start.

      As you improve your feet, you then can venture out and try to address any remaining issues.


  102. Mark,

    I am a surgeon and just now seeing this article and wished I had seen it sooner. As you can tell from all the replies many people suffer from this and you’ve done a very great comprehensive evaluation of the topic.

    I have medial displacement of my ankle joint which makes wearing Loafers difficult because of the lack of ankle support. I will bookmark this article and continue these exercises. Hope to come back in a few months with a positive report.

  103. Hey Mark,
    I have just started your exercises after using orthotics for a year and before then just suffering with flexible flat feet.
    My feet rotate inwards and people tell me it’s very obvious when they walk behind me.
    This has led to knee trouble but something else.

    I’ve given up mountain hiking because of two complaints; the first is a major one which is no matter what hiking boots I wear after hiking uphill for about an hour its like my feet are in a vice, being squeezed from the sides, I also feel it on the top of my foot too. This is not rubbing and when at rest the boots are perfectly comfortable, in fact they’re great. Some boots are worse than others some kick in after 15 mins.
    Can you explain where this type of pain might be coming from? I never feel it in regular trainers walking long distance.

    Also I get a pain in my groin; it’s like the muscles that runs over the thigh and down into the groin always starts aching after about two hours making me give up the hill as raising my knee is painful, the following day it has always gone.
    Would love to hear your thoughts regarding this!

    • Hi David,

      1. If your foot is quite flexible and flat, it is likely that your foot arch is collapsing (+/- ankle everting) in the hiking boots. This might suggest that the boots aren’t supporting your foot as much as the trainers.

      I would still encourage you to strengthen the foot muscles to help build the resilience of the structures.

      2. Without assessing your movement, my first guess would be that your hip flexor or the more anterior groin muscle might be over working to lift your knee up (esp up a hill)

      You will need to find out why those particular muscles aren’t working efficiently. It could be related to pelvis position, weakness in hip flexors, poor core activation etc.


  104. Dear Mark!

    My girlfriend (43) has what I understand to be “structural flat feet”. It runs in her family and she has never had an arch in her foot. I conclude from your description that her flat feet are of the “structural kind”, because her feet also have no arch when sitting or laying down, neither when I massage her feet.
    I seek your advice in order to help her, because her feet hurt after longer walking, or after a day of her work, which requires her to stand essentially during the entire day.

    Your article above seems to address primarily functional flat feet (or actually rather exclusively, right?). Do you have advice for structural flat feet, too?

    Is my layman’s perception right, that for structural flat feet orthotics are a good choice?
    I understand well that orthotics take away the work that the foot muscles are supposed to do, and therefore orthotics can essentially weaken the foot muscles by depriving them of “training”. However, would orthotics be the right choice for structural flat feet?
    (Supplemented with your suggested muscle-strengthening exercises…?)

    How important is it to get custom-made orthotics, or could we just as well experiment with standard, non-custom-made orthotics/insoles, in order to check whether this leads to improvement?
    In your answer on the question about custom-made or “standard” orthotics/insoles, could you please address the situation that my girlfriend has rather long (size 10) feet, which are very narrow?

    Finally, in case you encourage to first try the effects of standard (non-custom) orthotics/insoles:
    Where would you turn to, to get some?
    Would you be able to offer some selection criteria?
    (I.e. “the higher the arch support the better”, …or possibly exactly the opposite in order to gradually make the feet adjust to an arch?)

    Thank you very much in advance for your response!

  105. Man i can’t believe I’m just finding this. I’ve been flat for since I can remember. Eventually led to me getting a bunionectamy on both feet. That’s when my issues really started. I can’t seem to get through the short foot and alternating toe exercises without cramping. Well that go away with time? When i do the short foot exercise, it cramps behind the balls of my feet behind my middle tire down to the point toe. When i do the alternating toe exercise, it cramps in the arch section of my foot. That feels/seems backwards to me. I know i need to improve me ankle flexibility as well

    • Hey Chris,

      When doing the short foot, Cramping is a sign that the muscle is trying to do a movement that it is not used to.

      This will get better with practice!

      You will need to reduce the amount of force in the contraction to a level you can comfortably handle.

      Best of luck!


  106. Hello! I have completely flat feet but can kind of form my foot into an arch if I really try, when seated. However if I leave my feet hanging or just lay down and look they are still flat even whilst seated etc like you said. Also, the ball of my feet (below the big toes) is very very flat, there’s no roundness under there and when I walk it almost kind of goes upward as my big toes touch the floor.
    All my life I have tilted my feet outward a bit on purpose to align my tendon at the heel area, otherwise they probate inward a bit. This has become my natural gait, to purposefully straighten out my feet a bit.
    I have never had any pain in my feet whatsoever due to the flatness but I am concerned that I may later on. I am 43 now. I have heard of those with no foot pads having pain. I have very little padding and never did even as a teenager. I am a woman oexican and Italian descent. I am a bit overweight but not way obese or way large and the issue is mainly due to medication for asthma, not diet, as Zim vegetarian. I’m very short also at five foot tall. I don’t know if any of this info helps to get advice? As you seem to think my case is a structural type? My feet have been flat since birth. (I know all toddlers have flat chubby like feet) but I mean from young childhood once your supposed to get arches I did not. I cannot wear high heels at all. I also have extremely thin feet at the area behind my ankles. Like literally an inch or less pinched. Do you think I can remain pain free? Will my feet start messing up once I’m say 50? All orthotics hurt me terribly and push the ball of my feet off the floor. Should I try some exercises or anything to prevent issues in spite of my flat feet being permanent maybe? They are flexible flat feet though, not rigid. All of my tendons are excessively flexible in fact. Any advice? I don’t want future pain and feel I’ve gotten lucky so far! Thank you!

    • Hello!

      If you can form an arch in your foot and the alignment of your joints in your foot can actually change, then it is unlikely that you have structural flat feet. (great news!)

      It could be just a case of very weak/inhibited muscles of the feet which don’t naturally form arches. (esp if you are hyper mobile)

      Even though you are pain free, Feet will always benefit from being stronger so I would encourage you to still try to strengthen your feet with the exercises mentioned in the post.


  107. Hello Mark,
    My dad has been suffering from knee pain for years now. Could him having flat feet be the cause? Also, he loves cycling outdoor and jogging. Therefore, do you think that would make his feet flater? Thank you very much.

    • Hi Salma,

      Flat feet may have eventually lead to your Dad’s knee issues as it will effect how the knees moves as he goes jogging.

      His cycling and running technique would also play a part.


  108. Hello. I have flat feet from childhood and it never bothered me much, until now when I was also diagnosed with spondylosis, sacroiliitis and hip subluxation. I am also pretty sure I have a disc herniation in my lower back. The doctor prescribed some NSAIDs and orthotics to improve the condition, however it did not help much, just reduced the pain. Besides that, I also have anterior pelvic tilt and inwardly rotated knees. After reading about the issue, I started doing specific exercises for my anterior pelvic tilt since last month at least few days a week and it slightly improved my posture and stress. I also learned how to induce the arch on my feet when sitting, so I believe it can be corrected permanently. However, I am sure that flat feet and anterior pelvic tilt are interrelated so which exercises should I do first? What about the inward knees, is there something that can be done about that? Also recently I started to integrate neutral pelvic tilt in my routine, but when I try to just stand with neutral or slightly posterior tilt, my gluteal muscles which are big in size constrict and cramp, preventing the pelvis to straighten. Is there any specific exercise to somehow decrease the size of gluteal muscles or what can be done to stay in the neutral pelvis position when walking? I have already stretched my hip flexors and strengthened the abdominal muscles, so I think that the gluteal muscles are the culprit. Your advice on this issue would be great. Thanks

    • Hey Sanny,

      I would check to see if you have enough internal rotation in your hip joint.

      Google: “how to check hip internal rotation”

      If you lack this, it might be blocking your pelvis movement.


  109. Hi,
    My feet are completely flat there is no arch whatsoever, and my ankles have fallen inwards and my toes seem to point outwards.
    I get no pain from my flat feet but it effects how i walk and how shoes fit me and posture.
    Is there any solution to this?
    Would orthotics fix my ankle issues?
    Im wondering if an surgical operation may be needed.

  110. Hello. I have a flat feet from childhood but it is flexible since I can make an arch when sitting, but not standing. Besides that, I also have anterior pelvic tilt and inward knees which are strongly expressed. Because of my ignorance in my teen years, my lower back and hip joints started to wear and now I was diagnosed with spondylosis, hip subluxation and sacroiliitis. Also I got special orthotics which I wear daily and they definitely cut the pain in the lower back area when working. However, I really want to physically improve my condition. Starting from this month I am doing stretches for anterior pelvic tilt daily, such as hip flexor, glutes and rectus femuris. I can feel a slight improvement in posture when standing, however since my feet are flat I have to force my self to externally rotate the knees to avoid sharp pain in my lower back. So should I do the flat feet exercises first and after improving go to anterior pelvic tilt? By the way, during stretches I realized that when I try to sit on the ground with my legs stretched forward, I am forced to go into posterior pelvic tilt because otherwise I get strong cramps in the lower leg going through the buttocks and if I try to create an arch the cramp intensifies. So my sitting angle is about 130 degree or so. Does this relate to anterior pelvic tilt? What are your recommendations about my case? Should I continue wearing orthotics or train my feet to arch itself?

    • Hi Sanny,

      – I would address your anterior pelvic tilt as you have lower back pain.

      – Once you have achieved as much as you can, you can move onto the flat feet.

      – If your knees remain inward, it might be an idea to have a look at this post: Knee valgus

      – If you have to posterior pelvic tilt when sitting legs stretched forwards, you may have some tightness in your upper hamstring/glute area.


  111. Great post on flat feet. I pretty much have all the symptoms related to flat feet. I had surgery on my right fibula years ago. Ever since then I’ve had a flatter right foot and frequent back problems on my right side. I’ve been trying to focus on my foot function because i think that is the root of my back issues. The tissue around the fibula( peroneal muscles?) tends to swell often because of the surgery i had 6 months ago to finally remove the plate attached to my fibula. I figured that would help with regaining my arch. Could the swelling and stiffness around the peroneal muscles still be contributing to my arch collapsing?

    • Hi Roger,

      Tight peroneals following surgery can definitely pull your ankle and foot into pronation (flat feet).

      These exercises will be perfect for you!


  112. Hello,

    How can I tell if my overpronation is due to tight ankles or simply weak feet? I definitely have tight ankles, but I feel as if my feet could be weak too. I overpronate just standing.

  113. You’re a champ, thanks for this. Post-gym knee-swelling (after deadlifts and/or running) brought me here. I have flat feet and knee VARUS. Your “other areas to consider” section confirms my suspicion that this combo isn’t the norm, yes? Since my varus shins and flat feet seem to rotate in contrary directions:

    1) Will any common exercises to fix one make the other worse?
    2) Am I at future risk for ankle injuries or something? I say future because so far, so good.

    • Hey champ,

      Knee varus with flat feet can still occur.

      The exercises for flat feet will help you out however, they may make your varus more pronounced.

      Is your knee varus structural in nature?


      • I don’t think so, nobody in family seems to have it. Working theory that it came from martial arts, since a lot of the exercises I’ve seen recommended top fight varus strengthen the opposite of what I strengthened in tae kwon do (hip adductor and calf muscles in tkd).

  114. Hi Mark,

    * Is it possible to keep the athletic tape on while also wearing a night-splint (so that it does not have to be replaced every single day)?
    * Do you recommend keeping the foot taped while backpacking (obviously retaping after icing/recovery)?


    • Hi Brian,

      Yes and yes.

      It is fine to keep the tape on with a night splint.

      Taping up the foot may help support your arch whilst backpacking as well.

      Good luck!


  115. My 10 year old son with Autism has flat feet and duck walk with limited ankle dorsiflexion. His feet actually lean toward each other so that he walks on the inner edge of his foot. We’ve tried orthotics but they actually hurt his feet so badly that he couldn’t hardly walk at all, so we abandoned them. I took him to an ortho doc at our local children’s hospital who made fun of the way he talked then shrugged over his feet. So, I’m on my own, I think. I’m a little overwhelmed with the number of exercises here. Should I start with ankle dorsiflexion exercises first?

    • Hey Becky,

      If your son has severe limitations in ankle dorsiflexion, starting on this area might be a good idea.

      He might just be pronating his feet due to a lack of ankle mobility.

      Good luck!


      Ps. With kids, try to make the exercises in some sort of game :) Helps with compliance.

  116. Hi Mark!
    I am 14 and I have flat feet and anterior pelvic tilt. I was doing your exercises to fix ATP daily for about 20 days and I see no improvement. Do you think that flat feet is somehow preventing me from fixing my ATP? So should I start doing exercises to fix flat feet? And how long would it take to atleast see some improvements? So I would be sure if I am doing the exercises the right way. And is it OK to do the exercises before going to sleep?

    • Hi Kystof,

      Your flat feet may be locking in your anterior pelvic tilt. In this case – it may be more of a priority to focus on the flat feet.

      Another thing to consider is the time that you have had your anterior pelvic tilt versus the 20 days you have spend doing the exercises. It will likely take more time, patience and consistency.

      It is fine to do the exercises before you sleep.


  117. Hi Mark,
    My shin and thigh bones kind of twist inwards and I was wondering whether it is because of my feet and if I do the excersises above, will my legs go back to normal? If not what should I do?

  118. Hello Mark
    Read your article on how to fix flat feet
    I am a triathlete from India
    and my arch started to collapse I have started taking care of my foot muscles but there is issue with some muscle behind the knee which is really giving me a tough time
    I have discussed this issue with my physiotherapist and according to him that muscle is in pain due to my flat feet. I really can’t see any improvements. When I give running a rest the pain comes down but as soon as I put load it the pain pops out again.

  119. Hi Mark
    I don’t feel any kind of pain arising mainly due to flatfeet and i’m also a pretty good sprinters,footballer and swimmer.Iam trying to cure my flatfeet as there’s no selection in defense forces (and I want to join). I am doing some exercises for sometime and I think I’ve developed a little arch(as observed from the footprint in water test) but the pronation exists. So can u tell me how long it will take for me to develop a normal arch if I do the above mentioned exercise daily?

    • Hi Amiya,

      I can’t really tell you exactly how long it will take.

      But to give your flat foot the best opportunity, it’s all about doing the exercises as much as possible.


  120. Hi Mark,

    I am 38 and 3-4 months ago starting wearing arch support in my shoes. I am flat footed. I seem to HV started pain in my side calf, glutes and back. Is it something related to the arch support. What should I do to avoid

  121. Bonsoir MARK
    Je suis ravie de découvrir votre site internet.
    Je souffre depuis plusieurs années de pieds plats et arrière valgus genu valgum.
    Je suis complexée surtout pour les genoux.
    Pouvez-vous m’aider à comment les corriger sans chirurgie ? J’ai peur de l’osstéomie.

    Je vous remercie d’avance et à bientôt.

  122. Hi
    Due to an incorrect syringe in the hip
    Right, she contracted a thigh, leg, and foot stray outward.
    For years, pain in the knee and foot has increased and the foot is still moving outward.
    After visiting a manual therapist, he told me that the external muscles are stronger than the internal muscles of the right leg so pull the foot out.

    I want to have exercises to strengthen the weak internal muscles and thank you very much.

    • Hi Liam,

      In theory – it should strengthen your foot muscles.

      However, if you have flat feet and are used to having support, making a quick transition to barefoot running may cause injuries!


  123. Hi Mark, I injured my right knee about 6 months ago and have recently noticed that I’m walking weird on the right side. For example my right foot points outwards when walking while the left is straight. This is causing me to overpronate. Are my feet the main problem or can other body parts be causing this? Thanks in advance

      • I’ve seen a PT for 3 sessions now and all he says is that my glutes are weak so i’ve started doing exercises for that. I know you say orthotics aren’t good as they make your feet are weaker. What do you think about insoles like superfeet that i can just slip into my shoes to make walking less of a hassle. That would help me while I work on the exercises. If not insoles then shoe recommendations would be great.

        Thank you.

      • Hey Zak,

        My personal opinion on orthotics for functional flat feet is that they are good in the short term, but should not be relied on in the long term.

        Your muscles are support you if you train them to.

        Over time – try to wean off your insoles and increase foot exercises :)


  124. Hey mark, when doing short foot should you feel the calf contracting a lot? That’s the only way i can make my arch move.

    On my left side i can’t even do it sitting. I’ve been doing it standing for about 8-10days but not much result, i’ll still keep at it for a few months though.

    • Hi Max,

      You want to feel it more so in the under surface of your foot.

      You will feel some in the tibialis posterior and/or tibialis anterior but should not be feeling it in the calf.

      You might need to strengthen the arch muscles in a non weight bear situation until it becomes easier.


  125. This article was very informative, and I plan on incorporating these exercises. My question is can these help a tailor’s bunion? I recently (6 months ago) was prescribed orthotics for plantar fasciitis along with an injection. While the plantar fasciitis has improved, my tailors bunion is very bothersome. I have tried to find wide toe box shoes, but after being on my feet or walking, it’s painful. I’m trying toe spreaders at night which provide temporary relief. The podiatrist has not been helpful with this issue, so I’m hoping there is a specific exercise that can help. I want to resume my walking program. Thank you in advance!

    • Hi Pauline,

      Tailor’s bunion are usually due to tight shoe box (esp. with high heels) and/or a foot that rolls outwards whilst walking.

      The exercises would more so help with a big toe bunion.

      You strengthen your little toes muscles by spreading your toes as wide as possible. This might help your tailors bunion on top of your spreaders!


  126. Hello Mark, terrific content, thanks a lot, just one simple question, do you recommend wearing toe separators for people who have inward toes and bunions, and are the bunions fixable? All the best

  127. I’m going to try all of these! I’ve recently started working out at the gym and it’s been 2 months but over the past week I’ve had knee pain just in my left leg and I think it’s because either my form is wrong or it’s because of my flat feet (I wear orthotics) and I want to continue being able to work my quads and glutes (squats, deadlifts, running, etc.) but I’m afraid of injuring my knee further. I never knew that orthotics were bad for flat feet! Should I stop wearing them all together? Or should I slowly wean off of them while doing these exercises?

    I’m not really sure the cause of my left knee pain although my left foot i’ve always had problems with in the past and it’s more flat comparably to my right foot. I’m assuming it’s either because of something new I’ve incorporated into my workouts but I’m not sure. It’s a weird pain like it aches throughout the entire day but I haven’t felt any sharp pains at any given moment it’s more of a constant dull ache.

    Thanks for the super informative article! I will definitely incorporate these into my day to strengthen my foot muscles.

    • Hi Ozgun (cool name btw),

      In the long term – I would try to gradually wean off your orthotics as you increase the strength of your flat foot. Be careful not to rush this as your body has likely developed a dependence on the support of the orthotics.

      Also check out this post: Rotated pelvis. A rotated pelvis can sometimes influence the posture of your feet.


  128. Hello
    I had a theory that all people with flat feet take the most of their body weight on their calves rather than their quads, is that right?
    because all my friends with flat feet have big calves but weak quads

  129. Hi Mark,
    I am 42, and have recently developed Morton’s Neuroma. While I have undergone physiotherapy sessions, wear footwear with a metatarsal bar as suggested by the doctor, it hasn’t helped me much. I had a steroid injection shot too. Can you suggest some help for a long term as I feel that even the injection isn’t too helpful and I understand that the only next option is surgery, which I am not very keen on.
    PS: I had fractured my foot about a year ago and somewhere I feel that could have been the start to this issue

    • Hi Jyothi,

      Are you giving it adequate relative rest to allow for it to heal properly in conjunction with your exercises? (eg. are you on your feet for too long that it may be leading to more flare ups?). This is where I would start first. You want to be getting better faster than it is getting worse.

      If your flat foot posture is causing more pressure on this area, addressing this with the exercises on the post will help out heaps! (Orthotics are great for symptomatic relief in the short term, but try not to become dependent on it as your feet muscles will become very weak)

      Cortisone will help reduce inflammation in the area…. but that’s about it! It does nothing to address the underlying root cause of it.

      If you can strengthen your foot so that it has the capacity to handle more pressure with exacerbating, your morton neuroma will likely start to get better.


  130. Hi there I am 30 years old and have suffered with SI joint pain, my lower back locking up, rotated pelvis and heel and arch pain since I was a teenager. After seeing a lot of people about this a Physio told me I have forefoot varus in my left foot and that my left knee falls inward. He told me this can be both a weak muscle thing and a structural thing, and that for me it is structural and can’t be fixed. He recommended orthotics which I’ve now been wearing for several years and core exercises. Since having my baby 18 months ago I’m seriously struggling with my pelvis constantly rotating to the right and my back muscles on that side going into spasm. Is there anything else you would recommend for me to try as I’m at my wits end :-(

    • Hello Catherine,

      With a structural fore foot varus, it is sometimes compensated by the hind foot collapsing inwards + knee falling inwards. As the left leg collapses, it can actually lead to an externally rotated left hip. This in turn can lead to a right rotated pelvis. As the pelvis rotates to the right, the torso generally follows the right rotation. As the body attempted to straighten up from this Right rotated position, the left side of the lower back is recruited to constantly stop the torso from falling to the right.

      Are you still with me? It can be quite confusing. Here is a picture that might make it a bit clearer:

      Now the question is how would you address it? If everything started with the fore foot, you would need to start here but since it is structural, there may be some limitations here.

      Have a look at this post: How to fix a pelvic rotation. It might be the next area you need to focus on.


      • I have this problem but i have a scoliosis that sticks out on my lower right side so my lower back on the right is really really tight(big bump of muscle because ive been working out for 17 years ) My left lower back is really really weak and long and has been getting spastic pain for the last few months(cant do any squat/deadlift type movements even on bodyweight)

        Starting your flat feet workout + rotated right pelvis. Will work on lateral pelvic tilt after those are better. My problem is that the Toe control part is impossible(even if i hold the toes with my hand), i have 0 control. Any idea what to do? Will it probably come once the other part of the workout makes my feet a bit better? I just ordered toe separators, maybe it’ll help.

        Thanks a lot for your site, i have been working with a physio for 8months and youtube videos but i have so many issues that im overwhelmed. Now i can just follow your 2 pages and not worry about the rest for a little bit

      • Hi Max,

        Toe control is crucial! Many of my patients have no idea that you are even meant to be moving them!

        It’s all about practice and time.

        Keep up the good work.

        (and great idea tackling 2 issues so start off with. It is easy to get overwhelmed :) )

  131. Hi Mark, Long story warning. I have flat feet and used orthotics years ago. Stopped using them and had no pain. Then bought minimalist zero drop runners with a wide toe box and took a year long transition period before incorporating into full time  use. But then developed  plantar fasciitis on my right foot which at first was acute for a few days after a run but now turned chronic  about 6 months ago with the pain often moving around the edge of the heel. So no more runs. Started using toe separators to control pronation. A podiatrist said I need custom orthotics, and to ditch the minimalist zero drop shoes and the toe separators and  get runners with more support and a heel. Told me nothing other than orthotics will work as  I have an unstable first metatarsal and tight calves. I am reluctant about returning to  orthotics. Now two days ago along with the heel pain I am also feeling slight tenderness when toe-ing off that I feel at the bottom edge of my right big toe joint an inch in from the inside edge of the foot. Slightly  tender when I palpate ( sesamoid issue?). I admit this development has reduced my resistance toward  orthotics. Also has me backing off a bit on the toe separators. I have been doing similar foot exercises for a month but have now settled on your foot exercise routine. Am able to do these way better on my injured right foot than my left, which seems surprising if I am short on foot strength.  Should I get the orthotics as a short term transition solution while I strengthen the feet as you recommend? Maybe also get a new runner with more support and a wide toe box like an Altra? …. which however is still a zero drop. Very interested in your suggestions

    • Hi Oswald,

      Orthotics are great to temporarily support your feet and reduce symptoms whilst you recover.

      … however, If you are able to strengthen your feet and are committed to doing so, I would try to wean off the orthotics as soon as you have developed sufficient amount of strength/control in the foot.

      If you would like to continue running, you will need to get a shoe with a bit more support as to not aggravate the issue. Similarly, once your feet become strong, you can transition out of the support shoe.

      However, keep in mind, it takes quite a bit of foot training to get to a stage where you can run without support! (but it is definitely possible)


  132. Hi Mark, my daughter is 10 years has flat feet, she’s using orthothics, but it look like it didnt help alot. Now she has bunion and her bone at her back become bigger. And she looks like has rounded shoulder. How to fix it? And dows she still need orthotic?

    • Hi Lisa,

      Getting the young ones to do exercises is very difficult!

      Your best option is to get her out of the shoes and walk around barefoot on different types of terrain (try to avoid the completely flat hard ground). If she gets symptoms from this, you will need to figure out the maximum duration she can perform this without pain reproduction and stay within that limit.

      I am not a big fan of foot orthotics as I feel that the muscles can be trained to become stronger without it.

      For rounded shoulders: How to fix rounded shoulders.


  133. Hi Mark, my daughter is 9 years old and she have flat feet with ankles wear inward, while she walk she always keep her feet pointing outside, and it looks like she have a duck walk. She start running, but it doesn’t helps a lot till now. We will start your excercises today, hope that they will help her. Best wishes from Macedonia.

  134. Ok! Hello I’m Mickey and I do believe ive had these flat feet since day one. Im 31 in a few days!! Here’s the thing, I dont experience too much pain unless Im wearing insane high heels or been walking for a long distance. I do experiece a very painful Charlie horse like cramp where my arch should be at times…painnnnnn! Here’s another kicker, I wear heels/boots anything with a heel, im most comfortable on an incline…Im at a point wesr im embarrases to wear flats showing my legs due to my feet caving inward, its not appealing. So this is a great site I booked marked because i am going to incorporate these moves.

    • Hey Mickey you’re so fine, you’re so fine, you blow my mind.

      (Sorry! That was the first thing that came to my head.)

      It’s vital that you have strong feet.. especially if you are getting issues with them. Fix the problem whilst it’s small!

      All the best with these exercises!


  135. Hi Mark, I don’t have fallen arches…I have feet that have never HAD arches. I got custom orthotics years ago and they help, but haven’t completely fixed my problem. I have poor posture and many issues that go with that. The only solution I can think of is surgery since I’ve tried many of the exercises you recommended over the years and nothing every gave me an arch. Thoughts?

    • Hey Peter,

      Do you have structural flat feet? This means the orientation of your bones have caused a lack of an arch.

      If this is the case, I would still suggest strengthening your foot muscles as much as you can.

      I would advise against surgery if possible!


      • Hi Mark, I just luckily came across your blog. You are soooooo correct in advising against flat foot surgery. I had it and wish so much that I hadn’t! The doctor shortened my calf muscle to lift my arch, added a piece of bone to the bones on top of my foot, cut my Achilles in 3 places and shortened the toe next to my big toe and it sticks up now. Now my calf has lost its normal shape, my foot looks worse than it did, my balance is off now and unless I’m thinking that I shouldn’t limp, I limp. My foot feels uncomfortably tight. Before my surgery, when my hip hurt, I would put a weight belt on really tight at top thigh level just for about 30 minutes or less. That would relieve my hip pain. That doesn’t work for me anymore. I’m surely going to try your posture and flat foot exercises. Thank you for your expertise!

      • Hey Nancy,

        Oh no! This is one of my pet peeves with surgeons who recommend surgery for musculoskeletal issues that can be improved with exercises alone.

        Good luck with the exercises!


  136. Hi Mark,
    I left a comment on ”how to fix a rotated pelvis” page and for some reason it disappeared. I have a right rotated pelvis and as a result my left ankle is suspinated/right pronated and have a bunion only on my left foot. I’m planning to do the flat feet exercises in addition to the pelvis correction exercises to prevent my pelvis from rotating again after fixing it due to the bunion.

    I was wondering, in addition to all the exercises you mentioned in this post, would walking/exericisng with foot separators help reduce a bunion? If so, should I wear it only one side with a bunion or both sides?
    Thank you :-)

    • Hi Clare,

      All comments need to get screened before I allow them to appear on the website to avoid spam comments.

      Toe separators will help stretch out the space between your toes. I will also suggest that you avoid wearing narrow shoes for long periods (esp. high heels!)

      I would wear it both sides :) I like to wear mine for a couple of hours when I’m at home.


  137. Hi Mark ,
    I am a 33 year old woman who was diagnosed with posterior tibial tendon dysfunction Grade II in left foot in 2016 dec. I was told by my doctor to use orthotics which I never did . My left arch started falling but I did not notice it .One year later my left knee started paining and MRI results showed that I have lateralisation of patella in left knee. I think I have
    anterior pelvic tilt also Now I have started using
    orthotics and knee brace and following the exercises
    given by you for knee valgus and anterior pelvic tilt.
    I sometimes feel pain in posterior tibial tendon and in shin bone of my left leg . I dont know why but I feel little pain in my right leg posterior tibial tendon also and some pain in right knee also. Please help me . What exercises should I follow to get rid of so many problems. Being a mother of a little girl I dont get enough time to do whole lot of exercises. Help me please.

    • Hi Niki,

      If you are short on time, I would just focus on the “SHORT FOOT” exercise for now.

      Engage the muscle and practise stepping with the other leg.

      Good foot position will help with a better knee position in the long term.


  138. Hi! I am 34 and have had bunions since I was 13ish. One foot is much worse than the other. I overpronate but I’ve recently learned that if I activate my flutes while walking it’s not so bad. I’m going to try the exercises for sure (there’s hope for my ‘good’ foot but I’ve been putting off surgery of the bad foot to straighten my toe because it’s not causing me loads of pain as long as I wear the right shoes etc. however because my toe is so far over my foot is unstable no matter what I do. Wondering is it better for overall body alignment to get the op… surgeons all say go for it, but they are only looking at my foot. They don’t bother looking at the whole kinetic chain. I get the feeling these exercises may be good for strengthening my foot prior to surgery?

    • Hi Jo,

      Bunion surgery will essentially render that big toe joint IMMOBILE as they usually have to fixate a rod through it after cutting the bone to force it straight.

      Without your big toe, there is going to be a chain reaction in the whole system. (which has already likely happened to some extent due to your bunion).

      So- Whether you have surgery or not, the body is going to have to compensate either way.

      Which ever way you decide to go – these exercises will help you out !


  139. I am not sure if my flat-feet situation is structural or not. Do you have any suggestion about how to differentiate between the two types?

    Thank you ^^

  140. Hi Mark.
    Great post. I’m wondering if I should do the toe spread exercise while my foot is on the ground or in the air. I feel the dynamic is slightly different. What do you think?

  141. Hi Mark,

    I left you a comment yesterday and, for the life of me, I can’t find it here. If you responded, can you email that to me?


  142. Hi, i’m currently trying to join the millitary. But i have flat overpronating feet. is it possible to get it so i can carry weights of up to and above 100lbs and not have my feet over pronating. it would be great to have a chat with you. I could really use your help.

    • Hi Thomas,

      If you strengthen your foot muscles (and your flat foot is not structural), you should be able to lift 100lbs without the arches collapsing.


  143. I am trying to do the toe lifts. On my left side it’s quite easy to lift big toe independently of others but not on my right foot. Any tips for training my right toe to activate? It’s a bit like being able to wink with your left eye not your right in that seems very hard to get my brain to do it!

  144. I am 22 year old.I have flat foot,but when i stand on toes ,a little arch appears.Actually I want to join Army,and flat foot is not accepted.
    Is there is any way that how will i fix my flat foot as soon as possible?
    Eagerly waiting for ur answer Sir.

  145. Hello, do you think fallen Arches can contribute to my big toe adduction, meaning the big toe is pointing more medial instead of straight ahead? This issue is causing me to have pretty wide feet. I’m 35 yr female and am trying to purchase supportive shoes for work. I can wear athletic shoes so I got Brooks Adrenaline GTS 18 but cannot find any that do not rub against my big toe. I’m not sure if it’s ok to rub as long as it’s not painful? I keep ordering the next size up and returning (by mail) the old size. I’m up to men’s 9 EEEE. please help!

    • Hi Sierra,

      Collapsing arches can cause you to place your weight on the side of your big toe (as opposed to directly underneath it) as you push off during walking. It will also lead to a flattening your foot causing a wide appearance.

      This will cause your big toe deviate towards the other toes and leads to issues like big toe bunions.

      Try to find a shoe with a wide foot box. The problem with most shoes these days is that they are far too narrow at the front! (which will squash your toes together… even worse for high heels!)


  146. Hi there, Mark. Great site. You really give great and thoughtful instructions on how to fix most of the posture problems that have become so rampant in our society. I have a question regarding flat feet/fallen arches. In the first picture you are able to get your feet to be totally flat,and after this in the second picture you somehow correct your feet so that it has a vissible arch. How are you able to do this. My second question is regarding the genetic factor of flat feet. You are stating that most people have problems with their feet muscles,but at the same time I have seen people that don’t do feet exercises and have pronounced arches. Is creating an arch in your feet something you have to consciously be doing the whole time? In their default position sometimes my arches have a tendency to flatten a bit and this concerns me.

    Thanks in advance Mark. Keep on the good work with the site :)

    • Hi Christopher,

      A healthy foot should be able to transition between foot pronation (flat arch) and supination (arch). Both are important and normal in gait pattern.

      As some people have more flat arches… you will also have people that will have a high arch.

      People with high arches can have a whole lot of problems as well. (Keep in mind, the goal is to have a neutral arch when standing).

      These exercises should be able to help with your flat arches. In the beginning, you want to consciously engage the arch muscles as to get the stronger. With continued effort, it will become natural for you.


  147. Hi Mark!
    I’m 16 years old and I have just realized that I have had Anterior Pelvic Tilt AND flat feet for a long time. I want to fix these issues but I can not be sure what I should do. Is my APT caused by flat feet? If so, can I still fix my APT by doing APT exercises? Do flat feet exercises help fixing my APT? How exactly are they related to each other? Thanks for your reply.

    • Hey Haydar,

      Your flat feet and APT may be biomechanically linked. (If it helps – Think of it kind of like a stack of dominoes.)

      But then again, they could be 2 separate issues.

      If you physically hold your foot (and get someone to do for you) in a neutral position, and your pelvis positions improves, then it is likely that the foot is contributing to the pelvis.

      Similarly – if your correct your pelvis position, and the feet automatically improve, then then pelvis is contributing to the foot.

      In many cases, it actually goes both ways. Pelvis <-affects/and is affected by->Foot


  148. Hi Mark,
    I have one inquiry :Will the exercises for the flat foot help mi fix the big toe bunion? I’m having this Bunion problem for months now, and is pretty painful but also ugly to see and hard to wear shoes. Reading your materials, I am pretty much convinced that I have many of the postural problems you describe, if not all of them, due- I think- to a hyper mobility that runs in my family. Apart from the hunchback I have, looking at my body posture it seems to my that I have also lumbar forward position. From what I read in your materials, the starting point for 2 herniated discs I have in the lumbar zone, and also for the recently collapse of my foot arch it might be the improper position of my lumbar spine? Or the lumbar problems might be the result of the thorax kyphosis?
    I am sorry for make it so complicated ?
    Thank you so much. the articles in your page are extraordinary, made me discover various postural problems I had neglected for years and convinced me to try to fix them.

    • Hey Daniela,

      Improving your foot posture will most likely stop the bunion from progressing.

      It may also help correct your big toe bunion, however, it really depends if it has already fused in that position.

      In regards to what postural problem came first? That’s hard to answer through the internet… but I would definitely try to address them all eventually.


  149. Hi Mark,

    I too have flat feet & over-pronation, and have recently started with your exercises. I have started doing Crossfit, and really struggle with squats; I just can’t get down far enough and my legs are achey after squats (with relatively much less weight than I use for other lifts). Any suggestions for what I should do beyond these exercises?


  150. I have Structural flat that I get it from my parent.What will I do for that? May I have a hope so that my feet have arcus?

    • Hi Johannes,

      If it is indeed Structural… this means the joints are essentially “stuck” in that flat position.

      However – you can still try to optimise your foot movement by doing these exercises.


  151. Hello Sir,
    I’m Johannes from Indonesia,
    I’m sorry first because my english is not so good

    I am 18 years old and I want to be a cadet,but I have flat feet.I realized it in Last January on this year.I don’t know how to fix it.But I see one people .He told me that he has flat feet before.He said that he has total flat feet and he use medial arch support.So I use the insole too since last september.Until today i had bought 3 medial arch support and the result is nothing.
    I am total flat feet. I want to ask you sir,is the flat feet can be cured and my feet have arcus?and how long?
    Hope you reply sir soon

      • I’m sorry Sir
        Because i forget to say that I have Structural flat that I get it from my parent.What will I do for that? May I have a hope so that my feet have arcus?

      • Hey Mark, just wanted to say thank you so much for the unbelievably helpful post/s and site. It’s obvious you’re passionate about posture and the importance of it in order to live pain free, healthy lives. So thank you for your passion! I also wanted to ask you about your thoughts on my 10yo sons feet. He takes after his father, practically his clone, unfortunately he also got his feet/legs/knees. I dont know the correct term for any of the conditions and none of his doctors have noted on them during check-ups, but after developing a very ingrown toenail it has caught my attention. I bought a Brannock measuring device to measure his feet in order to buy him proper fitting shoes, and was assuming his feet were just wide with a high instep, and were being squished in his shoes causing the ingrown nail. Well when i went to measure his feet it was hard, almost impossible, to find his heel to arch length because his feet were so flat. Now i havent inspected many feet, but his are the flattest feet i have ever seen. He has always walked funny and his running posture almost makes me cringe. His feet are so flat it almost looks like he leans inward on both feet so the soles are bulging out from under him outward. Hes not “pigeon toed” whatsoever though, as-in his toes dont turn inward. His legs going from his knees down, do slightly kick out. His dads and paternal grandmothers do the same thing. Im not sure of the actual term for that. Maybe you could enlighten me? I was wondering if that could also be the reason he is flat footed, as im sure hes has that since birth and its not his feet causing it. His dad differs though, in that he has extremely pronounced arches and ball joints. The look of my sons feet concern me. I dont want him suffering later on and its clearly affecting his walking and running already. Even his 3 smaller toes on each foot look almost like they are laying flat on their sides rotating inward, from his feet being so flat. Reminds me of if you had a tube/roll of uncooked cookie dough and pressed straight down on a hot pan but at a slight angle, the way his legs bend outward from the k ee and the entire soles of his feet bulge outward. What problems do you think are afflicting him? Id prefer to actually correct them the proper way (ie. avoid orthodics/braces that potentially cause weakness). Any advice and/or recommendations and info would be so appreciated if you have some time to spare. Again, thank you immensely!

  152. Hello Sir,
    I’m Johannes from Indonesia,
    I’m sorry first because my english is not so good

    I am 18 years old and I want to be a cadet,but I have flat feet.I realized it in Last January on this year.I don’t know how to fix it.But I see one people .He told me that he has flat feet before.He said that he has total flat feet and he use medial arch support.So I use the insole too since last september.Until today i had bought 3 medial arch support and the result is nothing.
    I am total flat feet. I want to ask you sir,is the flat feet can be cured and my feet have arcus?and how long?

  153. Hello. Mark. Glad I come across your mind easing article. Whenever I stand my feet gets overpronated. And it shape looks awkward I hope your exercises would me out ? Thanks and God bless,

  154. Hi Mark
    I read your blog and it was really very helpfull but I am not able to understand if I really have flat feet. When I did the wet test, it was pretty much normal(normal feet). But when I stand and check it looks like my feet are flat. Please help me out.

    • Hey Aarya,

      Sounds like you have fairly “normal” arches that drop to an extent when you put weight through it.

      You can still benefit from doing the exercises in the post.


  155. hey Mark,
    thank you so much for such a detailed and informative blog on flat feet.
    I have flat feet since childhood. but with someone’s suggestion to use bottle to help gain the arch, it has appeared only on my right feet. My left feet is still flat and i try very hard to get arch on it as well… can you please tell me the reason as to why my left feet has still not obtained the arch?
    also by performing these above mentioned exercises, will i be able to get an arch on left feet??
    thank you.

    • Hi Kyra,

      If the exercises aren’t helping with the left foot:
      – You have have structural flat feet. This just means this is how your bones were put together. We might be able to influence some change, but it may not be a whole lot.
      – Your flat feet are due to somewhere further up the chain. (Eg. The pelvis position).
      – You are not performing the exercise correctly.
      – Some other factor (there are heaps!)
      – Most commonly, you need more TIME.


  156. Hey Mark! This is a very informative blog about flat feet! However, since 1 month i have been facing a dull aching pain in and around my knees due to flat feet (maybe)! (Sometimes pinching feel on the top of my knee). I would feel swelling like on top of my knee. I have been to an orthopedist and was told that i have chondromalacia patella and he suggested me insoles and one exercise to strengthen my quadriceps. However i was given no exercise for flat feet. Can you suggest me some exercise for flat feet to reduce knee pain. And also if i follow the above exercises how long will it take to regain a corrected arch? Also, will flat foot lead to problems like arthritis in future? Thanks in advance!

    • Hey Harsh,

      If your knee pain is due to your flat feet, then all of the exercises on this article will help with that. It’s all about optimal alignment as you move.

      You might also need to look at your technique is you run, go to the gym, play a sport etc.

      In terms of how long, it really depends! Everyone is different.

      As your feet are the foundation of your body, if they are not functioning properly, it may lead to movement issues which then can lead to arthritis.

  157. Thanks for the great article Mark! I have started incorporating all the exercises into my practice. I have flat feet AND overpronation. Will the exercises help the overpronation as well or will I need to add different exercise in conjunction to the aforementioned ones?

    Thanks, Scott

  158. Story of my life haha!
    Hyperlax hip/ankle joints, valgus knee, anterior pelvic tilt and of course flat feet (and now hallux valgus) have led me to wear orthotics pretty much all this time.
    Now 25yo, soft tissue therapist and determined to change this exercise! It’s a shame most health professionals oriente us to the easy-lazy solutions from the start. Where’s the passion in client care and reeducation?

    Like you said, babies are born with flat feet. On that note, I learnt that shoes should only be introduced as late as possible to children for them to build those foot muscles and turn flat feet into actual arched feet (having them walk on all kind of textured ground is a most obviously).

    Anyway, thanks for the good content and dedication!

  159. Hi Mark,

    I am going to start doing these excercises too as I have flat feet. It affects my lower back and my calf muscles are so so tight. When I tried the short food exercises my toes scrunch up, am I doing this wrong? Also I cannot lift my othe 4 toes without my big toe going up too, any further tips with that to get me started? Thanks, becky

    • Hi Becky,

      You will need to learn how to scrunch your foot without recruiting your toe flexors. It’s all about practice :).. and time!

      The connection between your brain and your foot is probably not too strong. But this can be trained!


  160. Just stumbled upon this post, I really appreciate how much detail you went into. I have a situation that I’d like your thoughts on if you wouldn’t mind: I have neglected my feet as I have been wearing cheap skate shoes my whole life (I’m 23) which are completely flat and offer no foot support, so I feel like this may probably be the cause of my flat feet. I plan to correct my flat feet through the information you’ve provided, however I haven’t been able to find any advice on which shoes I should invest in that won’t cause my flat feet to come back once corrected. I’d be very grateful if you could share some details on this! Also, would I want to avoid shoes with arch support as this would serve the same purpose as orthotics?

    Many thanks,

    • Hey Tom!

      Great to hear that you are going to start to do the exercises for your flat feet.

      In terms of what shoes to wear – In the ideal world, if we had super strong feet, you would want to aim for minimalist/barefoot shoes. This is because it will make your foot/toe muscles work as they were naturally intended to do so.

      HOWEVER- please don’t rush out and buy them! (well… not for now anyways!)

      If you switched to barefoot/minimalist shoes now, I can guaranty you’ll end up with a lot of pain as your feet will not be used to it.

      It is fine to get a shoe with orthotic inserts/arch support for now, but the main aim would be a gradual wean off to less support. (providing that you have a functional flat foot and not a structural one)

      I tend to sway towards new balance and Asics, however, I haven’t tried many of the shoes out there in the market to give you an accurate recommendation.

      Hope this helps!


  161. Hello Mark! awesome info-content on your blog, I had to share this with my friends too who had flat-feet.! Thanks for sharing your precious knowledge on human anatomy with us folks!!

    I used to be an arched-footer in my childhood days, even teenage. I do have an anterior pelvic tilt which might be causing flat-feet but u explained above in ur blog that apt causes internal rotation of leg bones which cause over-pronation of the feet which makes sense. but despite having APT i actually have more external rotation ability of the legs instead of internal rotation yet I still suffer from over-pronation or flat-feet. What would you make of that scenario?

    • Hey hey Raja,

      Sounds like you may have an anterior pelvic tilt + tight hip external rotators.

      This can cause you to walk/stand with a toe out position which in turn can cause your mid foot to collapse.

      In that case, focus on:
      – stretching the butt (piriformis standing stretch)
      – keeping feet reasonably straight ( a little bit out is fine)
      – Strengthening with the exercises mentioned in the post.


  162. This is an extraordinary article. Very in depth and easy to follow. You’ve detailed the ‘why’ of these exercises well.

    I’ve started training my feet/ankles/calves recently. I have not done any toe specific strengthening. I didn’t realise the importance of it. Also I have not done any Anterior Tibialis training either (shin bone muscle)

    Thanks very much.

    • Cheers Cameron!

      Glad you like the post :)

      Keep up with the foot/toe exercises. They are tricky at first, but you’ll get the hang of it.


  163. Woow! Your site is amazing! Thanks for sharing this. I have orthotics since my 15th year and I’m 35 now. My ankles and feet are hypermobile too so I’m running into lots of problems now. I have a very hard time finding a good therapist. They have changed the orthotics everytime and it’s just getting worse. I have nerve problems now too… So it’s a long way to finding what is working good and finding someone good to help me with this.. I’m going to try your exercises, although I can’t manage any of them while I just tried… So I have lots of practice to do… I’m a PT myself that’s why I love your page extra! I wonder: I’m looking into the barefoots, do you know these? They train the foot really well is said. Do you have any experience with them?

    • Hi Yvette,

      Thanks for dropping by.

      Minimalist shoes are great for forcing your foot muscles work.

      HOWEVER… they are too big of a jump if your feet are already weak. You need to work your way up to using them to avoid any flare ups.


    • Hi Mark,I want to ask you that when we are doing flat feet exercises should our feet to be in correct position by using shoes or we have to do it barefooted

      • Thank you so much mark,
        Also my one last question is whenever I stand my feet overpronate and when I sit they come in normal position as normal foot and also i have seen my foot prints on paper by wetting it and they are very very close to normal even when I tested In standing position ,so can I say my ligaments,tendons are okay?,because I heard that once our ligaments, tendons get overstretched we cann’t do much with our pronated foot

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