Nearly a quarter of the U.S. population has flat feet or fallen arches, a condition that causes severe pain and can lead to skeletal misalignment and problems elsewhere in the body. If you have flat feet, you know how excruciatingly painful a day at work can be, especially if you have a job that requires you to spend a great deal of time standing up and walking.
While there are many shoes and inserts that are great for flat feet, they are simply a way to get through the day. Most shoes and inserts do nothing for the long-term health of your feet. Following are three exercise tips that will make your feet healthy and pain free.
Take A Stroll in the Sand
Kick off your shoes and take a leisurely stroll in the sand. Not only is such a walk good for reducing stress and boosting mental well-being, it is exceptionally good for flat feet. You see, sand constantly shifts and conforms under the pressure of your feet, which makes the muscles in your feet stronger. And stronger arches cause less pain than weak ones.
Work Out in Bare Feet
Many people with flat feet are under the misconception that shoes help support and protect their arches from further damage. The opposite is actually true. Shoes do not allow your feet to hit the ground and move naturally, which can lead to even more foot problems. If you take off your shoes to work out, you will use your foot muscles correctly. They will become stronger, and you will benefit. You should also try to go without shoes whenever possible. Your feet were engineered perfectly for life without shoes and are healthiest when you leave your shoes in the closet.
Strengthen Your Arches
In an effort to strengthen your arches, make a few foot exercises part of your work out routine. Stair raises - an exercise where you stand on the edge of a stair and raise up on your toes - work exceptionally well when it comes to building arch strength. Stretching exercises are also ideal. You can stretch the bottom of your foot by pulling your toes up and toward you or you can stretch out your muscles by rolling your foot over a tennis ball.
There are several exercises and tips that will strengthen your arches and alleviate the pain you feel because of your flat feet. However, you have to stay consistent to see any long-term results. So, find a few things that work for you and stick with them for long-term success. (for more information on shoes that help your feet, contact ETL Podiatry or another practice)
Your feet might not seem like an important part of your personal health and wellness routine, but you would be hard-pressed to work out without them. Unfortunately, many people overlook their foot health, only to end up suffering from debilitating bunions and painful ingrown toenails. A few years ago, I ignored a cut on my foot which eventually turned into a full-blown infection. After a near-amputation, I realized that I needed to start focusing on my whole body. I know that if you can start focusing on your foot health, you can avoid troubling conditions so that you can enjoy your life.