Short Foot Exercise for Flat Feet [Ep48]
25 Comments


Let me show you a simple exercise to strengthen
the arches of your feet, preparing them for the demands of running. We’re all familiar with the concept of core
strength and stability; training the abdominal, pelvic and hip muscles of the body to provide
this inherent strength to support efficient movement. But what about the concept of the ‘foot
core’? This is a term that’s been used for a while
now to describe particularly the intrinsic muscles of the foot. What do I mean by that? Well, when we look at the foot and ankle,
and consider the muscles that create and control movement in this intricate part of the body,
we can broadly divide them into two categories. Intrinsic and extrinsic muscles of the foot. Extrinsic muscles of the foot are muscles
which, due to their insertion points on bones of the foot, act on the foot itself, yet are
positioned outside of the foot, in the lower leg. Intrinsic muscles of the foot, again insert
onto bones of the foot, act upon the foot, and are this time positioned within the foot
itself. Now, generally speaking, extrinsic muscles
of the foot have much longer lever arms, and are therefore better able to create movement. In comparison, the smaller intrinsic muscles
of the foot, with their shorter lever arms are considered more responsible for creating
stability around the many intricate bones and joints of the foot, and help us to maintain
the structure of the foot itself. It’s these intrinsic muscles of the foot
that we’re training with exercises such as the short foot exercise. So this exercise is really simple, but takes
a bit of getting used to, to get the co-ordination right. We use this exercise to help train the plantar
intrinsic muscles of the foot that in effect help support the medial arch of the foot,
an area we perhaps overly rely on footwear to support. Start sitting with your foot flat on the ground.
From this position, use the visualisation of shortening the length of your foot by lifting
the arch. Feel yourself consciously trying to lift the arch of your foot by squeezing
the muscles in the foot. The movement will only be small, and make
sure you don’t begin to claw your toes, or overly rotate the lower leg. We’re looking
to isolate the foot in this exercise, in particular a muscle called abductor hallucis. Aim for 3 sets of 20 reps of this simple looking,
but often challenging exercise, on each foot. Once you get good at this you can graduate
to practicing with the foot bearing more bodyweight, standing-up. This short foot exercise is particularly good
for those who are transitioning away from running shoes which offer more stability,
like an Brooks Adrenaline, or Asics Kayano for example, into something more minimalist,
like a Nike Free. This is a process I’m asked about all the
time! Let me know how you get on in the comments. Speak to you soon. Bye now

25 thoughts on “Short Foot Exercise for Flat Feet [Ep48]

  1. I was only just speaking to my musculoskeletal therapist about this yesterday for this exact problem. Great video!

  2. James, thanks, by stating that this intrinsic foot muscle exercise will help transitioning from maximalist to minimalist footwear are you implying that shod foot intrinsic musculature is 'weaker'?

  3. it's actually not easy to do that exercise!….because the natural inclination is to curl the toes. it took me a while to do the exercise correctly…but i did it….THANKS JAMES!!!

  4. the old Aust physios used to call this the, "harbour bridge exercise", which is from whom the old Aust. pods got it from
    can not comprehend, again, how 3 readers gave this a 'thumbs down', unfathomable

  5. Hey what if I got s fat foot like I’m a little over wait than (14) I weight like 190 and I’m a size 10 in men’s but when I wear a shoe it doesn’t fit it makes the middle of the shoe puffed up so much so I got a fat foot and wanna make it a regular foot size

  6. This is the second video I’ve watched and have been trying to do this for 20 min and still can’t do it without wrinkling up my toes. HELP!

  7. Thank you for this video – I've been prescribed the short foot exercise due to a posterior tibial tendonitis. I started standing and I wonder if I need to dial it back a bit. I notice when I perform the short foot exercise my entire lower leg, especially where the post-tib issue is, gets really sore. I'm not sure if it's just the tendinitis taking forever to heal, but the short foot exercise really does seem to aggravate it. Anything I might be doing wrong?

  8. how many days/weeks does it take to start running besides doing this exercise. my physiotherapist suggested not to perform any activity while involved in arch strengthening exercise.

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