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Foot Gymnastics: Exercises and Games for People with Flat Feet

Updated on May 30, 2010

Many people are afflicted with the problem of having flat feet. For most people, this isn’t a problem. Flat feet generally don’t cause any pain or serious difficult for the person who has them. However, some people do find that their flat feet are causing problems for them. They might be feeling pain in their feet or legs as a result of having severely flat feet. Alternatively, they may find that they can’t do some of the things that they want to do (such as certain types of yoga exercise) because their feet are too flat. In this case, those people may want to consider using exercise to reduce the flatness of the foot. The best type of exercise for someone who wants to fix flat feet is to do foot gymnastics.

Foot gymnastics refers to basically any kind of exercise designed to strengthen the muscles of the feet and legs. This exercise usually lengthens the muscles in the foot and can therefore reduce the problem of flat feet. It’s often recommended by doctors to children who have flat feet. Since it’s exercise designed with kids in mind, it’s exercise that is fun. Many of the tasks that you do when you’re doing foot gymnastics are actually just little games that you play with your feet.

For example, a lot of the popular games that people enjoy when doing foot gymnastics are related to picking items up with your toes. This is silly and fun so you forget that you’re doing exercise. Some of the variations on this game might include:

Being timed to pick items up with your toes. You can play this with a group of people. Drop a bunch of small items on the ground. (Walnuts, small rocks and little balls of fabric are items that would all work.) Set a timer and everyone has to pick up as many items as they can with their toes. Whoever gets the most items will win. You can also play this game by yourself by seeing how many items you can get in a certain of time and then trying to beat that by repeating the exercise and trying to get more items this time in the same amount of time.

Picking up items with your toes and then seeing how far you can throw them. This one is another one that you can either play with other people or you can play it by yourself. You pick up a specific item with your toes and then pull your foot back and launch the item. If you’re playing with a group, the person who throws the item furthest will win. If you’re playing alone then you try to throw the item further and further each time. Alternatively, you may try to see how many items you can pick up and throw at once.

Stack items with your toes. You can also pick up items with your toes and then try to stack them. The highest stack wins. Plastic cups are a great item to play this game with. You could also do it with small fabric balls or even pieces of paper.

Those are all games that you can play with someone else or by yourself. You don’t actually have to do them as games. You could just do them as exercise. For example, you might make it an exercise to pick up an item with your toes and then throw it and to repeat this twenty times per repetition. However it’s a lot more fun when you play it as a game!

There are also some other foot gymnastics games that you can play but they require a partner. A couple of good two-person games to help you with your flat feet include:

Grasp a stick with your toes and pass it back and forth with another person. You can do this until one person drops the stick and then the other person wins. Or you could put on music and when the music ends then the person holding the stick wins (like a variation on musical chairs). The latter method could be done with a group instead of just with one person.

Have a tug of war with a towel and your toes. Sit facing your partner. Put a towel, a piece of fabric, a T-shirt or a rope in between the two of you. You each grasp one side with your toes. Then you play tug-of-war until someone wins.

There are some other exercises that you can do to improve flat feet which aren’t in game format. These are good as well and would include:

Walking on tiptoes and then on heels. You simply walk in a straight line but you move your weight forward and backward between your toes and your heels in order to stimulate and strengthen your arches. This can be done in place to (rather than walking forward).

Clench and release. You can do a series of exercises in which you clench the foot (like you’re trying to make a fist with the foot) and then release and then clench again. You can also add in a stretch of the foot so you would clench, release, stretch, release, clench.

Stand on a book and do toe exercises. Place the book underneath your arches so that your toes are hanging off of the edge of the book. Then move your toes up and down to exercise them.

Stand straight and lift your toes up. Stand as strong as you can with your back entirely straight. Then lift all of your toes up off of the ground so that you’re standing on your feet without putting weight on your toes. Release your toes to the ground repeat. This is often done in yoga.

Use a balance beam. Walk along a balance beam back and forth. This is even better if you have access to a rounded balance beam.

Of course, all of these exercises are good for flat feet but you should always talk to a doctor (specifically a podiatrist) about the specific exercises that you should be doing for the condition that you have.

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  • rtaf444 profile image

    rtaf444 4 years ago

    Very informative hub. Thank You!

  • profile image

    Sre 4 years ago

    Even i have flat feet problem.

    I may get any problem in my future

  • Java Programs profile image

    Java Programs 5 years ago from India

    It was really wonderful information .... I loved reading that .... thanks Kathryn Vercillo for the share .... Keep the good work up ..

  • profile image

    John 5 years ago

    It was interesting information.I liked that

  • Worldofwow1992 profile image

    Worldofwow1992 5 years ago from Michigan

    I have VERY high arches and I have no problem picking things up/manuevering with my toes. It's interesting reading the comments about resting pressure on the inside of your foot. I can't imagine! I've always put all the pressure on the outer edges of my feet. haha Fun hub!

  • profile image

    Sagar Ghare 5 years ago

    After meeting an accident i given up all games cricket football badminton swimming for last 6 months .... but now when its time to come back i found stretching of muscles at arch and front side of legs is too difficult. struggling with all pain and coming back to the form is the only solution.

  • SammySammo profile image

    SammySammo 5 years ago from Boston, MA

    I have flat feet and have recently started having problems with them. I also stand with most of my pressure tilted inward towards the insides of my feet. It's hard for me to wear flip-flops because they don't have any kind of arch support to keep my feet from hitting the ground awkwardly. Thanks for the exercises!

  • profile image

    kredit 5 years ago

    Nice hub about health. It provides me some helpful information. These exercise seems really helpful as well as funny. Wonderful hub overall.

    http://www.svenskakredit.se

    kredit

  • brennawelker profile image

    brennawelker 5 years ago

    Very useful article, Thanks for sharing this one.

  • profile image

    Weber Genesis E320 5 years ago

    just when i thought all was hopeless... thanks

  • drakdestroier profile image

    drakdestroier 5 years ago

    Thank you very much for that, the exercises seem funny to do.

  • Rudra profile image

    Rudra 6 years ago

    aha, who would have thought about foot gymnastics. Thumbs up for this one.

  • Just About It profile image

    Just About It 6 years ago from southern CA

    Very useful article about exercises to easy problems with having flat feet.

  • Kristine Manley profile image

    Donna Kristine 6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

    This is great information! I told my Mom who can use these exercises for her feet, and I'm going to begin doing them myself. Thank you.

  • MarkAse profile image

    MarkAse 6 years ago from San Diego, CA

    Do you recommend wearing inserts in your shoes? Can those help?

  • jcrusin profile image

    jcrusin 6 years ago from 35° 58' 58" N / 86° 31' 7" W

    Passed the article on to a family memebr and we have been group foot exercising since. The article was fun and informative.

    Thanks

  • Teegan E. Ross profile image

    Teegan E. Ross 6 years ago from Hovering over my keyboard.

    My flipper-like feet thank you.

  • profile image

    pixie 6 years ago

    Hi, I have flat feet and outdoor activities like walking, running, playing tennis or even workout in gym result in a knee pain. I love to do these outdoor activities without hurting my knees. Any suggestions please?

  • fit2day profile image

    fit2day 6 years ago

    foot exercises is something that most people don't think about, but with all of the foot problems that people have, the exercises can do wonders.

    Great hub with great information

  • freehans profile image

    freehans 6 years ago from Philippines

    It's very nice to know about foot gymnastics./ This hub is very useful and informative. Nice hub

  • profile image

    Marcel 6 years ago

    I didn't know till know that flatness of the feet could be painful. But thanks to your article I know and I also know what to do to relieve the pain.

  • profile image

    P90X Luver 6 years ago

    This is great! I have flat feet myself and it's not a big problem except when I wear flat shoes. I'm gonna try this to see if it helps, thanks.

  • profile image

    Marcel 6 years ago

    It is a good article. Well structered.

    The instructions are easy and simple to follow.

  • profile image

    ragdoll games 6 years ago

    great article.. now i need to get my feet working :)

  • windowjsas profile image

    windowjsas 6 years ago from New York

    great tips! i'm a dancer and my feet are always in need to a good stretch, even though they aren't flat

  • jeanie.stecher profile image

    jeanie.stecher 6 years ago from Seattle

    I have to admit that having a good footing will definitely help you in your daily activity. So it is best to have these exercises you mentioned to avoid later health problems. But the bottom line is that whether flat or not, what is important is we move around towards success or work.

  • GmaGoldie profile image

    Kelly Kline Burnett 6 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

    As a personal trainer, I try to stress the foot exercises - we forget all too often. Agree with helpful tip - needed in the hospital setting.

  • thehands profile image

    thehands 6 years ago

    I knew a girl who could turn door knobs and pick up soup cans with her feet. I call that having "monkey feet." Maybe that's the opposite of flat feet.

  • gidtset profile image

    gidtset 6 years ago

    Nice and funny approach to Foot Gymnastics. I might use some of your exercises. Great hub.

  • profile image

    Types of body 6 years ago

    This would be a great alternative for me before visiting my a doctor. Thanks for the article.

  • Rieke F. profile image

    Rieke F. 6 years ago

    Interesting article - flat feet or not - I'm unable to stack items with my toes ...... I know people able to do this and it's a nice game. Obviously not for everyone. :)

  • profile image

    Tinnnitus Cures 6 years ago

    Excellent information provided here. I am also having flat feet and I never knew about this until I read this page.

  • profile image

    Ankit 6 years ago

    It's a nice informative article.

  • profile image

    Dr. Ben Griffes 7 years ago

    Excellent points regarding the care of your feet. Having healthy feet keeps the whole body happy. Great hub.

  • lovelypaper profile image

    Renee S 7 years ago from Virginia

    Great hub. I am flat-footed but never really had any problems except for a few foot cramps from standing up all day at work.

  • GojiJuiceGoodness profile image

    GojiJuiceGoodness 7 years ago from Roanoke, Virginia

    I've got high arches too; I had never thought of having the opposite issue.

  • Jeniferr profile image

    Jeniferr 7 years ago from United States

    I've got high arches, nice to see how the other half lives. :)

  • profile image

    angela 7 years ago

    Nice tips Kathryn. I'll refer this hub to my sister who has flat feet

  • ciidoctor profile image

    ciidoctor 7 years ago

    good hub

  • heydave profile image

    heydave 7 years ago

    My sister has flat feet and has been having more trouble as she gets older. Great tips.

  • profile image

    KellyEngaldo 7 years ago

    This is a CRITICAL exercise. If I "ruled the world" I would mandate foot and ankle exercise daily for every hospital patient. Dr. Signori, the co-author of the Sough Beach Diet first introduced me to ankle exercises. These are critical for preventing trips and falls. Excellent subject. Very asute. As my clients will attest, my mantras are about ankles, breathing and resistance training. Thank you very much for sharing!

  • profile image

    Camas Articuladas 7 years ago

    Interesting! I like feet... So I like this hub!

  • profile image

    Free God Of War 7 years ago

    Very nice hub! I wouldn't expect to see a hub about Foot Gymnastics Exercises... That's why hubpages is absolutely wonderful!

  • Ms Re profile image

    Ms Re 7 years ago from Memphis, TN

    Informative and entertaining. Flat footer here...what is an arch again? Just kidding. Sounds like something else silly to do with my kids while secretly helping them and myself.

  • profile image

    allfreeads 7 years ago

    nice article,really helpful

  • explorer9360 profile image

    explorer9360 7 years ago

    Good stuff. Don't need it but I;m glad this info is easily available.

  • Sue Adams profile image

    Juliette Kando 7 years ago from Andalusia

    Nice, fun and useful. Just what I like. You might also like to read a closely related hub I wrote recently entitled:

    "The Feet You Walk On".

  • profile image

    EdenvaleShoppes 7 years ago

    Nice info.. in your Hub!!

    Thanks.

  • Princessa profile image

    Wendy Iturrizaga 7 years ago from France

    Thanks so much for this, the exercises sound like fun so I gather that they will be easy to do and I hope that they became a night-time game!

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