When you see the cracked walls of a house, where should you look first to fix this issue? The foundation. And the same goes for your body. The feet are the foundation of the human body and having flat feet causes a domino effect of pain that travels from the heels to the knees and the hips.
Here are some exercises you can do to relieve the pain:
Tennis or golf ball rolls
Sit on a chair and place a tennis or golf ball under one foot. While maintaining a straight spine, roll the ball under the foot, especially on the arch. Do this for around 3 minutes before switching to the other foot.
Stand with both hands resting at shoulder level, or on a roll, chair, railing, or similar supports. Put a leg forward and extend the other behind you, with both heels pressed firmly on the floor. While keeping the spine straight, bend your front leg and push your body towards the wall or support, all with both heels on the ground. You will feel a stretch in the back leg and Achilles tendon. Hold the position for half a minute before switching the back and front legs. Stretch each side 4 times.
This exercise should be performed at the edge of a slightly elevated platform. Stand on a low chair, a step of a stair, or any such surface with your heels going past the edge and the arch of the feet directly over the edge. While standing up straight, lift your heels as high as you can, then hold this position for five seconds before lowering back down. Do 3 sets of 20 repetitions. Afterwards, hold your upper position, and quickly pulse up and down for half a minute straight.
Stand straight with both feet planted directly underneath your hips and all your toes pressed on the floor. Roll the weight of your body to the outer edges of the feet while lifting the arches up as far as you can at the same time. After the roll, release your feet back down and do 3 sets of 15 repetitions. This lets you work the muscles that supinate and lift the arches of your feet.
Sit on a chair with a towel under one foot. With your heel rooted on the ground, curl up your toes to scrunch up the towel by repetitively pressing the toes into the foot, and holding it for 2 to 3 seconds before releasing. The ball of your foot should always be pressed onto the ground or the towel, and be aware of the foot arch that you are exercising. Do 3 sets of 15 repetitions for each foot. You can switch feet between sets or finish the 3 sets before exercising the other foot.
The constant stress on your flat feet causes the body pains associated with it. So the best long-term solution to alleviate and prevent these aches is to wear support. Orthotic devices, such as motion control shoes and insoles for flat feet, improve the function and alignment of your feet while reducing stress on them.
If your flat feet are the result of poor form or technique, or overuse injuries, you can opt for physical therapy to correct them.
Surgery may be an option, but it is rarely recommended. Surgery for flat feet is usually necessary when they are caused by a tendon tear or rupture or a bone deformity. If you took measures to treat chronic pain from flat feet, you may also be recommended for surgery.
It may take several weeks of doing these exercises before you experience significant improvements. The key here is to regularly do these exercises and continue even after the pain has been lessened or eradicated. Pay attention to your posture, movements, and how you position your body when stationary. Most of all, talk to your doctor about how the best treatment for your flat feet.