Don’t you hate it when the elastic wears out on your socks and they start falling down? That pair is soon headed for your local recycler or the trash bin, and you are headed to the store for a replacement. Your posterior tibial tendon (PTT) is a stretchy band of tissue that helps hold up your arch. If it becomes too stretched out, the bones in your feet will start to sag like that old pair of socks, and you may end up with flat feet. Unfortunately, when this tendon wears out, it’s not so easy to get rid of and buy a new one!
In 2006, an article in Foot and Ankle International outlined an extensive orthotic and resistance exercise program that allowed many participants to rejuvenate their PTT over a period of several months. You can read a summary of the article here. The protocol used braces to stabilize the injured structure and low-resistance, repeated movements to build up the tissue again.
The value of exercise to rebuild damaged tissues has been known for centuries, and using physical therapy after injuries to regain full use of your body has become commonplace. The same principle could help you with adult-acquired flatfoot. Check with us first, to make sure the following exercises are right for you. These movements should never cause pain when performed correctly.
Sit with one ankle resting on the other knee. Slowly pull the foot back and point it forward 5-10 times, then repeat with the other foot.
Now slowly circle your foot clockwise 360 degrees. Then reverse directions. Do this a few times with each foot.
Finally, stand with your feet lined up several inches apart. Slowly rise on your toes and then sink down again. Do 5 reps to start with and gradually increase as your muscles and tendons get stronger.
If you have painful flat feet, let us take a look at what’s causing them and get you started on a treatment plan today. Exercises like these may be part of it, but there are many other things we can try as well. Call Rocky Mountain Foot & Ankle Center at (303) 423-2520, schedule a visit with our expert podiatrists at one of our Denver area offices, and give your feet a lift!