How is it treated? continued...
Foot-strengthening exercises done with a towel and weights. See a picture of a towel curl exercise.
- Place a towel on the floor, and sit down in a chair in front of it with both feet resting flat on the towel at one end.
- Grip the towel with the toes of one foot (keep your heel on the floor and use your other foot to anchor the towel). Curl your toes to pull the towel toward you.
- Repeat with the other foot. To increase strength, later use 3 lb (1.5 kg) to 5 lb (2.5 kg) weights (such as a large can of fruit or vegetables) on the other end of the towel.
Calf-stretching exercises done with a towel. See a picture of a towel stretch exercise.
- Sit down on the floor or a mat with your feet stretched out in front of you.
- Roll up a towel lengthwise and then loop it over one foot (around the ball of your foot).
- Take one end of the towel in either hand and gently pull the towel towards your body to stretch the front of your foot. Repeat with the other foot.
Some people-especially competitive athletes, people who want to return to a heavy sports program, or people who are highly motivated-may choose more intensive strengthening and flexibility programs. A physical therapist or trainer can help supervise a program recommended by your sports medicine specialist or a foot specialist, such as an orthopedist or podiatrist.
Treatment with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), heat, or massage may help with foot pain and leg discomfort. If flatfoot is related to another condition, surgery or other treatment may be needed.