Flat Feet and the Role of Muscular System in Arch Support

The Importance of Strengthening Foot and Ankle Musculature for Arch Control

Pes planus is a condition characterized by a low or non-existent arch at the inside of the foot. For some individuals pes planus may be primarily structural, present from a young age and carrying through into adulthood. For others, pes planus can develop secondary to trauma to the foot or nervous system or onset gradually due to overuse with faulty biomechanics, muscle imbalance and/or weakness. Some people with pes planus or “flat feet” are completely asymptomatic, while others experience pain or dysfunction locally at the foot and/or up the chain at the knees, hips, or back.

Building Functional Strength From the Ground up

The medial longitudinal arch of the foot is created by several bony structures shaped to create an arch with support of ligaments, connective tissues and muscles. The ligaments and connective tissues of the foot provide passive support, while the muscular system can provide more dynamic support for the foot during standing, walking, and other activities. These muscles and their corresponding tendons are involved in supporting the arch: posterior tibialis, anterior tibialis, toe flexors, peroneus longus and intrinsic foot musculature (ie: the small stabilizing muscles deep in the foot). These muscles are responsible for various actions at the ankle and foot and are perfect targets for strengthening to help build up the arch’s support system.

foot diagram

Disclaimer: If you continue to experience unbearable, reoccurring pain, be sure to schedule an appointment with your physician or join our physical therapy family and allow us to help you regain function.

Iron Health is located in Briarcliff Manor and the greater Westchester NY area; our neighboring towns include Chappaqua, Mount Kisco, Tarrytown, Irvington and Pleasantville.

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