There are a number of
exercises that have been suggested as helping "fallen arches",
but the evidence is that they do not help (that does not mean
they should not be done as many exercises can help some people).
Going to get a bit technical here
to explain this.
* some "experts"
recommend exercises to strengthen the muscles in the arch to help
* these muscles generally
run from the heel bone to the bases of the toes, so theoretically
they could raise the arch
* research studies that
have used needles in these muscles to see how they function when
walking show that they do not start contracting until just about
the time that the heel comes off the ground
* making these muscles
stronger with exercises is not going to do a lot of good, if the
arches have "fallen" while the heel is still on the
ground (which most are)
* also the muscles are
small and during propulsion (push off), a very large amount of
force goes through the foot - can having them stronger really
resist those forces?
an "expert" advises exercise, ask them about this and
where is their evidence?.
It is also worth noting
that strengthening exercises will help in two situations:
* the use of exercises
is probably good anyway to keep the foot healthy.
* if the cause of the
problem is contributed to by weak muscles (which is uncommon),
then the exercises will help - that's why the diagnosis of the
cause is important.
Tight calf muscles are a common cause
of a pronated foot that does cause
the arch to lower (fall), so stretching these muscles plays a
very important role.
not believe anyone when they say that arch supports or foot orthotics
weaken the foot. There is no evidence either way and there are
good arguments both ways. If an "expert" tells you this
- ask them for the evidence.