Flat feet, also known as fallen arches or pes planus, is a condition where the arches of the feet collapse, causing the entire sole to touch the floor. Various factors can contribute to this problem like genetics, certain medical conditions, or any injury too. Yoga can be beneficial for flat feet by strengthening the muscles in the feet and ankles, improving flexibility, and correcting posture.
Factors contributing to flat feet
- Genetics: Sometimes, flat feet can be inherited. If someone in your family has flat feet, you might be more prone to having them too.
- Weak Arch Development: In some cases, the arches of the feet may not develop properly during childhood, leading to flat feet.
- Injuries: Fractures or damage to the tendons and ligaments supporting the arches of the feet can result in fallen arches.
- Medical Conditions: Certain conditions like arthritis, diabetes, or conditions that affect muscle and nerve function can contribute to flat feet.
- Pregnancy: During pregnancy, hormonal changes and weight gain can cause the arches to flatten.
Flat feet can sometimes be asymptomatic and not cause any issues. However, in other cases, they might lead to symptoms like:
- Pain or discomfort in the feet, especially after standing or walking for extended periods.
- Swelling along the inside of the ankle.
- Overpronation (rolling inward) of the feet while walking or running.
- Uneven shoe wear.
How to treat flat feet?
In severe cases or if flat feet cause significant pain or mobility issues, a doctor might recommend surgery to reconstruct the arches or correct underlying structural problems. It’s important to consult a healthcare professional, especially if flat feet cause discomfort or interfere with daily activities. They can provide proper diagnosis and recommend appropriate treatment options based on individual needs.
But with mild symptoms or newly arising problem it can be controlled or reversed back with some yoga practices and asanas. Treatment for flat feet often involves managing symptoms and may include:
- Orthotic Devices: Arch supports or custom-made orthotic inserts can help support the arches and alleviate discomfort.
- Physical Therapy: Strengthening exercises and stretches can help improve foot strength and flexibility.
- Proper Footwear: Wearing supportive shoes with good arch support and cushioning can reduce symptoms.
- Weight Management: Maintaining a healthy weight can reduce pressure on the feet.
Yoga asanas to treat flat feet
Yoga can be an effective way to strengthen the muscles in the feet and ankles, improve flexibility, and alleviate some of the discomfort associated with flat feet. Here are some yoga poses that can help:
- Tadasana (Mountain Pose): Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart. Lift and spread your toes, then press them down, engaging the arches of your feet. Distribute your weight evenly across both feet and feel the ground beneath you.
- Vriksasana (Tree Pose): Stand on one leg and bring the sole of the other foot to either the calf or inner thigh of the standing leg. Avoid placing the foot directly on the knee. This pose helps strengthen the ankles and improves balance.
- Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose): Start on your hands and knees, lift your hips up and back, creating an inverted V shape. Press your palms and heels towards the ground while lengthening through the spine. This pose stretches the calves and the soles of the feet.
- Virasana (Hero Pose): Kneel down and sit back between your feet. This pose helps stretch the feet, ankles, and thighs. Use a cushion or block under your seat if needed.
- Anantasana (Side-Reclining Leg Lift): Lie on your side, supporting your head with your hand. Lift the top leg and hold the big toe with your fingers, extending the leg upward. This pose strengthens the ankles and improves balance.
- Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend): Stand with feet hip-width apart, bend forward from the hips, and reach for your shins, ankles, or the floor. This pose stretches the calves and hamstrings, and when done mindfully, can provide a gentle stretch for the feet.
Remember, it’s essential to focus on alignment and engage the muscles of the feet and ankles during these poses. Yoga practiced regularly, in combination with other treatments like orthotics or physical therapy, can contribute to improved foot strength, flexibility, and reduced discomfort associated with flat feet. Always listen to your body and consult a yoga instructor or healthcare professional if you have any concerns or specific conditions related to your feet.