Can Yoga Help Your Flat Feet?

An individual with flat feet has no arch in one or both of their feet, causing the bottom of their foot to directly touch the ground (per Cleveland Clinic). People don't spend much of their free time thinking about the arches on the bottom of their feet. However, some may wonder what the purpose of them is anyway. Turns out, people may struggle with foot pain and discomfort throughout the day due to their flat feet, and they are looking for ways to relieve it.

It's possible to develop flat feet during both childhood and later in life. Interestingly, all babies have flat feet at birth, and arches in the feet normally develop at about six years old. Nevertheless, arches can collapse later in adulthood and become fallen arches, which can be painful for the individual. Keep in mind, flat feet are possible in some children with down syndrome and other genetic disorders (per KidsHealth). Additionally, they may be associated with conditions that affect muscles, joints, nerves, and the rest of the body, such as cerebral palsy, as reported by the National Health Service (NHS).

In many cases, flat feet don't require treatment as long as they aren't painful or interfering with daily life. However, there are treatment options available for flat feet, such as physical therapy, for those experiencing discomfort (per Mayo Clinic). In fact, some yoga enthusiasts may be wondering if yoga would be an effective treatment for flat feet or if it would only worsen the pain.

Certain poses may help

Once having learned more about flat feet, you may wonder if yoga is safe for those who have the condition. It turns out that a moderate yoga practice may be able to be tolerated by individuals with flat feet. "As long as you're not having pain, and progress increases in activities or exercise in moderation, there's no reason to limit yourself," physical therapist Michael Bogden told Cleveland Clinic. Furthermore, he explained that exercise actually strengthens muscles and provides structural support that was lacking before in flat feet. You should, however, monitor any pain symptoms during the activity and keep in touch with your doctor.

Luckily, one yoga technique called virasana is believed to strengthen the arches of the feet by stretching the top of the foot, according to Health and Yoga. Regular practice of the virsana pose over a series of many months may help develop proper arches in the feet. Virsana, meaning hero in Sanskrit, has a number of benefits, including stretching the ankles, thighs, and knees (per Yoga Journal). It could be challenging for some to perform this pose at first. Therefore, the experts at Arhanta Yoga recommend performing it gently and heeding your body's signals that it's time to stop and take a break.

Other techniques that may relieve pain associated with flat feet include the warrior I pose and triangle pose (per YogaUOnline). It's thought that these poses, in particular, could help lift the inner arch of the foot.