If you're experiencing the pain that can come from having flat feet, you need to do exercises that massage and strengthen the arches -- thereby "building" an arch by building strength in your foot. Exercises such as pointing and flexing the foot can help build that arch, but a basic tennis ball massage can increase the blood flow to the area and cut down on the adhesions that lead to fallen arches. Yoga teacher Aadil Palkhivala of "Yoga Journal" recommends massaging the arches as if you're "cultivating an arch with your thumbs," though you can also try a tennis ball to get a similar effect.
If you're having significant prolonged pain due to fallen arches, it's important to talk to your doctor about solutions such as orthotic shoes, physical therapy or medication.
Sit at the edge of a chair and place one ankle on the opposite thigh to expose the bottom of the foot.
Roll the tennis ball up and down over the arch of the foot, pressing in a little to make the massage more intense. If that type of massage is not very painful, move onto the next steps. If it is painful, ease off the pressure a little until you find an amount that's comfortable. Roll the ball over the area for about two minutes and then switch sides.
Stand up and place your hands on the side of a chair or table for stability. Place the tennis ball under your arch.
Place some of your weight onto the ball and then move your foot forward and backward. If that's painful, take a little weight off the foot and try again. Find a comfortable amount of pressure and roll the ball up and down and to the sides of the arch for about two minutes. Repeat the massage with the other foot.
- If you're having significant prolonged pain due to fallen arches, it's important to talk to your doctor about solutions such as orthotic shoes, physical therapy or medication.
Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.