How to Strengthen the Transverse Metatarsal Arch

Several muscles support the arches of your feet.
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The tranverse metatarsal arch spans the width of the foot and is supported by a variety of muscles, ligaments and tendons, including the interossei, adductor hallucis and peroneus -- or fibularis -- longus. The arch works in conjunction with other arches of the foot to withstand force, absorb shock and prevent excessive spreading of the foot during weight-bearing exercise. Simple foot exercises can help strengthen and stabilize the arch, improving your stability and reducing your risk of injury.

    Remove your shoes and socks, and walk around barefoot for five minutes to increase circulation to your feet. Sit in a chair and draw the alphabet in the air with your big toe to warm up your foot muscles and prepare your feet and ankles for activity.

    Remain seated in the chair, and spread out a hand towel on the floor in front of you. Place your right foot in the center of the towel. Grab the towel with the toes of your right foot and draw the towel toward you, scrunching your arch. Release the towel, repeat 10 times, then relax the foot briefly. Repeat for a total of three sets, then switch to your left foot.

    Place a marble, pen or other small object on the floor near your feet. Grab and lift the object with the toes of your right foot, hold it briefly, then allow it to fall to the floor. Repeat the exercise 10 times, then rest briefly. Complete three sets of 10 repetitions before switching to your left foot.

    Press your right heel into the floor and raise your right forefoot off the floor. Isolate the big toe and tap it on the floor repeatedly while keeping the remaining toes still. Tap 10 times, then rest the foot briefly. Raise all the toes again and tap the four smaller toes on the floor 10 times while keeping the big toe still. Repeat the exercise two times, then switch to your left foot.

    Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you and your knees facing the ceiling. Tie the ends of a resistance band together and loop the band around both feet. Separate your feet to remove slack. Rotate the balls of your feet outward and upward, pressing into the band. Hold for 10 seconds, then relax your feet. Repeat 10 times.

    Stand with your feet together. Tighten your abdominal muscles and roll your feet outward. Balance on the outsides of your feet and walk in place or around the room for 30 seconds. Rest for 30 seconds, then repeat the exercise two times.

    Loop a resistance band around a stationary object -- such as the leg of a couch -- and tie the ends of the band together. Stand with the anchored side of the band to your left and loop the free end of the band around your right ankle. Move away from the object until the band is taut. Grasp a nearby surface for light support and rest your left foot alongside your right ankle. Rise slowly onto the ball of the foot, keeping your right instep directly over your second toe. Hold briefly, then slowly lower your heel. Repeat 10 times, then switch to your left foot.

    Things You'll Need

    • Firm, sturdy chair

    • Hand towel

    • Fat marker

    • Resistance band


    • After exercising your feet, massage the soles manually or roll them out on a tennis ball to prevent or relieve soreness.


    • Avoid exercises that cause foot pain.

      If you have a foot condition or have injured your foot in the past, speak to your doctor or physical therapist about the advisability of specific foot exercises.

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