What is the short foot exercise?

The “short foot exercise” refers to a specific foot designed to strengthen the muscles of the arch of the foot. It does have it fanatical adherents that ascribe magical and mystical “cure all foot ailments” properties to the exercise.

How to do the short foot exercise:

  1. Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Make sure your toes are relaxed and not gripping the floor.
  3. Start by gently pressing the ball of your foot into the ground, just behind your toes.
  4. While maintaining this pressure, try to shorten the distance between the ball of your foot and your heel by activating the muscles in your foot.
  5. You should feel a gentle arching of your foot and a slight inward rotation of your ankle.
  6. Hold this position for a few seconds, while maintaining normal breathing.
  7. Relax and repeat the exercise for a prescribed number of repetitions or as advised by your healthcare professional.

The short foot exercise is useful, there is no doubt about that (and there is some evidence supporting it), but just the claims that get made for it exceed what is supported by the evidence. For example, it is probably going to be useful for those with a forefoot supinatus, but will do nothing for someone who has an osseous forefoot varus.

About the author

University lecturer, clinician, runner, cynic, researcher, skeptic, forum admin, woo basher, clinician, rabble-rouser, blogger, dad