Short Foot Exercise

Short Foot Exercise

About the Short Foot Exercise

The short foot exercise is a technique recommended by Czech physiologist and postural expert Vladimir Janda, MD to build strength and endurance in the muscles that support the arch.


adductor hallucis, foot pain

The short foot exercise primarily strengthens the abductor hallucis muscle, an important dynamic stabilizer of the foot. Research has shown that the abductor hallucis muscle is also a dynamic elevator of the medial arch, meaning that strengthening the muscle may reduce or eliminate the collapsing of the arch associated with flat feet.

While the original exercise was described as being performed in a sitting position, a recent study demonstrated that muscle activity of the abductor hallucis is much greater when when the exercise was performed from a single-leg standing position as measured by EMG.

Observe if your arch flattens out and if the foot becomes longer. The weaker the intrinsic muscles (a group of muscles located deeper in the foot), the more action you will see. The main idea with the exercise is to make your foot shorter through a higher arch. Do not curl your toes or turn your foot outward! You will be very tempted to do so, when you feel that you have no control over the correct muscles. Focus and look for them. Once you find how to control them, practice any time you have a moment of standing. Shorten your foot, elongate. Shorten, elongate. Always keep your metatarsals down on the floor.

short foot exercise, foot pain

How to perform the short foot exercise:

Step 1: Sit in a chair with both feet placed flat on the floor

Step 2: Raise the arch of your foot by sliding your big toe toward your heel without curling your toes or lifting your heel

Step 3: Hold the position for 6 seconds then relax and repeat for the recommended number of set and repetitions. Variations can be performed by moving the feet farther away from you or turning the foot inward or outward to challenge the muscles from different positions.

Step 4: Once you feel comfortable performing the short foot movement you can gradually progress to performing the exercise while standing and then eventually from a single-leg standing position.

When mastering this exercise:

You will improve the control over your intrinsic feet muscles, which will help to create more stable base of support for your legs, hips and the entire body. The exercise can be difficult in the beginning, because you won’t be able to find or control those muscles. With little practice, you will be able to do it any time and in progressively more difficult exercises.


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