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Does the short foot exercise work?

There are many exercises that are used as part of the rehabilitation of foot problems. The aim of these exercises are to strengthen and stretch muscles as well as mobilize the joints. They are one of many tools that foot specialists use to manage a wide range of foot problems. One exercise that has been getting a lot of recent support is one called the short foot exercise. This exercise is done standing and the muscles in the arch of the foot are contracted to shorten the foot. This is claimed to strengthen the arch of the foot. If you believe some of the rhetoric online about this exercise, it can cure almost everything that can go wrong with the foot, which is obviously not the case.

The main problem with this exercise is the fanaticism and belief that so many have that it can cure so many of the problems that can go wrong with the foot, when there is actually no research evidence that it is useful for anything. Simply stating that something is useful and hoping that is it does not make it so. That is the logical fallacy of wishful thinking. For the short foot exercise to work it takes time to build up the strength. A lot of conditions improve with time, so there is no way of knowing if people got better purely because of the natural history or because the exercise did actually work. That does not mean that there is anything wrong with the exercise and that it should not be used. It may well be that the exercise is a very useful and helpful one. It just means that the research studies have not been done and too much faith should not be put in any treatment that lacks scientific research to support its use. By all means continue to use the short foot exercise, but use it in the context of these issues that are widely known about it.

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