Are you part of the 20 percent of people who have high arches? Do you notice a lot of foot or ankle pain when you are exercising – and especially when you are doing intense, boot camp-style workouts?
High arches increase your risk of developing a variety of foot and ankle conditions, including plantar fasciitis, calluses, and claw toes. People with high arches are also more prone than others to chronic ankle instability, which increases the risk of experiencing ankle sprains.
You may have high arches, but that does not mean you cannot still enjoy your favourite boot camp workouts. You just need to take some steps (pardon the pun) to make sure you are staying safe and preventing injuries.
Listed below are four tips that will help you work out safely with high arches.
How to Tell if You Have High Arches
- Arch pain;
- ‘Weak’ or unstable ankles;
- Calluses on the soles of your feet; and/or
There are a few different ways you can go about determining whether or not high arches are the source of your problems. You can visit a podiatrist to have your feet examined, or you can visit a shoe store that offers arch analysis.
One of the easiest ways to get an idea of the height of your arch, though, is to simply get your foot wet and step on the ground or a piece of cardboard (see picture above. If there is no water where your arch should be, that’s a good indication that you have high arches and they may be contributing to your issues.
How to Workout Safely with High Arches
Once you have figured out that you do, in fact, have high arches, be sure to take these four steps to keep your feet and ankles safe while you’re exercising.
1. Strengthen Your Feet and Ankles
There are lots of exercises you can do that will help you build strength in your feet and ankles. Some of the best exercises to try include:
- Towel stretch: Loop a towel around the ball of your foot, then flex your foot and pull the towel back to stretch your toes and arches.
- Toe lifts: Stand with your feet flat on the ground. Then, raise just the toes up off the ground and slowly lower them back down one by one.
- Golf ball pick-up: Use your toes to pick up a golf ball and place it in a box or bucket. You can also do this with a smaller ball like marble if a golf ball is too challenging.
2. Massage Your Feet Regularly
If you deal with a lot of tension or cramping in the arches of your feet, regular massages can help loosen them up and improve mobility.
It is also helpful to massage the muscles in the lower legs, too. If there is tension in the feet, it can create tension in the legs and lead to soreness throughout the body.
You can massage your feet at legs by yourself at home with a golf, tennis, or lacrosse ball and foam roller. This is an affordable and convenient option for people who deal with frequent or chronic pain or stiffness. You can also spring for a professional massage once or twice a month to experience deeper relief.
3. Use Orthotics
To get extra support while you are working out, try wearing a good pair of orthotics that will support your foot and absorb shock when you are jumping or running.
Some things to keep in mind when choosing orthotics include:
- Avoid overly cushioned or rigid orthotics – opt for a semi-rigid style instead for maximum comfort.
- Choose a full insole for the best fit and greatest amount of support.
- If you do decide to get insoles with extra cushioning, make sure they do not take up too much space in your shoe – if your shoe does not fit properly, you will end up with more pain and discomfort.
4. Protect Your Ankles
Finally, you may also need to take steps to protect your ankles. This is especially true for people who deal with chronic ankle instability and frequent sprains or other injuries.
If you wear an ankle brace while working out, you will get some extra support and stability, especially when you do higher impact movements. You can also try wearing shoes with a higher top. They provide your ankle with additional support and help keep your feet from rolling to one side.
Ultimately, if you are unsure speak to an appropriately qualified healthcare professional.