Anyone who knows me knows how much I love running. It’s a simple and inexpensive way to get amazing health benefits whether you jog for few minutes or pound the pavement for hours at a time.
Chasing my hobby has had its share of hurdles, one of them being my high foot arches. When I got into running in my twenties, I didn’t know why I kept experiencing pain in certain parts of my feet until a podiatrist pointed out my high arches were to blame. Since then, I’ve had to be extra aware of the problems I may face while running.
If you’ve been having similar problems with your feet, perhaps it’s time you paid more attention to your foot’s arch.
What Your Arches Mean For Your Overall Health
The arch, also known as the instep, is the curved part of the middle of the foot. One foot has three arches supported by the foot’s ligaments and tendons — most notably the plantar fascia connective tissue. The arch’s curved shape makes your foot flexible and literally puts a spring into your step, making it easier for you to walk and run.
We all don’t have the same arch type. The type of arch you have can affect your gait, your feet’s shape and size, as well as how pressure is distributed on the soles of your feet.
There are three different types of foot arches and each determines the kind of foot problems you are likely to experience:
1) Low or flat arches
This type of foot has a little arch definition (since the arches sit very close to the ground), making it flat. Although these arches make the feet very flexible, with supple tendons and relaxed muscles, they have a tendency to flatten and overpronate or roll inward, causing numerous problems.
Potential foot problems: Overpronation (where your arches collapse and put extra stress on other parts of the leg), plantar fasciitis (inflammation of the thick tissue at the bottom of the heel), and bunions are common issues with this arch type.
2) Normal arches
About 60 percent of people have this type of defined arches, making their feet biomechanically efficient and flexible since pressure gets evenly distributed.
Potential foot problems: Heel pain, which is mostly caused by wearing poorly-fitting shoes and metatarsalgia which is an overuse injury characterized by inflammation and pain in the ball of the foot where the metatarsal bones are found.
3) High arches
This kind of foot, also known as a cavus foot, is rigid, with a well-defined arch. Having a high arch means the foot has a smaller surface area to absorb impact, leading to excessive pressure being applied to the hindfoot and forefoot.
Potential foot problems: Plantar fasciitis, calluses, arch strain, claw toes, and heel pain.
Preventing And Managing Foot Pain
Here are some ways you can curb or minimize foot pain:
- Ensuring your footwear has a proper fit.
- Getting custom orthotics for maximum cushioning and foot support.
- Doing exercises that strengthen tendons and build leg muscles.
- Regularly indulging in a foot massage to relax your muscles.
Whether you are a runner or not, take good care of your feet.