High arches can result from congenital abnormality, neurological disorders, and trauma. Stretching and exercising the muscles of the foot, strengthening the ankles and improving motor neuron recruitment in the toes, will help the condition. Improving flexibility and overall posture is important, as high arches do not properly support the body.
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High arches are visible when standing barefoot - the lateral side of the foot and back of the heel have to support the entire body. This places additional pressure on the pelvis and can lead to postural problems. When running, the side of the foot hits the ground first and normal pronation is not present.
Stretching the bottom of the foot helps to loosen the connective tissue, which counteracts the tight ligaments at the top of the arch. Warm up by walking barefoot, then sit with legs straight out in front. Hold each end of a resistance band or towel wrapped around the base of the toes, and pull back gently, bending the toes. Hold for 30 seconds. Stretch the hips by placing the toes of one foot on the opposite knee, make a "figure 4" with the lower body. Hold for 30 seconds, then repeat with the opposite foot.
Standing barefoot, pick up a golf ball with the toes, hold it for 20 seconds, then release and use the toes of the other foot to pick up the golf ball. For individuals with balance problems, this exercise may be done sitting in a chair. For those with muscle weakness, picking up a washcloth substitutes for the golf ball. Standing on the ball of the foot for a few seconds, ballerina style, will stretch the toe ligaments, and strengthen the ankle.
When To Seek Medical Attention
If needle like pain is present at the bottom of the foot, or numbness and insensitivity to heat or cold, neuropathy is present and a doctor needs to determine the cause. If one foot has a more pronounced high arch, consult a foot specialist as surgery or orthotics may be needed to correct the condition.