How can you tell if you have high arches? Let us count the ways:
- Shoes fit poorly because the top of your instep rubs on the tongue of shoes.
- When standing up the weight of the body falls predominantly on the outside of the feet. (Not a guarantee but a clue)
- Your toes claw up because they can’t straighten.
- The outsides of the hips (TFL) tighten when you try to press evenly through the whole foot.
While these cues might indicate that the arches of the feet are too high, all of these things can happen for other reasons as well. But you have to start somewhere when it comes to an exploration of the body.
How to tell if you have high arches? Learn about foot anatomy and see for yourself. Three are three arches in the feet– an inner arch, an outer arch, and a transverse arch that spans the middle of the foot. The strength and support of these arches depend on the tone of the ligaments within the feet, and the muscles of the calves. The inner and transverse arches, which are both involved in feet with high arches, are built in large part by the tone of three muscles— the peroneus longus for the transverse arch and the tibialis posterior and anterior for the inner arch.
The peroneus longus begins just below the outside the knee, travels down and around the ankle bone to slip under the foot, ending on the medial cuneiform and the first metatarsal bones at the base of the big toe. Engagement of the peroneus longus helps to lift the transverse arch but if that muscle is too tight it can pull the bones that it connects to towards each other and up as well. One hallmark of high arched feet are the bones basically lock together with no room for articulation.
The tibialis posterior and anterior form a sort of stirrup to support the powerful weight bearing inner arch but if the stirrup is pulled to tight the arch is pulled up with it.
There are twenty-six bones in the feet with thirty-three possible movements. The feet are meant to move and adapt to any surface that they encounter. A high arched foot suffers from the bones that are pulled too close together and can’t move and adapt as well as they could.
There is no specific test for how to tell if you have high arches but you can often see by simply looking at the foot it. I really appreciate the image of the three footprints because it can be pretty alarming to imagine that little of your foot hitting the floor if your arches are high.
Here are links to a few exercises that can help you start to change the nature of your feet- rolling a tennis ball, cleaning your house with your feet, and deep calf stretching. There are more in the pipeline but these are a good place to start.