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    Brief Medical History Overview

    Arch-pain when exercising

    Hi,
    I have flat feet, and find trainers cause pain when I'm exercising. Any shoe that has built in support for the arch hurts. So I wear flat shoes, or less that 2 inch heel with no arch support insoles. When I use my cross trainer I still get arch pain, after only 5 mins.

    Are there exercises I could do to help correct this?

    Also I was wondering which would be better for causing less pain? Flat soft shoes? or a heel less than 2 inches?

    Thanks

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  2. #2
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    Re: Arch-pain when exercising

    There is a school of thought amongst runners that 'less is more'. Some would argue that modern shoes are over engineered, causing us to develop wimpy feet and be reliant on passive structures for support.

    I also have flat and overpronating feet and wear orthotics. After hearing an argument for barefoot running, i decided to give it a bit of a go. My calves were so sore afterwards i feared i had done damage. But then i read that this is pretty normal because the calf and feet muscles have to work harder barefoot. I gave it another go and i wouldn't say that it's solved my problems yet but it definitely has helped. My calves and ankle muscles still feel tight after each run, but it gets less each time. Other runners report that this has helped to improve their arch through strengthening the supporting muscles.

    This is just my experience, so please adapt this to your current situation. If you have the opportunity to barefoot run anywhere, start off with very very small distances (probably less than 400m) and concentrate on good running form and maintaining the arch of your foot. Stop if you start to feel niggles in any muscles around the ankle because you don't want to overdo it. If barefoot running is not an option, trying running in flat or minimist shoes once or twice per week. Make sure you recover adequately between sessions. An added bonus to barefoot running is that it improves your running technique!

    Also almost forgot to add: your arch pain isn't necessarily a bad thing. If it's arch pain in a muscular sense when you are wearing flats then this could just be your foot muscles working overtime to support your arch. You may need to build up exercise time slowly to build up these muscles or have a bit of a break, massage your arches and keep going. If the arch pain isn't a muscular pain/spasm feeling then it would be a good idea to get it looked at by someone qualified. I find that skating gives me awful arch pain but this is due to foot cramps and my podiatrist recommended this to build up my foot strength


  3. #3
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    Re: Arch-pain when exercising

    Hi There,

    Arch pain isn't uncommon but if not addressed can lead to more difficult issues to treat such as chronic Wikipedia reference-linkplantar fasciitis or heel spurs. As a physio, a keen runner and a hypermobile overpronator i have had similar issues personally, and treated many clients with the same. If you are going to wear corrective devices or sports shoes that change the position of your foot when you are exercising it's a good idea to get a good sports podiatrist to examine your foot position with and without the devices to make sure they're not going to do more harm than good. Then it's a matter of getting used to them... I often explain to clients that getting used to orthotics can feel like you're walking on tennis balls for a few days, usually wear them in for half an hour each day and increase by 15 minutes daily until you can comfortably wear them all day.

    For you, this sounds like a reasonable option in that you're only trying to wear sports shoes for a short time and doing impact work in them straight away. You would be better off getting used to shoes/orthotics that support your arches all the time.

    As far as exercises go, there are a few things that can help strengthen and stretch the arch of your foot. To stretch it out I tend to recommend rolling a golf ball around under your foot to work out all the "crunchy" bits along the arch. For strengthening the exercise is generally referred to as "doming" (it's a bit tricky)... you sit with your foot flat on the floor and relaxed, then you try to JUST lift up the arch of your foot gently without crunching your toes into the floor. the muscle which does this is called tibialis posterior and you can feel it working if you rest your fingertips just on the inside of the border of your shin bone about 1/3 the way up your leg (google the anatomy.. it's easier if you have a picture!). you can also do other strengthening of the intrinsic foot muscles by practicing scrunching up a towel with your toes, or picking up marbles with your toes. Also stretching the calf muscles is generally necessary.

    That's quite a long winded response... hope it helps.

    msk101


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    Re: Arch-pain when exercising

    This one is basically a choice of school's of thought.

    I believe bare-foot training is under-appreciated and ready to blossom as more therapists pick up on its importance for non=dysfunctional foot issues

    I have not in my experience discovered any benefit in long term users of orthotics ( in a muscular sense), rather only in cases of physical deformity, leg length discrepency etc.


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    Re: Arch-pain when exercising

    Thanks for all the replies, which I've been reading and applying with interest. I have a pair of slippers that lace, made of suede, that have NO sole other than a thin layer of suede. I've been using these to train in since reading the first reply. Yes it still hurts, but from a 3 minutes-to-pain start I'm now up to 15 mins before it hurts. Proving it's muscular pain. It doesn't cramp, but feels very similar to cramp pain. Luckily I don't have any issues with my calf/leg as I'm a devil for walking barefoot at home all the time. That doesn't hurt my foot, but standing for any length does. I once tried Tai chi and had serious arch pain doing that.
    foot exercise wise, I'm struggling to do doming. It doesn't feel or look like anything is happening unless I scrunch my toes. I am spending time each day scrunching a towel with my toes so hopefully that'll help. So far I've been unable to pick anything up with my toes, but I keep trying.
    Thanks for all your suggestions
    Lesley


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    Re: Arch-pain when exercising

    I have been experiencing arch pain when working out with my trainer, particularly when we do upper body weight work, which seems odd. The pain is confined to my right foot. My right leg is one and a half inches longer than my left leg, the result of a decades old car accident. I wear a corrective lift on my left shoe, but I do not experience arch pain in that foot. I don't know whether I am developing Wikipedia reference-linkplantar fasciitis or what, but I'd love to know why I am having this pain and what I can do about it. It even hurts when I come home from the gym and take off my shoes. My arch will cramp up as well some days at work when I am on my feet a lot. Back in spring of '08, I damaged my right Achilles tendon and spent 4 months in an air boot, so I do not know if this arch pain is related to that old injury. I just want to know what is going on and what I can do about this frustrating arch pain that occasionally kicks up.


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    Re: Arch-pain when exercising

    My friend also suggested it, how much does it cost?


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    Re: Arch-pain when exercising

    Hello! Maybe you are exercising too much. Arch pain happens when there is inflammation in the ligament that connects the front of your foot to your heel.



 
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