Whether you watched some random internet video warning you about the risks of injuring or collapsing your arch. Or you simply developed a spontaneous interest in stretching random parts of your body, stretching your arches is a good way to ward off common health problems associated with this part of your body.
Though you may have never even considered that your arch would need to be stretched, taking preventative measures here can actually increase the health of your feet overall.
Given the fact that you need your feet to carry the weight of the literal burden that is your body in most cases, it is probably always a good idea to show them a little love.
In fact, treating your feet well and making sure that they are strengthened and stretched can actually alleviate pain all over the body. Your feet are surprisingly powerful. It’s time to treat them with some respect.
The anatomy of your arch
You might be surprised to learn that the singular arch of your foot is actually plural. Yes, after years of exclusively saying “arch” and assuming there was only one, we are here to inform you that your foot actually has three arches.
The arches in your foot come together to form a triangle of arches that interconnect to help support your body, give you the ability to spring up, and all around support the positioning of your body and every bit of muscle and bone within it.
These three arches are literally carrying the weight of your world. For the science nerds among us, the two sides of the triangle that reach from the ball of your foot to your heel are called the medial longitudinal arch and the lateral longitudinal arch.
Connecting these two sides across is the anterior transverse arch. These three sections of tarsal and metatarsal bones are supported by various tendons and ligaments to keep your feet in line even when you subject them to walking in shoes with no arch support for ten hours at a music festival.
Reasons to stretch the arch of your foot
As far as places to stretch go, the arch of your foot is probably not on the top of your list when you prioritize.
For most people, the arch of the foot is not a place that anyone really thinks about until they begin to get older or something goes wrong. A common arch-related health concern is plantar fasciitis, which results from an inflamed ligament that supports your arch.
Stretching this area can help to prevent this kind of condition and can even alleviate symptoms if you come down with it. Since we all spend so much time on our feet, it makes sense why stretching this crucial part of our bodies might benefit us in the long run.
It can also be preventative when it comes to potential injuries while running or walking.
- Rolling Your Arch — Rolling your arch is a process that involves finding something that can be rolled under your arch like a tennis ball or that will allow you to put pressure on the arch in a constructive way. Think of this as an arch massage. You will place the item under your arch and roll your foot back and forth across it for a few minutes.
- Stretching Your Plantar Fascia — This easy stretch involves simply grabbing your toes and gently pulling back until you feel a stretch in your arch. You can hold this position for up to thirty seconds, at which point you will want to release your toes and let your foot return to a normal position for a short rest. This can be repeated multiple times with each foot to ensure a good stretch.
- Stretching With A Strap — Begin by sitting on the ground with your legs pointing out in front of you. Using a strap or comparable item like a belt or towel, wrap the item around the top of your foot and then slowly begin to pull on the strap to draw your toes and the ball of your foot back towards your body. When you begin to feel a comfortable stretch, hold the position for up to thirty seconds. After that time has passed, release your feet and then repeat the process a few more times as needed on each foot.
- Massaging your Arch — An excellent way to stretch out your arch is the act of massaging it with your fingers. In order to do this as effectively as possible, you will want to begin by grabbing your toes and pulling them back towards your body to experience a light stretch. This will allow you to massage the appropriate parts of your arch and will fully expose them to you. With your arch lightly stretched, use your fingers to press on the arch region of your foot. Your thumb is an excellent tool when it comes to getting good pressure on the area. You can take your thumb and press and rub along the arch of your foot from heel to toe. Repeat this process as needed, sometimes releasing your foot to allow it to recover for a short duration.
Stretching the arch of your foot is a pretty awesome way to alleviate some of the things that you might read about online when you wake up in the middle of the night and spontaneously become convinced that you have some sort of medical condition based off of a pain that you might or might not have actually experienced.
As is true with most parts of your body when it comes to exercise, stretching your arch is an excellent way to stop potential conditions or injuries that might be troublesome and painful.
In order to get the most out of your stretching, take it slow and listen to your body.
It should be considered a given, but if you try to stretch out this part of your body and experience any kind of pain, it absolutely best to stop immediately and consult a medical doctor as needed.
This sort of stretch can be most helpful when used as a preventative process. Also, it feels kind of awesome.