Tight arches – they hurt, and no matter how badly you want to stretch them, there's really only one type of motion that does the trick. Luckily, though, there are a few different ways you can perform this motion. Try them all, and see which works best for you.
Stretches and More for Tight Arches
If you have a sharp pain in your arch, avoid stretching and get a medical opinion, since you might need rest more than anything. For a dull pain that improves with stretching, though, try this: Sit in a chair with your right foot up on your left knee. Grap your toes with your right hand and gently pull toward your right knee until you get the perfect amount of stretch. Release and repeat two times, then switch legs and repeat.
Stand with the balls of both feet on the edge of a step or similar stable object. Lower one heel as far as you comfortably can, until you get a good stretch in your arch. Hold for about 30 seconds, then switch feet. Repeat three times.
While doing these exercises, notice whether the back of your calf feels tight. If your Achilles tendon is too tight it can contribute to strain on the foot, especially the arch. If you have ongoing arch problems, consider adding some tendon stretches to your routine. For example, stand facing a wall at arms-length, with your palms against it and both feet pointing forward. Step back with one foot, then lean into the wall until you feel a stretch in the back of your leg. Hold for 30 seconds, switch legs, then repeat two more times.
Take care of your feet all the time. Besides incorporating foot and leg stretches into your routine several times a day, there are a few other things you can do for your tight arches, too. Make sure you wear good shoes that aren't worn down when exercising or walking long distances. Also, you have an excuse to ask for a foot massage. If there are no volunteers, you can easily do an arch massage yourself, while performing the first stretch with your hands or by standing and rolling your foot over a tennis ball.
Laura Gee has a B.A. in history and anthropology, but now spends more time blogging and producing web content. She has worked and/or trained as an illustrator, crafter, caterer, yoga teacher, child-care provider and massage therapist, and she loves to travel when she gets a chance.