October is the month for ghosts and goblins and all things spooky—although runners are usually less afraid of ghouls than of injuries that can keep them off their feet. Don’t let having high arches make you scared to run! You can still lace up those running shoes; just make sure you do it carefully so it doesn’t result in an injury.

How do you discover what type of arch you have? One quick and easy way is by taking the “wet test.” You can do this by simply putting your foot in some water and then stepping down on a brown piece of paper (a regular paper grocery bag works just fine). If you can see all of your foot that means you have flat feet. If you can see the ball of your foot with about half of the middle connecting it to the heel you have neutral arches. If the line connecting the ball to the heel is non-existent on the paper, that means you have high arches. Knowing which type of arch you have is important because it can help you avoid injuries.

Runners with elevated arches need to take some preventative measures against injuries. This starts with your footwear: you will be looking for a neutral cushioning shoe. This means that the shoe offers extra cushioning in the midsole, rather than medial support. Wearing this type of shoe will reduce the forces that impact your foot when running.

If you don’t protect your arch this way, you could end up with an overuse injury like stress fractures or shin splints. Keep in mind that if your arches are high it’s a good idea to build up the strength in the muscles surrounding your shins, because this will also lessen the impact on your feet.

If you have more questions regarding arch type and running, call Dr. Mitchell Wachtel at (978) 794-8406 to schedule an appointment with at one of our offices in North Andover, Haverhill, or Lowell. It will help put your fears to rest when you know you are being proactive about your feet.