The arches of my feet are popping again.
Used to be they did this every morning, when I got out of bed. Not always both; sometimes not even one; but popping arches were a fact of life. I’d usually push my foot over the tops of my toes to get it out of the way — a habit left over from ballet. I’d noticed they weren’t doing it as much anymore, but hadn’t really paused to consider the cause.
Turns out my arches1 have started collapsing.
Oddly, this is good news, in a way. Good because the major palpable symptom of this (since I can’t look at my own feet from behind) has been pain in my right ankle, which could also theoretically have been related to the osteochondritis dissecans I had when I was nine. The x-ray showed something indistinct, and if my pain doesn’t clear up we’ll go for an MRI to see what’s happening there, but for the time being the answer is “orthotics” rather than “surgery and six weeks on crutches.” Which I’m grateful for. Been there, done that, don’t want to go back.
So here’s the query part of the whole thing. When my doctor (a general practitioner) explained that my tibialis posterior2 (the muscle-and-tendon set running down the inside of your ankle to the arch of your foot) is weakening/strained, I immediately asked if there were exercises I could do to strengthen it. He said no. Which I frankly don’t buy. We’re talking muscles and tendons, here; even if I somehow can’t work directly on the correct bit, surely I can derive some benefit from strengthening things around them. I have resistance bands; would it help to work with one of those, maybe by pointing my foot inward? How about the thing where you scrunch up a towel with your toes? I’ve got custom insoles now to prop my feet back up to their accustomed shape, but I don’t want to rely on those; I want my arches to be strong enough on their own.
Advice appreciated. I may end up seeing a physical therapist for this, but for the time being I figured I’d ask the Great LJ Overmind.
Edited for clarity: I’m interpreting the popping thing as a sign that the insoles are doing their work; I’ve been wearing shoes around the house, instead of my usual barefoot habits, to hasten what improvement I might get. The lack of popping seems to have been a sign of collapse. Looking back at my post, this was not entirely clear in my original phrasing.
1 When the guy who custom-molds insoles to people’s feet for a living says “wow, you have really high arches . . . yeah.
2 I’m pretty sure that’s the one he named. Wikipedia seems to confirm my guess, but do correct me if I’m wrong.