Sore Arches in CrossFit??

Athletes often complain about sore or tight arches, especially when they are lifting heavy or jumping a lot.  Below, a few tips to tackle sore arches.

choose appropriate footwear: 

  • When running, wear running shoes, when lifting wear lifting shoes, and when doing CrossFit wear CrossFit shoes.
  • When running, you need a more shock absorbent shoe.  However, these shoes often have a softer material which makes up the sole.  When you are trying to lift weight and pressing feet into the floor, a lot of energy can be lost through this unstable base due to the physics principle of ground reaction force.

This principle comes from Newton's 3rd law which essentially states that if a force acts upon a body, an equal and opposite force must act upon another body.

If you press weight overhead and the vector of your force is going down into the ground, the ground will essentially press back.  If you are wobbling around on squishy shoes and too far forward on your toes, the reactionary force of the ground will push you forward and your barbell will likely move forward causing a missed lift or causing you to have to chase after it.  If you are able to control this weight, you will likely be scrunching your toes and arches forcefully trying to control the movement and perhaps this is why you are cramping. 

  • Most CrossFit WODs will require some combo or jumping/running and lifting so the CrossFit specific training shoes offer a combination of a solid firm base and flexibility where needed.
  • I like to recommend the Nike Metcon, the Reebok Nano, the Reebok Speed TR, or the No Bull Trainer

make sure your technique is sound:

  • Arch pain with squatting: spread those toes and make sure you are not scrunching them but instead pressing them into the floor to stabilize throughout the lift
  • Pain with box jumps: be sure to land with your whole foot on the box and not just on toes, consider stepping down until you are better at the plyometric movement
  • Pain with double-unders: a light and shock absorbent landing is best

Tie and untie shoes when getting them on and off. 

Your shoe cannot do its job if it is slopping around on your foot. 


Mobilize thoroughly:

  • stretch your calves (bent and straight knee)
  • foam roll the calves
  • lacrosse ball self massage to the arches

Strengthen your calves with heel raises and single leg jump rope


Toe yoga:

  • practice raising just your big toe
  • now just your little toes and plant the big toe
  • now spread all the toes
Big toe up, littles up, spread

Hoping these tips help, and as always, I can be

reached at sarah@arrowptseattle.com.