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According to Bruce Jones, MD, MPH, the association of high and low arches with injury is important. "In the past, we've looked at flat feet as the most significant risk factor for injury, but the association between high and low arches and their relationship to injury needs to be explored further," he tells WebMD. Jones is a retired Army colonel with more than 20 years of experience researching foot injuries in military personnel and is now with the CDC injury prevention division.

While this study did not look at any specific ways to prevent injury, Kaufman says that some interventions might be tried. "People should be aware of potential relationships between their foot structure and the types of injuries they might sustain. Those with tight heel cords should stretch before exercising, while those with low arches might consider some type of footwear modification."

Jones agrees. "It's important to establish guidelines for screening for arch problems very carefully. You don't want to discourage people from exercising because it's so important for so many aspects of health. I think it's not necessary for people to have an analysis of their foot structure unless they are experiencing a problem or have a history of injury. Then an evaluation is appropriate."

Vital Information:

  • A new study shows that foot structure is related to injuries in athletes who train intensively.
  • People with low arches, high arches, and tight heel cords are more likely to experience injuries.
  • Researchers suggest that preventive measures could be taken to avoid injuries, such as wearing a type of foot modification for low arches, or stretching for tight heel cords.

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