Arch pain is usually felt as a burning sensation or discomfort that you feel under your foot, in the arch. The most common cause that you will hear about is plantar fasciitis, however there are a number of other reasons why you might be suffering this pain. Generally it will be caused from an imbalance, like most most problems in the body, leaving other areas to heavily compensate. Combine that with other factors that can cause overuse injuries, plus some bad footwear, and you have a serious recipe for arch pain.
You have 24 bones in your foot, and there are two arches formed. The longitudinal arch runs the length of the foot, and the transverse arch runs from side to side. The bones are held together mostly because the simply fit together, plus ligaments. The muscles of the foot help support and move, and along the bottom, you have your plantar fascia running longitudinally. The foot also contains bursa, or fat pads that help absorb the impact. Something goes wrong in any one of these areas, and you can experience pain in your arch.
Causes Of Arch Pain
There are a number of ways you can get arch pain:
- Plantar Fasciitis is a strain of the plantar fascia, which is supporting your arch. You are at risk if you are overweight, you take up a new form of exercise, you are on your feet a lot, have flat feet or high arches, have uneven legs, tight Achilles tendon.
- If you have imbalances and bad biomechanics in the foot you can put a lot of strain and stress on the arch area, again this is a factor in plantar fasciitis. Excess pronation is a common cause, where the foot turns outwards when walking because the arch flattens.
- If you exercise too much on bad surfaces you will be placing a lot of strain on the area as well.
- A less common cause is tarsal tunnel syndrome, which is a pinched nerve at the ankle, and it often refers the pain into the arch area.
- You may have arthritis in the joints in the mid foot that is causing you pain in the arch as well.
Arch Pain Treatment
The first thing you need to do, much like any other injury, is RICE. Rest, ice, compression and elevation. The likelihood is that you will have some inflammation, and ice is always the necessary first step in this case. Ultimately ensure that you get enough rest in the initial stages of the injury.
Anti inflammatory medications may help in the initial stages to reduce the pain that you are feeling.
You need to be sure to modify your activity. Whatever hurt it, stop. often the case is for example running too much on a hard surface can cause a lot of stress to be placed on the arch area. Whilst you are injured, you need to stop things that are aggravating the pain. You will be able to do other types of exercise that do not aggravate the pain. If running hurts, jump on the bike. Simply substitute activities that cause pain with ones that don’t.
Ensure that you have footwear that is supportive enough to make sure you are not flattening out your arch, old shoes just won’t cut it anymore.
Stretch out your calf muscles regularly if they are tight. Tight calf muscles place stress on the achilles tendon, which is directly affecting the plantar fascia. Do some self massage in the area as well to ensure that you cover all bases. You may also have weak calfs and need to strengthen them, if this is the case, then you will again be placing a lot of pressure on the achilles tendon and subsequently can be causing yourself arch pain.
If need be head to a podiatrist to ensure that you don’t need orthotics. Often a pair of orthotics can instantly reduce the pain that you are feeling. Tape can also be used in the short term to test, however this needs to be done by a professional.
Treat your arch pain correctly, get a proper diagnosis, and avoid serious and chronic injury.