Arch pain is a challenge for doctors and patients because it has a wide range of causes. A safe and timely recovery requires understanding the underlying causes of your pain and finding the appropriate treatment. Whether you are suffering from fallen arches, plantar fasciitis, acute injury, or another condition that causes arch pain, read on to find your path to a complete recovery.
The foot and ankle are composed of 26 bones, as well as an assortment of tendons and ligaments. The arch of the foot, the upwardly curved section between the heel and ball, serves as a shock absorber. It minimizes wear and tear to the foot and actually helps propel us forward with each step, like a spring.
Arch and ankle pain is not a condition in itself, but the result of some underlying cause. Even so, foot pain in the arch can be a major obstacle in daily life, making even simple tasks difficult.
Inner arch pain can also lead to other complications if left untreated. Symptoms resulting from right or left foot arch pain may cause a limp or other gait abnormality, which can cause pain and discomfort throughout the lower body.
Heel spurs are another possible outcome of chronic inner foot arch pain. This condition describes a bony protrusion that develops as the tendons on the underside of the foot repeatedly tear.
Arch Pain Causes
Causes of arch pain can be related to many conditions, and finding the right treatment depends on a positive diagnosis. Learn more about some of the most common causes so you can effectively treat your arch pain.
Heel or arch pain can result from any injury that involves a serious blow to the foot. Having your foot stepped on, crushed under a dropped object, or hit can damage the bones and muscles in your foot, leading to short-term pain. This should be one of the most easily identifiable causes of severe arch pain, as it is the direct result of a recent accident.
One possible cause of high arch pain is a deformity of the foot known as fallen arches, or flat feet. This condition can be present from birth or result from inflammation, rheumatoid arthritis, and obesity. Once the tendons that support the arch lose their elasticity they are no longer able to support the structure of the foot, resulting in arch pain while running and walking.
Plantar Fasciitis Arch Pain
Also called “police heel” plantar fasciitis is a pain in the arch due to repeated stretching and tearing of the tendons on the underside of the foot. With repeated tearing, these tendons can become inflamed and very painful. Treatment for plantar fasciitis arch pain often involves managing pain while the tendons naturally heal.
Other types of foot arch pain not related to plantar fasciitis include inflammation in areas adjacent to the foot. Achilles tendonitis affects the part of the foot directly above the heel and can eventually spread to the arch if left untreated.
Symptoms Associated with Arch and Heel Pain
Symptoms vary depending on the specific condition causing your painful arches. Whether you are experiencing a dull, aching pain in the arch of the foot and ankle or a sudden sharp pain in the arch of your foot, your symptoms are the best identifier of the underlying source.
Many conditions can result in a painful foot arch. Below are symptoms associated with each condition.
Acute Injury: A shooting pain in the arch of your foot will appear immediately after a direct blow.
Fallen Arches: The foot deformity will be obvious. Even after a short walk, a sharp pain in the foot arch will appear, and your feet will tire easily.
Plantar Fasciitis: You will see characteristic redness and swelling on the bottom of the foot. High arch foot pain will also spread to the bottom and back of the heel.
If you experience a sharp pain in the arch of your foot when walking, the secondary symptoms above can lead to a more specific diagnosis.
Arch Pain Treatment
While your doctor will prescribe the best foot arch pain treatment for your individual case, you can find short-term foot arch pain relief at home. Begin your foot arch pain treatment with cold therapy. Using an ice pack for 20 or 30 minutes each day is a simple and effective arch pain remedy. Combine this with plenty of rest and the methods listed below.
Medication is a good option to supplement at-home arch pain relief. Aspirin is an effective anti-inflammatory that will help with most common causes of pain under the arch of the foot. Doctors can also prescribe steroids, which have similar but more potent effects.
Physical therapy can be completed at home or with the help of a trained professional, depending on the severity of your condition. Products like foot rockers can be especially helpful for conditions like plantar fasciitis, but most exercises require no equipment to be effective.
Foot rockers help you stretch the muscles and ligaments around your ankle, relieving arch pain. ( See Product )
Intrinsic Foot Muscle Training
The foot’s intrinsic muscles suffer most from pain under the foot arch, so choosing exercises to strengthen them is a good strategy. Begin your intrinsic foot exercise in a standing position. Roll your feet outward slightly so the inner arch is raised from the floor. Then press your toes into the floor, raising the arch even more. Hold for 20 seconds and release.
Another effective foot stretch focuses on the toes. Begin by kneeling on a soft surface, sitting back, and resting the back of your calves. Stretch the arch by angling the foot forward and resting your weight on the underside of your toes. Hold for as long as you are able, up to 2 minutes.
A quality insole is tailored to the specific needs of your foot. If you are suffering from pain under the arch of your foot, insoles that offer excellent arch support are key. But with so many options to choose from, where is the best place to start? We’ve listed advantages of the major types of insoles for arch pain.
A good pair of insoles is a simple and effective way to improve the comfort and safety of shoes you already own. ( See Product )
Gel insoles soften the blow to the heel, which makes them a perfect fit for the symptoms of plantar fasciitis. They are a bit heavier than foam, but they make up for it with comfort.
Foam insoles are a great choice for those suffering from arch pain caused by plantar fasciitis. ( See Product )
Foam insoles mold to the shape of your foot, absorbing shock and adding extra support all day long. They are inexpensive and lightweight, however this also means they are less durable.
Full vs. 3/4-Length Insoles
Whether full-length or 3/4-length insoles are best depends largely on the types of shoes you wear. ( See Product )
Full-length insoles support the entire foot but are usually only made to fit athletic or specially-designed orthopedic shoes. However, you can still find quality insoles for your everyday shoes with 3/4-length varieties.
Gel heel cups fit easily in most types of shoes and drastically reduce arch pain. ( See Product )
A major benefit of arch supports is that they relieve arch pain even while you're barefoot. ( See Product )
Arch supports are an inexpensive, simple, and effective alternative to insoles. Rather than slipping them into your shoes, you fasten them around the arch of your foot directly, for support even while walking barefoot.
Severe pain in arch of your foot does not have to affect your life. Mild heel and arch pain can disappear in a few days or weeks by using at-home treatments like icing and compression. However if pain persists, speak to your doctor as soon as possible.
Some conditions, like fallen arches, will be present throughout life and require long-term management. However, investing in quality insoles and practicing the right exercises can make pain much more manageable.
Taking the Next Steps to Treat Arch Pain
While pain in the bottom of your foot arch may be difficult to diagnose, your medical history and symptoms can illuminate the underlying cause and help you find an effective treatment plan. Even for athletes and runners, arch pain is manageable. Whether you are looking at short-term pain or a lifelong condition, there are tools available to make treating even the most severe pain a walk in the park.
Jessica Hegg is the content manager and at ViveHealth.com. With vast product knowledge and understanding of individual needs, she aims to share valuable information on making smart buying choices, overcoming obstacles and overall improving the quality of life for others. Avid gym-rat and nutrition enthusiast, she’s interested in all things related to staying active and living healthy lifestyle.
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