The arch of your foot is the area on the bottom of your foot (sole) between the ball of the foot (forefoot) and the heel. Arch pain is one of the common concerns related to the foot. This pain usually affects the ball and heel of the foot or can be isolated to the center of the arch.
Arch pain can vary and be worse while walking or standing depends on the underlying cause of the pain. Sometimes the pain can be more intense in the morning just after waking up and weightbearing.
Though arch pain is more common among athletes and runners, it might also worsen for people living sedentary lives.
Deformation and pain in the arch of the foot
The arch of the foot is supported by leg muscles that attach to the foot, intrinsic foot muscles, ligaments, and especially the plantar fascia that extend the length of the foot from the heel to theball of the foot. These structures are basically shock absorbers, but if the strain on these structures becomes too great, they can become strained, inflamed and painful, causing pain in the feet, lower legs or knees.
The pain is most pronounced when weights are placed on the leg or when the leg is pushed against the next leg. The pain from tension in the arches of the legs can become especially acute after sitting for a long time or waking up in the morning.
Who is most susceptible to arch tension or strain?
People with very flat feet or high arches are most susceptible to the condition. Injuries are also common in middle-aged people who have been inactive for a long time before suddenly increasing their physical activity. Injuries are very common in runners. Some examples of arch pain are plantar fasciitis, posterior tibialis tendonitis, posterior tibialis dysfunction, and stress fractures.
How do you treat arch pain?
The most effective treatment for arch pain and tension is the use of orthotics (arch supports). Orthotics help prevent the arches from collapsing by distributing forces, thus preventing the arch from straining causing pain and discomfort. Relevant stretching or strength exercises and supportive footwear can also help prevent morning pain when the symptoms are most common and severe.
How to Prevent Arch Pain?
To avoid arch pain, it is important that you slowly build up your exercise routine while wearing orthotics. By taking these simple measures, you can prevent the discomfort of pain in the arch that can last for months. Low impact exercises such as swimming or aqua aerobics are good alternative exercises to do while your symptoms improve.
What are flat feet?
Flatfoot or pes planus is a condition in which the longitudinal arch of the foot, which extends along the sole of the foot, is not yet developed normally and sags or flattens. One or both feet can be affected. This is in contrast to a normal arch where there happens to be a gap or an arch between the inner part of the foot and the ground.
What causes flat feet?
Flatfoot can be a congenital disease or it can be caused by an injury or condition such as rheumatoid arthritis, stroke, or diabetes.
Who is Affected by Flat Feet?
Both children and adults can have flat feet. Most children have flat feet until 3 and 5 years of age and their longitudinal curvature continues to develop normally and up to the age of about 10.
What are the Symptoms?
Having flat feet doesn’t necessarily mean you will have problems. Flat feet require treatment only if it causes discomfort, contributes to an underlying disorder or causes pain anywhere else in the body, such as your ankle, knee, hip or back. People who have flat feet rarely experience symptoms or problems. Some people may experience pain because:
- Changes in the work environment.
- Minor injury.
- Sudden weight gain.
- Excessive standing, walking, jumping, or running.
- Shoes that don’t fit properly.
- Children sometimes experience discomfort in the legs and flat feet which is associated with flat feet.
How to Take Care of Flat Feet?
On numerous occasions, people are seen living with a very low arch or no arch at all without experiencing any pain or difficulties. However, it can sometimes trigger problems in your ankles and knees due to it altering the alignment of your lower leg biomechanics. If you aren’t experiencing pain, no treatment is usually required for flatfeet. One of our friendly podiatrists can educate you on your feet and whether your flat feet are contributing to the pains to your feet or lower leg or altering your biomechanics.
Care for adults usually consists of wearing comfortable, spacious shoes with good arch support. Should footwear not be sufficient support then orthotics are generally recommended. Your podiatrist will also recommend relevant stretching and strengthening exercises to help your flat feet. Hands-on podiatry work such as mobilization, dry needling, and myofascial therapy are also very helpful adjunctive therapies.
Children rarely need to be treated with corrective shoes or insoles, as arches usually develop normally by the age of 5-10 years of age.