Foot Arch Pain
The ‘arch’ of the foot, on the medial or inside of the foot is a common area for injuries and pain. It acts as the “shock absorber” of the foot and is lined by different tendons and muscles that support the bones of the foot. However, in some patients, these muscles and tendons can be overloaded due to mechanical factors and excess stress through the area. This can cause significant pain that can stop people from exercising and limit their daily activities. This article will cover this pain in a bit more detail.
What are the causes of pain in the arches of the feet?
There are a variety of causes of arch pain –
- Trauma – This refers to any form of foot injury that involves the arch. It includes muscle sprain, fractures of the foot bones and even overuse of the foot. Stress fractures can also cause arch pain.
- Plantar fasciitis – The plantar fascia is a supportive structure that runs through the arch of the foot. It is a tendon like structure that can be subject to overuse. In some cases, it can become thickened or inflamed, causing pain through the heel and the arch of the foot.
- Arthritis – This is inflammation of the joints, and can be age related or due to some other medical illness. This can also cause of arch pain due to the large number of small joints making up the arch of the foot.
- Excess pronation or rolled in feet – This is also called flat feet. The arch shape can be lost due to a number of reasons such as biomechanical changes/insufficiencies, torn ligaments, birth defects or from just being overweight. In addition to pain, patients may also have slightly swollen feet.
Patients who suffer from pronated feet often experience pain during activity when there is excessive stress going through the arches of the feet. The surrounding muscles can be overloaded leading to inflammation and pain.
Foot Arch Pain Diagnosis
Most cases are diagnosed from history and examination alone, but sometimes imaging may be performed to ensure there are no additional pathologies such as ligament or tendon strains or tears.
Foot Arch Pain Treatment
If arch pain in the feet is causing distress and difficulty moving about, it is good to get your feet assessed as soon as possible. Podiatrists are able to provide a variety of different treatments options.
- In the first instance, follow the R.I.C.E. dictum. That includes Rest, Ice pack application, Compression with an elastic bandage and Elevation of the foot to reduce any swelling. These 4 steps allow for the onset of recovery, and can help to relieve mild symptoms.
- Change footwear – Ensure you are wearing appropriate, cushioned footwear with adequate arch support.
- Pain Relief – Over the counter medications are very useful in managing pain. Paracetamol and Ibuprofen are helpful in reducing inflammation that in turn reduces pain. Topical anti-inflammatory creams and gels can also be very useful when massaged into the arches of the feet.
- Orthotic devices – These are available from your Podiatrist and come in a variety of different types and materials. These can range from an appropriate over the counter style, a semi-customized device, or custom made orthotics prescribed specifically for your feet. Your Podiatrist will be able to advise which type will best suit your needs.
Further Resources on Foot Arch Pain
Foot Arch Pain Conclusion
Foot arch pain can be rather distressing given the amount of time we spend on our feet every day. However, simple and effective measures that reduce pain and increase mobility are available, and your podiatrist will be happy to guide you to getting you back on your feet!