The foot arch is the main structure that absorbs strain and shock when we use our feet for standing, walking, running, and other activities. While the arch is designed to withstand a lot of pressure, too much strain will lead to injury and pain.
The arch of the foot extends from the heels to the base of your toes. It absorbs a lot of weight and stress whenever you are on your feet. The major functions of the arch include:
- keeping your balance
- carrying your weigh
- supporting movement
- absorbing shock
- adjusting to shifts in terrain
What Causes Foot Arch Pain?
Arch pain is not an uncommon foot condition. While it is often suffered by joggers and runners, it can also affect people who are not so active. For instance, people who spend a lot of time in front of their computers can also experience arch pain.
Arch pain can be felt in the heel and ball of the foot. Pain can also be felt on the top of the foot, as well as the ankles. In some conditions, sufferers may complain of pain in their knees, hips, legs, and even their back. Depending on certain factors, the pain may become aggravated when standing, walking, or any activity that requires the feet. The pain can also be excruciating when getting out of bed in the morning.
The causes of arch pain are varied. They include:
- Poor alignment of foot structure
- Strained ligament or muscle
- Walking or running long distances
- Fractures due to stress
- Inflammation due to arthritis
- Over or lack of tightness of joints
- Direct and constant trauma
- Long hours of feet activity
One of the most common causes of arch pain is an injured plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is the tough band of connective ligament on the bottom of the foot. It extends from the heel bone to the metatarsal bones of the toes and provides support for the arch. Plantar fascia injury can lead to plantar fasciitis, an inflammatory reaction that can trigger foot arch pain.
Symptoms of Arch Pain
The pain and swelling that come with plantar fasciitis may be present in either a general or specific area, usually at the bottom of the foot. The stretching of the arch may either heighten or diminish the pain. In most mild cases of fasciitis, the pain may lessen as the foot’s soft tissues begins to limber up. Even so, pain may become greater as the foot is used for a longer period. In extreme instances of plantar fasciitis, the pain may worsen when the arch is strained.
A more focused pain or tenderness indicates an injury or damage in that particular area. Pain when moving is likewise a sign of injury or damage in a specific foot area.
Ligaments link bones together and form joints. When ligaments get strained, they cause tenderness and looseness of a joint. These signs, accompanied by pain, usually point to a sprain.
Swelling and tenderness are signs of a fracture. You can notice a distinct lump or gap at the injured spot. It could be severe over the area of the affected bone.
Muscle injury is a sign when pain is experienced when the foot is stretched to its maximum length, curved, or bent in or out. Pain can also be felt when resistance is applied against the foot.
Bruises are caused by various factors. It can occur via direct force or injury to the foot. For example, you can accidentally step on a rock or a large person can step on your foot. Continued impact to the foot that lead to pain, discoloration, trauma, inflammation, and abnormal gait are indications of severe injury.
Treatment and Prevention of Arch Pain
There are different things you do to treat foot arch pain and prevent it from coming back.
Consider using shoe inserts or custom orthotics
Pay more attention to your feet particularly as you begin to advance in age. Aging can normally thin out and lose the foot’s layer of fat paddings. What’s more, your feet may increase in size, both in width and length. See your doctor if you develop arthritic-related changes and pain in your feet.
Pay attention to your footwear
Do not use ill-fitting and worn out shoes. Be sure that you wear shoes that are both comfortable and durable, especially if you like to walk and run long distances.
Avoid wearing high-heeled shoes as they put unneeded stress on your feet. If you must use high heels, wear those with two-inch heels or less. However, do not wear them for a long period of time.
Avoid using flip-flops if you won’t do a lot of walking. They provide very little or no arch support at all.
Shoes with arch support
Shoes have specific features built in for a particular sport. Wear the right shoes for the kind of activity you regularly engage in. For instance, do not wear walking shoes when you intend to go running.
If you are prone to arch pain, you need to consider using shoes with arch support feature. If you prefer, you can support your arches by using shoe inserts. They can purchase them over-the-counter or have them custom-made.
Arch support shoe inserts can benefit individuals with high arches or flat feet. How can you know if you have flat feet or high arches? Perform the wet footprint test. Wet the bottom of your feet and walk on a dry and flat surface. If the footprint area is completely filled in, you definitely have flat feet. If your footprint misses a large crescent shape, then you have high arches.
Here are some more guidelines you can follow to treat and prevent foot arch pain:
- Make it a habit to exercise and limber up your feet, especially before any sport activity.
- Elevate your feet and apply an ice pack on the affected area.
- Take analgesic and anti-inflammatory medications to reduce pain and swelling.
- Foot arch and plantar fasciitis pain can be relieved with a brush-on topical solution – HeelAid. It is made of all-natural ingredients and contains no synthetic chemicals.