Everybody’s foot arches are a little different. Some people have high arches, some have flat feet, while others fall somewhere in the middle. Oftentimes we don’t pay much attention to our foot arch unless the area has become painful, and because we spend a lot of time on our feet, arch pain can sometimes be difficult to treat.
Treating arch pain really comes down to identifying the underlying issues and the factors that contribute to the problem and working to reverse these issues. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at some of the more common reasons your foot arch hurts and we explain how Dr. McDonald can help you overcome arch discomfort.
The Basics Of Foot Arch Pain
Did you know that you actually have four arches in your foot? It’s true. Your foot arch is made up of the:
- Inner Longitudinal Arch – This arch runs from the ball of your foot to the heel and helps prevent excessive pronation or supination.
- Outer Longitudinal Arch – This helps to reduce stress on your ankles, knees and hips as you walk.
- Transverse Arch – This is located above your heel and aids in balance and stability.
- Metatarsal Arch – This spreads across the ball of your foot, helping to take pressure off your forefoot and aid in balance.
Any or all of these areas of your arch can start to hurt for one reason or another, but foot arch pain is typically caused by one of three underlying issues: acute injury, overstress, a structural issue or a combination of one or more of the above issues. Additionally, there are a number of factors that can contribute to arch pain from one of the above causes. Some risk factors for arch pain include poorly fitting shoes, being overweight, participating in high intensity exercise or athletics, or standing for a large portion of the day.
Causes Of Foot Arch Pain
Now that we understand some of the risk factors and mechanisms of foot arch pain, what type of injuries can they lead to? Foot arch pain is a common symptom of these foot conditions that can develop as a result of the previously listed risk factors and causes:
- Plantar Fasciitis – Plantar fasciitis is a condition in which the thick band of tissue that connects your heel to your toes becomes inflamed. Since we put a lot of stress on our feet each day, it can be hard for this inflammation to resolve, leading to prolonged discomfort in your arch. Working towards a healthy weight, avoiding high impact activities and progressing through a physical therapy routine are common ways to overcome painful plantar fasciitis.
- Flat Feet – Due to some of the previously listed risk factors and the natural aging process, the tight tissues that help to form our foot’s arch can begin to loosen, leading to fallen arches or even flat feet. This can change how stress is dispersed on your foot and lead to discomfort in the arch region. Similar to plantar fasciitis, activity modification, weight loss and physical therapy can be very helpful in controlling symptoms caused by flat foot.
Of course, some of the risk factors we listed above can also be the direct cause of your arch pain. For example, if you regularly wear high heel shoes or you regularly partake in athletics without giving your feet enough time to rest between activities, you can be putting excessive stress on the tissues that make up your foot arch. This can lead to microtears in the soft tissues or an inflammatory response and localized pain. If your foot arch is hurting, really take a second to evaluate your lifestyle and see if footwear or activities could be to blame. We don’t want you to shy away from activity, but we do want you to be mindful about overstressing your foot arch.
At the end of the day, if you work towards a healthy weight, you make sure you’re wearing the right shoes for the occasion and you strive to give your feet the rest they need to recover from the rigors of the day, odds are you’ll be able to prevent foot arch issues from developing. If they do develop, connecting with a foot specialist like Dr. McDonald and beginning a simple conservative care plan can help you get back on your feet without pain in no time. For more information on arch pain or treating foot arch issues, reach out to Dr. McDonald and his team today at (860) 244-8889.