Arch pain is a very common issue seen by Podiatrists. There are many causes, different diagnoses and ways to manage it. Some of you have probably had some form of arch pain in your life and most of the time it will go away quietly. But there are some conditions that will hang around and give you a bit of grief.
First off, let’s look at what the arch is exactly. The foot has 3 “arches”. The medial, the lateral and the transverse. The arch that gets sore the most is the medial (longitudinal) one (the inside of your foot). This is the arch that is said to need “support”. The engineering around the arch is very complicated but basically it helps us absorb load and propel us forward when we move. As it is a very important part of the foot, there are many structures that support it that can become injured.
Probably the most common thing you will find if you ‘Googled’ arch pain is Plantar Fasciitis. Yes, it is common but don’t rely on Dr Google for your diagnosis! There are numerous other joints and soft tissue structures in the foot including ligaments, tendons, muscle, nerves, blood vessels and fascia. Don’t forget the bone as well. Various conditions like tendinopathy, ligament sprain, muscle tear, muscle cramp/fatigue, fasciopathy, fracture/stress fracture, dislocation and many more can all occur in the foot.
Listing the number of causes for arch pain would make this blog post an essay so I will keep it short by saying, lots! Generally we find that the onset of pain coincides with a change in your work duties, exercise routine or footwear. A change in how much the foot needs to work seems to make a big difference in the development of arch pain. But it may not just be foot related. Arch pain can come from other areas and show up as symptoms in the foot. This is all due to compensation. The body is interconnected which means a weakness or tightness in or around the pelvis (for example) can lead to an issue down at the foot.
First off would be to see a Podiatrist to get an accurate diagnosis and determine what is causing it. Only then can it be treated effectively. Before you see a health professional, you can do a bit of self-investigating and see what is exacerbating the pain. If the pain is worse in a certain pair of shoes then set them aside for a little while. If you have just started increasing your physical activity and notice some arch pain, ease into it.
At PhysioPod Co. we cover all bases by assessing not just the foot but the entire body. This is through our Collective Body Consult™where both a Podiatrist and Physiotherapist are with you for your first consultation. To book an appointment click here.