The arches are the primary structures of the foot that absorb and return force, when we are on our feet. When something happens to these structures, pain and injury may result.
What is Arch Pain?
Pain across the bottom of the foot at any point between the heel and the ball of the foot is often called arch pain. Although this description is non-specific, most arch pain is due to strain or inflammation of the plantar fascia (a long ligament on the bottom of the foot).
In most cases, arch pain develops from overuse, unsupportive shoes, weight gain, or injury. If arch pain goes beyond a few days, see a foot and ankle doctor for treatment to prevent this condition from becoming worse.
Arch Pain Symptoms
Direct force trauma, ligament sprains, muscle strains, poor mechanical alignment, stress fractures, overuse, or the tightness or lack of tightness of the joints in the foot may all cause pain in the arch.
Injury to the plantar fascia is a common cause of arch pain. The plantar fascia is a tough fibrous sheath that extends the length of the bottom of the foot and lends support to the arch. When the plantar fascia is damaged, the resulting inflammatory response may become a source of arch pain.
Diagnosis of Arch Pain
A foot and ankle doctor will do a medical history to determine how the injury occurred. He or she will also examine how the muscles of your foot function. The nerves in the foot may be tested to make sure no injury has occurred there. An x-ray, MRI, or bone scan of the foot and arch may be done.
Treatment of Arch Pain
Treatment of arch pain may include R.I.C.E.: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Over-the-counter medications may also be used to reduce discomfort and pain.
Acetaminophen (Tylenol) can help with the pain and a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen will help with the pain and battle the inflammatory response.
Arch supports can also placed into one’s shoes to support the arch and diminish or eliminate pain.
Surgical Treatment of Arch Pain
Depending on the type of arch pain, surgical treatment may be necessary if the above treatments do not help. Your foot and ankle doctor can tell you which surgical treatments may be needed.
Remember, any type of foot or ankle pain is never normal. A foot and ankle doctor can examine your feet and give you the best course of action.
Please call (626) 447-2184 (Arcadia) or (818) 408-2800 (San Fernando) to speak to a foot and ankle specialist about your foot and/or ankle needs.