Pain in the arch area is very common and can be caused by a variety of issues.
Pain in the arch area is generally the result of overuse or over compensation of a muscle caused by poor foot alignment and function. There are three main diagnoses for arch pain;
- Plantar fasciitis – The plantar fascia is a soft tissue structure that runs from the heel, under the arch to the bones of the toes. Every time a step is taken this is used, inflammation of the plantar fascia occurs when it is over used; generally due to poor foot alignment such as excessive pronation, worn footwear or tight calf muscles. Plantar fascia pain can occur in the heel and/or arch, it is generally painful first thing in the morning and again in the evening.
- Flexor Hallucis longus or brevis tendonitis – The Flexor halluces longus and Brevis muscles are what make the big toe bend downward. Overuse of these structures can cause them to become very painful, this can occur if the foot excessively pronates as the tendons will be overstretched and the big toe will be over working to help stabilise the foot.
- Posterior tibial tendonitis or dysfunction – The posterior tibial tendon is the main structure that supports the arch. Weakness in this muscle can lead to excessive pulling and stretching of the tendon and pain as a consequence. Pain can also occur on the inside ankle and shin with this injury and can range from a simple strain to a complete dysfunction.
Poor footwear, abnormal foot alignment i.e. pronation, weak muscles and lack of stretching are key causes of such injuries. Formthotics™, strapping techniques, new shoes, rest and ice will help with these complaints especially if they are acute. We recommend you consult a podiatrist or sports physician if symptoms persist.