Pain in the arch area is generally the result of overuse or over compensation of a muscle caused by poor foot alignment and function.
Arch pain, also known as plantar pain, refers to pain in the arch at the bottom of the foot. This pain can present as a result of various causes, usually following activities that involve significant stress to the arch of the foot.
The arches of the feet play an important role to absorb and return the force between the body and the ground, supporting bodily movement when people are on their feet. However, when the arches are put under excessive stress due to intense movements or extended periods of time standing on their feet, injury and pain to the area can present.
The structure of the foot is very complex and, for this reason, an individual that is experiencing arch pain should be referred to a podiatrist who will make the relevant investigations as to the cause of the condition.
This usually begins with a physical examination of the foot and a consultation about the medical history and recent events that may have caused the pain. There is often a lump or bruise in the arch of the foot that is evidence of damage to the connective tissue.
Causes of arch pain
Injury to the arch of the foot can occur due to direct force trauma can result in pain and inflammation. This may include:
- Ligament sprains
- Muscle strains
- Biomechanical misalignment
- Fractures due to mechanical stress
- Muscle overuse
- Inflammatory arthritis
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 fasciopathy (or commonly known as Plantar Fasciitis) – The plantar fascia is a soft tissue structure that runs from the heel, under the arch, to the bones of the toes. 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 Halluces Longus or Brevis Tendonitis – The Flexor Halluces Longus and Brevis muscles cause the big toe to bend downward. Overuse of these structures can occur when these muscles are having to work hard at stabilising the foot.
Posterior Tibialis Tendonitis or dysfunction – The posterior tibial tendon supports the arch during weight-bearing activity. Weakness or dysfunction in the muscle can lead to arch pain, and in severe cases the onset of flat foot in adults.
Management of arch pain may include some of the following:
- Seek professional assistance - from your medical professional
- Activity modification - reduce activities that cause your pain.
- Physical therapy - an exercise programme and other physical therapy modalities may be used to provide temporary relief.
- Weight loss - if you are overweight this may aggravate your symptoms.
- Orthotics - your medical professional can provide you with Formthotics for your shoes to improve your function and provide support to the foot structures.
- Footwear - wear shoes that support the function of the foot and are appropriate for your activity.
Formthotics can help relieve the symptoms of arch pain
Formthotics support the structures of the foot to encourage optimal function and even pressure distribution. In doing this they reduce fatigue, increase shock absorption and reduce pain.
Formthotics dual density products add a cushioning layer on top of the supportive structure of Formthotics. The Formax™ dual density foam provides increased shock absorption and even pressure distribution while maintaining a good level of support to optimise foot function and general comfort.
Formthotics can provide the ideal base to support and distribute loading in people with arch pain. The various Formthotics options allow your podiatrist to select Formthotics best for your feet, footwear and activity. Your Formthotics are then able to be customised by your podiatrist or medical professional specifically for the needs of your feet.