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Pain in foot arches

Pain in foot arches

Footcare: how to deal with pain in foot arches

Foot arch pain is a common problem that can be caused by everything from foot shape, movement and exercise to poorly fitting shoes. Find out how to tell if the pain in your feet is likely located in your arches – and what you can do about it when it is – in our handy guide to foot arch pain.

What causes foot arch pain?

The arch of your foot is the upward curve you can see when you look at your feet from the inner side. This arch is formed of a series of tarsal and metatarsal bones connected by tendons and ligaments. Your arches help to absorb shocks when you’re on your feet, particularly when you’re walking or running.

When your arches aren’t able to absorb shock efficiently for whatever reason, you may experience arch or heel pain. Arch pain is often most noticeable when you’ve been exercising or on your feet for a long time.

What makes you prone to foot arch pain?

While anyone can suffer from arch pain when they’ve spent a lot of time walking on hard surfaces or standing for longer than usual, there are a few things that can make you more susceptible, such as:

Pes planus, also known as flat foot

This is a common condition, also sometimes referred to as ‘fallen arches’, that means your arch is very low to the ground. If you look at the inner side of your feet, they may appear flat. Flat feet can be hereditary, and they generally don’t cause any problems when it comes to enjoying sports and activities. However, you may experience some pain in the arch or the ankle. You may also notice that your shoes tend to wear out quite quickly.

Pes cavus, also known as an overly arched foot

On the other end of the scale are overly arched feet, you’ll be able to recognise them by the high arch you can see between the top of the arch and the ground when you look at the inner side of your feet. You can also try wetting your feet and leaving a footprint. People with high arches will see the imprint of their heel and the front of their foot, with little in between. Having high arches isn’t necessarily a problem, but they can sometimes cause pain and discomfort or lead to the development of other conditions over time.

Ways to alleviate or avoid foot arch pain

There are a few things you can do to help alleviate or avoid the occurrence of arch pain.

Ice, compression and elevation to reduce swelling

When you have arch pain that’s been caused by strenuous exercise or spending a long time on your feet, you might want to try applying ice or cool packs to the area to reduce pain and swelling. Elevating your feet and using compression bandages or socks can also help to reduce swelling.

Rest and painkillers

Resting your feet will also give your tissues time to repair, while over the counter pain relief medication can help reduce feelings of pain and discomfort in the short term. If you are using pain relief medication regularly to combat pain in the arch area, we would recommend that you visit your local podiatrist and have a review of your feet

Foot stretches and exercises

Some foot stretches or exercises may be useful for helping you strengthen your feet as well as ease immediate pain. A podiatrist or physiotherapist should be able to guide you towards the most appropriate stretches or exercises tailored for you.

Wear the right shoes

Visiting a podiatrist can help you make sure you are wearing the right kind of shoes to help protect your feet. Wide, comfortable shoes with a square toe box and a  low heel tend to offer the best support. Expert advice can be very useful in working out how to best support your arches and relieve pain no matter what your lifestyle. This is especially useful if you take part in high impact sports like running or you have a job that keeps you on your feet all day.

Support your arches with insoles

Insoles that go inside of your shoes can also help to support your arches and make sure that your feet are stabilised and cushioned from shocks while walking and running. Some orthotic insoles, like our In-Balance range, have been made to support your natural walking style and are clinically proven to target areas of pain in the feet, legs and lower back . One of these is our Scholl Arch Pain Relief insoles, they will contour to your feet to provide pressure relief and clinically proven pain relief.


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