The 5 Most Common Causes of Foot Arch Pain

The 5 Most Common Causes of Foot Arch Pain

Posted by Apex Foot Health on 5th Jan 2023

Arch pain is more common than you think and can affect anyone, not just athletes. The foot has three arches: the medial, lateral, and traverse arches.

The arches in your feet bear weight, absorb shock, and help you to balance. They also stabilize movement and adapt to changing terrain when you walk or run. Given the important function of your feet, it is inevitable that you will feel pains sometimes.

"Why does my foot arch hurt?", you may ask. Causes of foot arch pain vary, and we'll discuss the five most common ones here.

1. Muscle, Bone, Ligament, or Tendon Injury

Aside from injury to the tendons, ligaments, bones, or muscles in your foot, you could have structural issues such as high arches or  flat feet. Structural faults can be exacerbated by significant weight gain, overuse and physical stress, aging, or neurological conditions.

2. Plantar Fasciitis

The ligament that connects your heel and the front of your foot is called the plantar fascia. Inflammation, overuse, or injury to the plantar fascia cause  plantar fasciitis, a common complaint among runners and non-runners alike.

Plantar fasciitis causes you to have painful, stiff heels and arches. It is most often more painful when you wake up in the morning, or after prolonged periods on your feet. Frequent pain of this type suggests that a different type of shoe or orthotic shoe inserts that provide support and comfort can help give relief, as can foot-strengthening stretches.

Closeup of foot experiencing Plantar Fasciitis

3. Overpronation

Overpronation is when the outer edge of the heel hits the ground first, followed by the foot rolling inwards onto the arch. This can flatten the foot too much.

Long-term effects of prolonged overpronation include muscle, tendon, and ligament damage. Such damage can cause problems leading to arch pain. Signs that you overpronate are greater wear on the sole of your shoe corresponding to the ball of the foot and the inside of the heel. Stability shoes can correct your gait, thereby alleviating any hip, knee, or back pain, and pain from corns or calluses.

4. Cavus Foot

Cavus foot is a foot that has a very high arch. In some cases, it is an inherited condition, although it is often predicated by neurological conditions such as cerebral palsy, stroke, or CMT (Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease).

People with cavus foot feel pain when walking or standing. They might also have hammer toe, claw toe, or calluses, and be more likely to get ankle sprains because of the resultant instability.

Orthotic shoe inserts can help relieve pain as can shoes that provide extra ankle support. Surgery is required in some cases.

5. PTTD – Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction

PTTD occurs as a result of injury to or inflammation of the posterior tibial tendon. This is the tendon that connects the inner foot to a muscle in the calf. Arch pain results if this tendon can no longer support the arch.

Arch pain for PTTD is likely to be felt along the back of the calf and the inner ankle. There may also be ankle swelling. Pain is normally experienced during sporting activities, and not afterward.

Custom shoe inserts and ankle braces and physical therapy can help PTTD. Some cases require surgery.

Close up of foot experiencing Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction

Are Causes of Foot Arch Pain Causes For Concern?

The same old advice applies here. Talk to your doctor if home remedies don't work, or your pain gets worse. A doctor can review your medical history and perform a physical examination and any other diagnostic tests to arrive at a diagnosis before recommending appropriate treatment.

Often treatment will be non-invasive, in which case, Apex can give you the support you need!