What Is Arch Pain? There are two arches in your foot. The longitudinal arch runs the length of your foot, and the transverse arch runs across the width of your foot. The arches are made up of ligaments , which keep the bones of your feet in place. Arch Pain can occur in one or both arches but occurs most commonly in the longitudinal arch.
How Does It Occur? Arch pain most often occurs as a result of overuse in activities such as running, hiking, walking, and jumping. People who have flat feet, or people whose feet flatten and roll inward when walking (a problem called over-pronation) are more prone to arch pain. Arch pain usually comes on slowly. However, it can occur suddenly if the ligaments are stretched or torn during a forceful activity such as sprinting or jumping.
What Are The Symptoms Of Arch Pain? The symptom is pain along the arch of the foot and tenderness with pressure applied to the affected area..
How Is It Arch Pain Diagnosed? Your doctor will examine your foot for pain and tenderness along the arch, and suggest an appropriate course of action including rest, anti-inflammatories, and rehabilitation.
What Is The Treatment For Arch Pain? You should place ice packs on your arch for 20 to 30 minutes every 3 to 4 hours for 2 or 3 days or until the pain goes away. Your doctor may prescribe an anti-inflammatory medication. Your arch needs extra support. Taping your arch or using an extra arch support in your shoe may give you the support you need. Your doctor may prescribe custom-made arch supports called orthotics or suggest a high quality insole to absorb shock underneath your foot.
When Can I Return To My Sport Or Activity? The goal of rehabilitation is to return you to your sport or activity as soon as is safely possible. If you return too soon you may worsen your injury, which could lead to permanent damage. Everyone recovers from injury at a different rate. Return to your activity is determined by how soon your foot recovers, not by how many days or weeks it has been since your injury occurred. In general, the longer you have symptoms before you start treatment, the longer it will take to get better. You may safely return to your sport or activity when, starting from the top of the list and progressing to the end, each of the following is true:
- 1. You have full range of motion in the injured foot compared to the uninjured foot.
- 2. You have full strength of the injured foot compared to the uninjured foot.
- 3. you can jog straight ahead without pain or limping.
- 4. You can sprint straight ahead without pain or limping.
- 5. You can do 45-degree cuts, first at half-speed, then at full-speed.
- 6. You can do 20-yard figures-of-eight, first at half-speed, then at full-speed.
- 7. You can do 90-degree cuts, first at half-speed, then at full-speed.
- 8. You can do 10-yard figures-of-eight, first at half-speed, then at full-speed.
- 9. You can jump on both;feet without pain and you can jump on the injured foot without pain.
Arch Pain Rehabilitation Exercises: You may begin exercising the muscles of your foot right away by gently stretching them with the towel stretch. When the towel stretch becomes too easy, you may begin doing the standing calf stretch, plantar fascia stretch, and sitting toe raise. Next, you can begin strengthening the muscles of your foot and lower leg by doing exercises 5 and 6.
- 1) Towel stretch: Sit on a hard surface with your injured leg stretched out in front of you. Loop a towel around the ball of your foot and pull the towel toward your body, keeping your knee straight. Hold this position for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times.
- 2) Standing calf stretch: Facing a wall, put your hands against the wall at about eye level. Keep the injured leg back, the uninjured leg forward, and the heel of your injured leg on the floor. Turn your injured foot slightly inward (as if you were pigeon-toed) as you slowly lean into the wall until you feel a stretch in the back of your calf. Hold for 30 seconds. Do this several times a day.
- 3) Plantar fascia stretch: Standing with the ball of your injured foot on a stair, reach for the bottom of the step with your heel until you feel a stretch in the arch of your foot. Hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds and then relax. Relax and then repeat 3 times. After you have stretched the bottom muscles of your foot, you can begin strengthening the top muscles of your foot.
- 4) Frozen can roll: Roll your bare injured foot back and forth from your heel to your mid-arch over a frozen juice can. Repeat for 3 to 5 minutes. This exercise is particularly helpful if done first thing in the morning.
- 5) Sitting toe raiser: Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Raise the toes and the ball of your injured foot off the floor while keeping your heel on the floor. Hold for 5 seconds. Repeat 10 times. Do 3 sets of 10.
- 6) Towel pickup: With your heel on the ground, pick up a towel with your toes. Release. Repeat 10 to 20 times.
- 7) Resisted Thera-Band exercises for the lower leg A) Resisted dorsiflexion: Sit with the leg on your injured side out straight injured out straight and your foot facing a doorway. Tie a loop in one end of the band. Put your foot through the loop so that the tubing goes around the arch of your foot. Tie a knot in the other end of the Thera-Band and shut the knot in the door. Move backward until there is tension in the tubing. Keeping your knee straight, pull your foot toward your face, stretching the tubing. Slowly return to the starting position. Repeat 10 times. Do 3 sets of 10. B) Resisted plantar flexion: Sitting with your leg outstretched, loop the middle section of the tubing around the ball of your foot. Hold the ends of the tubing in both hands. Gently press the ball of your foot down and point your toes, stretching the band. Return to the starting position. Repeat 10 times. Do 3 sets of 10. C) Resisted inversion: Sit with your legs out straight and cross the leg on your uninjured side over the ankle of your injured foot. Wrap the tubing around the ball of your injured foot and then loop it around your uninjured foot so that the Thera-Band is anchored there at one end. Hold the other end of the band in your hand. Turn your injured foot inward and upward. This will stretch the tubing. Return to the starting position. Repeat 10 times. Do 3 sets of 10. D) Resisted eversion: Sit with both legs stretched out in front of you, with your feet about a shoulder's width apart. Tie a loop in one end of the Thera-Band. Put your injured foot through the loop so that the tubing goes around the arch of that foot. Then, wrap the exercise band around the outside of the uninjured foot. Hold onto the other end of the tubing with your hand to provide tension. Turn your injured foot up and out. Make sure you keep your uninjured foot still so that it will allow the tubing to stretch as you move your injured foot. Return to the starting position. Repeat 10 times. Do 3 sets of 10.
How Can I Prevent Arch Pain? Arch pain can be prevented by wearing shoes that fit properly and have proper arch support. Stretching your feet and arches before your activity will also help prevent this injury. You may need orthotics or high-quality insoles. Some people will need to wear orthotics all the time and others only during sporting activities. DME-Direct carries a large selection of today's latest insoles - all physician recommended, athlete tested. Need it fast? We offer fast free delivery on all qualified orders and have expedited shipping options available for delivery as fast as the following business day.
All material provided is designed for information purposes only and should not be used to replace the care of a health care professional. Do not rely on any of the information for diagnosis or treatment. It is recommended that you visit a qualified health care professional for individual and personal attention.