The term arch pain (often referred to as arch strain) refers to an inflammation and/or burning sensation at the arch of the foot.
There are a number of possible causes for arch pain, but the most common are structural imbalances of the foot, such a pronated foot (rolls inward at the ankles). This is often not enough in isolation to cause the problem, but in combination with other factors arch pain may develop. These other factors are usually associated with overuse - running, walking, hard surfaces and/or OFAD (on feet all day), usually combined with inadequate or non-supportive footwear.
The more common specific causes of arch pain can be:
- Plantar fasciitis (strain of the plantar fascia - a strong ligament that supports the arch)
- Tarsal tunnel syndrome (a pinched nerve at the ankle that refers pain to the arch)
- Foot strain from a pronated foot or flat foot
- Osteoarthritis of the joints in the midfoot that can cause arch pain
There are many different factors that can cause arch pain. A structural imbalance or an injury to the foot can often be the direct cause. However, most frequently the cause is a common condition called plantar fasciitis.
Treatment and Prevention
The initial treatment should include decreased activity, local ice treatments, and supportive shoes and arch supports. Shoes with a slight heel elevation often decrease symptoms as compared to flat shoes. When the arch pain is pronation related choose a motion control shoe or other sturdy footwear.
If the problem persists, consult your foot doctor.