Arch Pain

The arch is located in between the heel and the ball of the foot.

This area of the foot helps to absorb stress, aids people in adapting to sloping or uneven surfaces, and stabilizes the body for walking, standing, and training. When a patient experiences pain in the arch, there are several reasons it could be happening.

Knowing more about the causes of arch pain allows people to be informed about what could be causing their pain.


Plantar Fasciitis

Across the bottom of the foot lies a thick band of tissue. When this gets inflamed, people can develop plantar fasciitis. The pain can start in the arch and go into the heel. It tends to be the most severe right after sleeping or relaxing for a long time. This condition can occur due to too much stress and tension on this band of tissue. Things like repetitive tearing and stretching can contribute to inflammation and irritation.

Stress Fractures

This type of fracture is small and not a complete break. These small, thin cracks can develop in any bone in the foot to cause pain in the arch and elsewhere in the foot. This type of fracture usually results from repetitive force due to overuse of the feet. For example, stress fractures in the feet are relatively common in runners. Approximately two percent of the injuries that athletes experience are stress fractures. It can cause pain and weakness in the area.

There are multiple ligaments in the foot, some of which are in the arch or connected to anatomy in the arch of the foot. When a sprain occurs, this can cause tenderness, pain, swelling, and bruising. The most severe sprains may make it hard to put weight on the foot. Sprains that affect the midfoot are usually due to a collision, sports-related fall or an isolated twist of this area of the foot. For example, it can occur in ballet dancers, snowboarders and people involved in competitive diving.

This condition is characterized by a tendon becoming inflamed. Extensor tendonitis may cause pain in the arch of the foot. People may also experience stiffness, tenderness, and weakness in the affected area. Tight shoes and overuse are both common causes of this condition. Both factors can result in the tendons becoming inflamed. Another possible cause is running uphill or frequent running on an incline.

Posterior tibial tendon dysfunction is a relatively common issue affecting the ankle and foot. This condition is characterized by this tendon becoming torn or inflamed. This tendon attaches to the bones under the foot and extends to the calf muscle. Its primary function is to hold up the arch. A fall or similar acute injury can cause tearing inflammation in this tendon. It is relatively common in people who play high-impact sports. It can cause pain and sometimes make it hard to put weight on the affected foot.

Overpronation describes the arch of the foot inward after it collapses. This might also be referred to as flat feet. This causes a problem with the natural alignment, putting the person at a higher risk for certain injuries, such as plantar fasciitis, foot or lower leg stress fractures, shin splints, and chronic lower back pain. This issue is usually caused by someone’s feet being very flexible. In some cases, people are born with this condition.

Cavus foot describes a condition where a person’s arch is very high. This puts excess stress on the heel and ball of the foot when someone is standing or walking. This issue may be seen in people with certain medical conditions, such as spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, or a neurologic disorder. It may cause foot instability, pain, hammertoes, and calluses on several areas of the foot. In some cases, people who have this condition also develop a drop foot.

About 90 percent of people who have rheumatoid arthritis develop problems with their feet. It is often the first place on the body where people start to have symptoms. It is unknown what causes this type of arthritis, but it may run in families. People can experience pain, stiffness and swelling. When arch pain occurs, it is important to have it evaluated promptly. The sooner a person can start treatment, the sooner they can work on alleviating their symptoms. Treatment may also help to prevent the arch pain and the issue causing it from getting worse.

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