Arch Pain is a common problem for many people. Arch pain usually occurs across the bottom of the foot at any point between the heel and the ball of the foot. Most arch pain is due to strain or inflammation of the plantar fascia (a long ligament on the bottom of the foot). This condition is known as plantar fasciitis. Sometimes, arch pain can develop after overuse, weight gain, injuries, or unsupportive shoes. Healthy arches are vital for the overall health of your feet!

This test from The American College of Foot & Ankle Surgeons can help determine if your arches are healthy, or if you may have an issue and need to visit your Podiatrist!

  1. In bare feet, stand facing a kitchen counter.
  2. Place your palms on the counter with slight pressure.
  3. Stand with your back straight, and lift one foot off the floor.
  4. Slowly lift the heel of other foot, placing all of your weight onto the ball of your foot.
  5. Slowly lower your heel back to the floor.
  6. Do 10 foot push-ups.

Repeat steps 1–6 with the other foot.

Did you have problems doing just one push-up?
If you cannot rise up onto the ball of your foot without putting lots of pressure on your hands, leaning over the counter or experiencing pain, your arch may have a mechanical problem. The arch tendon can stretch or rupture, leading to lowering of the arch. A foot and ankle surgeon should be consulted as soon as possible.

Were you able to do all 10 without a problem?
If you can easily rise up onto the ball of your foot but have difficulty performing all 10 repetitions, you may be suffering from arch fatigue. Exercises focusing on strengthening and stretching leg muscles will help this problem. The foot push-up described above can also be used as an exercise technique. 

Did you have pain in your arch during the exercise?
If you can easily rise up onto the ball of your foot but experience pain in your arch, your arch may be inflamed and may have been overworked. Consulting a Podiatrist for weak and overworked arches is recommended to manage the problem and keep your feet healthy and free of pain.

Arch supports can sometimes be effective in treating arch pain. Arch supports are devices that are placed into the shoes to support the arch and help diminish or eliminate pain. A foot and ankle surgeon can provide advice on which type is best for your foot type! Exercises can also help strengthen the arches and ease the pain. Here are some exercises recommended by The Mayo Clinic for arch pain and plantar fasciitis.

1.  To strengthen arch muscles, place a towel on the floor, grab the towel with your toes and pull it toward you.

2.  While sitting, grasp your toes and gently pull them toward you until you feel a stretch in the arch of your foot.

3.  Stand as shown, with your back leg straight and heel down. Move your hips forward until you feel a stretch in your calf. Switch legs and repeat. Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds — don’t bounce — and do one or two repetitions two to three times a day.

Foot Pain is NOT Normal When your feet ache, all too often, this pain keeps you away from living your life like you would want. With proper diagnosis and treatment, we can treat most foot and ankle problems. Contact Dr. Kylin Kovac or Dr. Jed Erickson at Idaho Foot and Ankle Center with any questions or concerns about arch pain, arch supports, or any other foot and ankle issues you are experiencing! They will prepare a plan to help get you back to the activities you love!

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