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Pain In The Arch: What Causes Foot Arch Pain?

foot pain

Did you know that Eight out of 10 Americans report feeling foot arch pain? Yet, less than half go to a podiatrist to address these aches and pains.

Sixty percent consult with their primary care doctor. And another 48 percent fill out an online questionnaire to try to self-diagnose the problem. Only 37 percent talk to a podiatrist.

But here’s the exciting part. Of those who do visit a podiatrist’s office, a whopping 88 percent report getting a speedy diagnosis. And 76 percent believe that the podiatrist provided them with an effective prescription or treatment.

One thing’s for sure. If you’re experiencing chronic foot pain, you need to know what’s going on and how to remedy the situation. Read on to learn more about what causes arch pain, and how it can be cured.

A Pain in the Foot

Do you experience chronic pain in your arch? If so, you’re not alone. This proves one of the most common foot problems and can affect everyone from highly active athletes and runners to more sedentary individuals.

That’s because the pain in the arch of the foot has a variety of causes. These include:

  • Physical stress
  • Neurological conditions
  • Overuse
  • Weight gain
  • Aging
  • Flat feet

The arch of your foot serves many different purposes. It helps with absorbing shock and weight-bearing. It’s essential to stabilizing movement, creating balance, and adapting to terrain changes and transitions.

The arch of the foot represents all of the territories from your heel to the base of your toes. That’s a significant amount of foot “real estate.” As a result, people experience pain in the arch of foot symptoms in different regions of the foot.

For example, some may feel it concentrated in their heel while others feel the pain in the ball of their foot. Most people also feel pain in other parts of their body such as the knees, hips, legs, back, or even the top of their foot.

When people experience this pain also varies. Some notice that it’s worse when they’re standing or walking while others notice it more during or after activities involving their feet. Some report the most intense pain first thing in the morning.

Why the diversity in where and how arch pain is felt? Because of the variation in underlying causes.

Conditions that Cause Foot Arch Pain

What kind of a diagnosis can you expect to get from a podiatrist? There are four main culprits when it comes to foot arch pain, although you should visit a podiatrist at the podiatry center in Clifton, NJ or Wayne, NJ for a thorough examination and proper diagnosis.

At the podiatrist’s office, they may discuss one or more of the following conditions with you:

  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Overpronation
  • Cavus foot
  • Posterior tibial tendon dysfunction (PTTD)

Let’s examine each of these conditions in greater detail.

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis remains hands-down the most common source of foot arch pain among adults. It’s also one of the most common orthopedic complaints. Period.

What causes plantar fasciitis? Overuse, injury, and inflammation of the plantar fascia, the ligament connecting your heel to the front of your foot.

Most patients diagnosed with plantar fasciitis report increased pain upon waking. They also report feeling stiffness or discomfort in the arch and heel. Prolonged periods of standing or being on their feet also exacerbate the discomfort.

While plantar fasciitis is often a runner’s ailment, it can affect less active people, too.

What might a podiatrist suggest to mitigate the pain associated with this condition? Certain foot stretches help. Some patients also respond well to wearing different types of shoes or using podiatric inserts.


The way you move your foot can also impact its health. This is where conditions such as overpronation come into play.

When people overpronate, their outer heels hit the ground before the rest of their foot. To accommodate this movement, the foot must roll inward towards the arch. As a result, the foot can become too flat.

Overpronation leads to damage to your tendons, muscles, and ligaments. This, in turn, causes pain in the arch of your foot.

People who overpronate when walking often experience other symptoms, too. These include:

  • Hammertoe
  • Corns
  • Calluses
  • Knee pain
  • Hip pain
  • Back pain

What’s a telltale sign of overpronation? Take a look at the bottom of your shoes. Do you notice extra wear on the inside of the heel, the ball of the foot, or the inside part of the bottom of your shoe? If so, you probably overpronate.

Stability shoes can help correct your overpronation. In some cases, inserts provide an effective option, too. Your podiatrist might also suggest specific stretches and exercises to help alleviate some of the discomforts.

Cavus Foot

Individuals with an abnormally high arch often get diagnosed with a cavus foot. This could be an inherited structural characteristic or the result of a neurological disease such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, stroke, or cerebral palsy.

For those with cavus foot, they notice pain when they walk or stand. Other symptoms and conditions associated with this condition include:

  • Ankle sprains
  • Foot instability
  • Claw toe
  • Hammertoe
  • Calluses

High-topped shoes that provide plenty of ankle support can relieve some of the pain associated with this condition. A podiatrist might also have you fitted with orthotic shoe inserts. In extremes cases, surgery may be required.

Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction (PTTD)

Posterior tibial tendon dysfunction (PTTD) has another name “adult-acquired flat foot.” It occurs when there is an inflammation or injury to the posterior tibial tendon, which connects a muscle in the calf to the inner foot.

As a result, the condition often presents with pain running along the inner aspect of the ankle and the back of the calf. Ankle swelling may also be present. Most patients report a worsening of symptoms after running and other athletic activities.

To treat this condition, a podiatrist may prescribe wearing a custom shoe insert or an ankle brace. Sometimes physical therapy also proves helpful. Depending on the case, surgery may prove another option to discuss with your podiatrist.

Don’t Let Foot Arch Pain Get You Down

Foot arch pain can radically affect your life and daily activities. But you don’t have to let it. If you’re experiencing burning pain in the arch of foot symptoms, instep pain, or some other type of arch pain, don’t suffer in silence.

Read on to find out more about conditions such as plantar fasciitis and how we can ease the pain and help you regain control over your life.

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