In the foot, arch pain or strain can sideline you from exercise and participation in your favorite sports. If you work on your feet, this problem can make for long or missed workdays.
The foot is a complex structure of bones, muscles and connective tissues that bear enormous stress under normal conditions. When you add in risk factors, the chance of developing arch pain increases significantly.
The arch spans the entire length of the foot. It helps us adapt to walking on almost any type of terrain. It distributes weight, absorbs stress, provides balance and stabilizes your body. With all these jobs to do, it’s easy to see how it could develop problems.
The complexity of the feet can also make this problem difficult to diagnose.
Causes of Foot Arch Pain
Any number of problems can cause pain in the arch, including sprains, strains, osteoarthritis, high or collapsed arches, plantar fasciitis, tarsal tunnel syndrome, fractures, bone spurs, tendinopathy, soft tissue damage and nerve issues.
Older patients and overweight patients face an increased risk of developing this problem. Athletes who participate in high-impact sports are also prone to arch pain, especially if they have biomechanical deficiencies.
Wearing old or improper footwear is a common cause of this problem.
Arch Pain Diagnosis and Treatment
Foot pain is typically progressive, meaning it will worsen without treatment, potentially damaging other parts of the foot, the leg and even the spine.
To diagnose this problem, the foot specialist or sports medicine doctor will take a detailed medical history and perform a manual examination of the feet. For most patients, the doctor will order imaging tests, which may include X-rays, ultrasound or MRI scans.
With so many potential causes of foot arch pain, treatment could range from a conservative RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) protocol to foot surgery. For some patients, regenerative medicine treatments — including platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections — are a minimally invasive alternative to surgery that shows some promise.
Preventing Foot Pain and Arch Problems
If you can take steps to prevent arch problems, you may avoid the need for surgery for this potentially debilitating condition.
Wearing high-quality shoes that are not overly worn is a great start, especially when exercising, playing sports and working on your feet. If you have fallen arches (flat feet), supportive shoe inserts can help prevent orthopedic problems.
Getting a comprehensive assessment from an orthopedic foot specialist or sports medicine doctor is the first step in prevention. The doctor can identify structural problems as well as biomechanical issues. For some patients, specific exercises designed to improve muscle strength and flexibility can help relieve pain and prevent further problems.
The orthopedic foot doctors at the Center of Orthopedic & Rehabilitation Excellence (CORE) provide world-class diagnostic and treatment services to patients with foot problems. Contact our West Jordan or Riverton, Utah, treatment centers today to learn more about foot arch pain treatment and prevention.