People who run, hike and walk a lot may experience arch pain. Other culprits of arch pain include weight gain, insufficient arch support in shoes, and an injury affecting the foot.
For athletes, plantar fasciitis is often to blame. The plantar fascia is the ligament that runs along the bottom of the foot connecting the heel bone to the toes. If it becomes overstretched, inflamed or swollen, it may trigger arch pain as well as heel pain.
Another leading cause of pain is fallen arches, or flat feet. Babies and toddlers have flat feet, gradually developing arches over time. By adulthood, most people have arches, but some may never develop them. People with flat feet may develop plantar fasciitis.
Arch pain treatment options
If you have plantar fasciitis, a variety of treatment options may help with your pain, including medication, stretching exercises, orthotics (specially made shoe inserts), or steroid injections in the heel. If less invasive options don't alleviate your pain, surgery may be necessary.
Arch pain problems caused by flat feet are generally resolved with shoe inserts you can buy over the counter, or with orthotics. In rare cases, if your pain is extreme or it has affected your ability to walk, surgery may be recommended.
How to know when to get medical help for arch pain
Most pain is treatable by making changes on your own, but it may be serious if any of these conditions also apply:
- You're diabetic or have any disease that affects blood flow.
- You recently injured your foot, it is bleeding or bruising and you can't stand on it.
- You have a swollen joint, an open wound or sore on your foot, or a fever.
- You have tried at-home solutions but they're not relieving your pain.