How to Prevent Painful Foot Arches
Foot arch pain refers to symptoms that occur under the arch of the foot. This is typically caused by inflammation of the soft tissues within the middle of the foot. The foot’s arch is formed by a tight tissue band known as the plantar fascia, which connects the toes to the heel bone. The plantar fascia is crucial for proper foot mechanics and the transfer of weight from the heel to the toes. When it is inflamed and irritated, even simple movements of the feet or taking a step can become quite painful.
Common Foot Arch Pain Symptoms
Each foot has two arches; these are the transverse arch, which is along the width of the foot, and the longitudinal arch running the length of the foot. Any pain in the arches of your feet will usually be a result of injury, damage, or inflammation to the bones, muscles, tissues, and joints in these arches, including damage to the plantar fascia.
Common symptoms of foot arch pain include pain and tenderness on the bottom of the foot that can vary in severity depending on the cause. Other symptoms can occur depending on the exact nature of the injury or condition that is leading to pain. These can include redness, swelling, bleeding, or difficulty walking or placing any weight on the foot that is affected.
What Causes Foot Arch Muscle Pain?
There are various reasons why you might be experiencing pain in the arches of your feet. These include:
Foot Arch Pain because of Plantar Fasciitis
This is the most common cause of foot arch pain. It occurs when the plantar fascia becomes inflamed and includes symptoms such as pain that occurs first thing in the morning, after long walks, or standing for a prolonged period of time. Pain is most often felt in the morning due to the plantar fascia becoming tighter and contracting during the night while you are asleep.
Foot Arch Pain because of Stress Fractures
The bones located in the middle of the foot can become damaged with overuse, risking a stress fracture. These features occur due to repetitive action and overuse that leads to a small crack forming in the bone. If you are dealing with a stress fracture, you will typically experience painful symptoms that worsen with increased activity.
Foot Arch Pain because of Tendonitis
The tendons that pass along the foot can become inflamed, leading to painful foot arches. The peroneal tendons and tibialis posterior are the two most commonly injured tendons that can lead to foot arch pain.
Foot Arch Pain because of Ligament Sprains
Each foot has twenty-six bones, all of which are connected by ligaments. Twisting or landing awkwardly when you run or walk can cause these ligaments to become twisted, causing immediate pain and swelling in some cases.
Why Do I Experience Foot Arch Pain When Waking Up?
Foot arch pain when waking up is most commonly caused by plantar fasciitis. As mentioned earlier, this condition occurs when the plantar fascia, a thick band of connective tissue that joins your heel bone and toes, is inflamed and irritated. If you are experiencing plantar fasciitis, you will usually feel the pain most severely on the arch and the heels of your feet when waking up and getting out of bed in the morning. After moving around for some time, you may find that the pain begins to lessen as the plantar fascia begins to loosen after a night of sleep. This is because the blood supply is reduced to the plantar fascia while you are sleeping and moving around will increase blood flow.
More Common Causes of Foot Arch Pain in the Morning
There are several other potential reasons why you might be experiencing painful feet in the morning. Along with plantar fasciitis, some other common conditions that can lead to foot arch pain in the morning include:
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that can lead to pain in the joints including the feet. This condition causes your body to fight against itself, attacking the fluid found within the joints and joint linings, leading to pain and inflammation. If your feet tend to be stiff and tender when you wake up, this condition could be the cause.
Bone spurs often occur near the heel but can cause pain and tenderness in the arches of the feet depending on their position. This condition occurs when bones in or close to your heel grow abnormally, resulting in the bone rubbing against other tissues and nerves in the area. This can lead to intense pain that is particularly felt first thing in the morning.
Flat feet or fallen arches can lead to pain and discomfort in this area of your feet. It occurs when you have very low or no arches in your feet. Some people have feet like this from birth, while in others, it can occur as a result of pressure and strain on the arches over time from overuse or from being overweight and obese. The lack of an arch causes the sole of your foot to completely touch the ground while standing, which can result in painful swelling due to the lack of support for the muscles and ligaments in your feet.
Poorly Fitting Shoes
Finally, your feet might be aching in the morning if you are spending your days wearing shoes that do not support them well. Your shoes should always fit your feet perfectly and provide adequate support and cushioning for your arches; this is particularly important if you have a pre-existing foot condition. If you are experiencing foot arch pain in the morning, the first thing that you should check is how well your shoes actually fit.
Do Foot Arch Pain Insoles Work?
You can add insoles to your shoes to provide additional support for your arches. This can be a very useful idea if you have flat feet or spend a lot of the time standing up, putting a lot of pressure on the muscles and ligaments in the arches of your feet. For the best results, it’s a good idea to see a professional such as a podiatrist who can have custom orthotics made that are tailored to your feet and provide the maximum amount of support. For instant relief, you can find over-the-counter gel insoles and other types of insoles designed to provide additional foot arch support.
How to Get Foot Arch Pain Relief
The good news is that in most cases, getting relief from painful foot arches is entirely possible. Since foot arch pain is often caused by shoes that do not provide enough support to the arches of your feet, the first thing that you should do is check the fit and quality of your shoes. If you suspect that your footwear might be to blame you will certainly notice a difference by purchasing and wearing high-quality, well-fitted, and supportive shoes instead. Remember that our feet do change as we age, so it’s a good idea to have your feet professionally measured to ensure that you are buying the right size for you. Many people go through life wearing the wrong shoe size as they don’t realise that their feet have changed since they were last measured.
Foot soaks are another effective way to get relief from painful foot arches, especially if caused by an inflammatory problem such as plantar fasciitis. Using a bath or suitable foot spa, add some Epsom salts to warm water and soak your feet for around thirty minutes. Epsom salts are an ideal product to use for their soothing and anti-inflammatory properties. You might also want to try adding a few drops of peppermint or eucalyptus oil to your foot soak for further relief.
Massaging the underside of your feet can also help with painful arches. You can do this using a tennis ball or massage ball that is placed underneath your feet while you are sitting on a chair. Move your feet over the ball in a backwards and forwards motion. Self-massage with your hands can also be relieving; bring your foot up to your other knee and massage a generous amount of anti-inflammatory cream or ointment into your soles using your thumbs in a pressing, circular motion to relieve knots and tensions. Whenever you can, a professional foot massage can certainly be helpful.
Some Effective Foot Arch Pain Home Remedies
The good news for anybody suffering from painful foot arches is that there are several home remedies to try. However, it is a wise idea to speak to your doctor before taking any over the counter medications or using any products, especially if you suffer from any pre-existing health conditions. Some commonly used home remedies for aching, sore foot arches include:
- Over the counter NSAIDs such as ibuprofen or aspirin
- Epsom salt foot soaks
- Massage and massage balls
- Compression socks and stockings
- Gel insoles
- Supportive shoes
- Elevating the feet above the heart
- Foot wraps
- Ice packs
The most common causes of aching foot arches, particularly in the morning, include plantar fasciitis or simply wearing ill-fitting shoes. Thankfully, there are several things that you can do to relieve the pain and walk more comfortably.