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Arch pain

Also referred to as:
Mid portion plantar fasciitis • Plantar Fibroma

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What is arch pain?

As discussed in the high arches and fallen arches/ flat feet pages, there aren’t really “arches” in the feet, however the term is used a lot. When people discuss “arch” pain, they are usually referring to pain on the inside and underside of the foot “the instep” between the heels and the toes.

There are many structures that attach to and run through this area. Most are soft tissues but the mid foot bones of the feet are also here.

If you can feel a lump, or several lumps in your arch, it may be something called a plantar fibroma which is a little like a dupuytren’s contracture which can form in the hands. Any lumps need to be assessed appropriately and quickly.

How can I help myself?

If you are getting pain or tightness in the arch of your feet, it may simply be from stress on or through the soft tissues. This may be improved by very gently rolling your foot on a soft ball, like a tennis ball whilst sitting down, for 5-10 minutes several times a day (do not do this if it causes pains or problems). You could also try rolling on a frozen or cold bottle, but keep a thin sock on to protect your skin from the cold. Anti-inflammatory or pain reliving medication may also be useful. Please see important safety information. 

Gentle calf stretching may also help to relieve symptoms, we will post a video on this soon.

Footwear with more supportive soles and slightly sturdier heels, such as a running trainer, may also be useful.

If you are unable to put weight on your foot or you have sustained an injury or rupture of the soft tissues, seeking more urgent medical care is important.

When to see a Podiatrist?

If you have persistent arch pain, or if you can feel a lump or swelling in the arch, it is a good idea to see a Podiatrist. A Podiatrist will check your feet, your foot mechanics and the structures in the arches of your feet. They can advise on management options which may involve rest, ICE, footwear, exercises or foot orthoses as appropriate.

Sometimes imaging, Shockwave therapy or other therapies, and even steroid injections will be advised too, based on your symptoms and the severity of the problem.

If you book an appointment, it is wise to take the footwear you wear day to day.

Arch pain