What are the Most Common Causes of Pain in the Arch of the Foot?

A. Pasbjerg
A. Pasbjerg
Shoe insoles.
Shoe insoles.

There are a variety of issues that commonly cause pain in the arch of the foot. One of the main causes is plantar fasciitis, where the main ligament that runs along the arch from front to back becomes inflamed. The muscles in the arch can become strained or injured from overuse or trauma. Fractures can sometimes occur in the bones of the foot for several reasons, leading to arch pain. Arthritis may also affect the joints in the area.

Muscles can become strained from wearing high-heeled shoes.
Muscles can become strained from wearing high-heeled shoes.

Pain in the arch of the foot often results from a condition called plantar fasciitis. There is a tough band of fibrous tissue called the plantar fascia that runs from the ball of the foot in the front to the heel in the back of the foot and supports the arch. It can become stretched, strained, or torn, which in turn leads to inflammation and pain in the arch. This issue affects those with flat feet in particular, though it is also common in athletes who put a lot of strain on their feet or people whose jobs require them to stand most of the day.

A podiatrist may be consulted to determine the cause of arch pain.
A podiatrist may be consulted to determine the cause of arch pain.

Damage to the muscles located there may cause pain in the arch of the foot. This can occur in a variety of ways. The muscles can become strained from overuse, from wearing ill-fitting footwear or shoes that stress the muscles like high heels, or due to stress coming from other areas like tight muscles in the lower leg. People with turned-in feet or very flat arches may also be susceptible to muscle strain in their arches. Trauma to the foot, such as having it stepped on or from stepping on something hard, may lead to painful bruising and tissue damage.

Plantar fascitis may cause pain in the arch of the foot.
Plantar fascitis may cause pain in the arch of the foot.

The bones in the foot that support the arch may become fractured, leading to pain. As with muscle damage, this can be the result of trauma to the foot. They may also be stress fractures; for example, the foot may be twisted or become injured due to excessive hard use such as running on an uneven surface.

Another common cause of pain in the arch of the foot is arthritis. This condition can develop in the joints that support the arch, typically when they are subject to repetitive motions. This puts stress on them, which in turn leads to repeated minor injuries in the tissues. Over a period of time, this cycle of injury and re-injury makes the joints susceptible to arthritis.

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