Arch pain is often felt as a burning sensation under the long arch of the foot. There are a number of causes of this, the most common being plantar fasciitis, but it can also be due to the strain of any structure in the arch of the foot.
There are a number of possible causes for arch pain but the most common are structural imbalances of the foot, such as a pronated foot (rolls inward at the ankles). This is often not enough in isolation to cause the problem but in combination with other factors, arch pain may develop. These other factors are usually associated with overuse - running, walking, hard surfaces and/or OFAD (on your feet all day), usually combined with inadequate or non-supportive footwear.
The more common specific causes of arch pain can be:
The initial treatment for arch pain, especially if it is of sudden onset is the use of ice to reduce the swelling. Later heat and anti-inflammatory gels can be a big help.
Activity should be modified - if you stand a lot at work, see if you can using seating more; if you run a lot, consider swimming or cycling for a while.
Use footwear that is supportive in the midfoot and heel area.
An accurate diagnosis from a health professional is important early in the management of arch pain.
If the symptoms are more severe, tape can be used to restrict motion and support the arch; anti-inflammatory medication can be used to give some relief. Orthotics are usually indicated.
If there is no initial response to treatment, further investigations may be necessary to check for conditions such as arthritis or a pinched nerve.
Early in the treatment of arch pain, consideration needs to be given to the cause and strategies put in place to prevent it happening again. Advice should be sought on the adequacy of footwear. Stretching exercises should be continued long after the symptoms are gone. Foot orthoses should be used if structural imbalances are present. Activity levels and types of activities (occupational and sporting) need to be considered and modified accordingly.