Foot injury spotlight: What causes arch pain?

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Pain along the arch of the foot is a common problem among runners and joggers, but it can also affect those who spend the day working on their feet. Standing in one position for long periods of time while working the cash register or walking the halls of a hospital for 12 hours can cause a number of foot problems. Arch pain in particular is common because that’s where much of the force is placed while walking. However, not all arch pain comes from the same source. Keep reading to learn about the causes of arch pain and what you can do to prevent it.

Why is your foot arched?

The structure of your foot actually consists of three arches:

  • Medial longitudinal arch
  • Lateral longitudinal arch
  • Transverse arch.

When most people refer to arch pain, they generally mean the first or second arch mentioned above. Picture your foot resting lightly on the floor. The part of your foot that raises slightly from the ground actually consists of two arches on top of each other. According to KenHub, the medial arch lies above the lateral arch. Both are made up of bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments. Damage to the muscles and tendons of the medial arch can cause a collapsed arch.

The third arch, known as the transverse arch, is perpendicular to the others. Looking down at your foot, this arch runs horizontally near your ankle, parallel to your toes. KenHub noted that all three aches play a role in bearing weight, shock absorption and stabilization. Each plays an important role in your walking gait. As you move, they alternately flatten and become rigid as you propel yourself. As with many bodily functions, the movement of your arches is probably something you don’t notice until there’s a problem.

The complexity of your feet means they're susceptible to injury.The complexity of your feet means they’re susceptible to injury.

Common arch pain causes

Each of your feet contains 26 bones along with connective tissue and muscles. Because they’re so complex, there are a number of problems that can occur, especially when you have to stand, walk or run for extended periods of time. Four common causes of arch pain stick out, however. Please note that if you experience sharp or severe foot pain, you should see your health care professional.

Foot sprain: Sprains are commonly found in athletes, but they can occur on the job as well. Typically, they are the result of an impact. Anything from a fall from a higher level to a missed stair could potentially cause a sprain. According to Harvard Medical School, sprains in the midfoot region usually show symptoms of swelling, bruising and an inability to bear weight. They can take weeks or even months to fully heal. Typical treatment consists of providing ice and pressure to the area while elevating the foot. Your doctor may recommend elevating the foot while you rest.

Plantar Fasciitis: This is one of the most common foot ailments. It can be caused by genetics or other conditions such as weight gain. The condition can also be caused by something as simple as standing for long periods or wearing shoes with poor arch support. According to Cedars-Sinai Hospital, the condition can be diagnosed by a visual examination, though your doctor may request an ultrasound to rule out other ailments. Treatment for plantar fasciitis can vary from wearing orthotic insoles or heel cushions to performing stretches and resting the foot.

Tendonitis: Injuries and overuse of the tendons in your feet can lead to tenderness and swelling of the area. The University of Maryland reported that this ailment can usually be treated through rest and dietary supplements such as Vitamins E, C, A and calcium. Massage may also provide some relief from pain.

Stress fractures: Small fractures in the bones of the foot can occur as a result of sudden new activity or osteoporosis. People who take up a new activity such as running or gymnastics are at a higher risk for stress fractures. The same can be said of those who have recently started a physically intense job.

How to prevent arch pain

The Hospital for Special Surgery noted that one easy way to prevent stress fractures and other common causes of arch pain is to pay attention to your footwear. Shoes with slip-resistant soles can keep you from falling and getting a sprain or fracture. If your feet have naturally low arches, consider using a cushioned insole and talk with doctor about your options.

Arch pain can cause extreme discomfort on the job or even force you to take a few days off. It’s important to find shoes that will give you the support and protection you need. That’s why Shoes For Crews has an easy and fast return policy, so you can get the perfect shoe for your needs.

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