Some people have high arches, and some barely have an arch at all. Regardless of the size of the arch of your foot, that arch may become painful at one time or another. When this happens, you will want to deduce the cause of the arch pain so that you know how to treat it or so that you have a better idea of how your podiatrist may treat it. To that end, take a look at these common causes of arch pain.
Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction
Because this condition has such a long name, it is often abbreviated PTTD. It is characterized by inflammation of the posterior tibial tendon, which is a tough piece of connective tissue running from the inside of your arch to your calf. If this tendon becomes stretched out, it no longer gives the arch the support it needs, and that results in arch pain.
PTTD also typically causes swelling and pain along the inside of the ankle. PTTD is common in people who put a lot of strain on their ankles and feet by running, walking, hiking, or climbing stairs repeatedly. Most cases can be treated with a foot brace, which will help support the arch as your tendon heals. If you're an athlete, you will need to take some time off.
Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the plantar fascia, which is a ligament that connects your heel to your forefoot. Usually, the pain of plantar fasciitis is worse when you get up in the morning, and it subsides throughout the day as you walk and move. Most people do not notice any outward swelling, although the internal structures of the foot are swollen.
As with PTTD, a custom-designed foot brace and shoe inserts can help you heal. You will also want to spend plenty of time resting your foot in an elevated position and using ice to bring down internal swelling.
Heel spurs are deposits of bony tissue that appear on the bottom of the heel bone. They usually develop as a protective mechanism if you have been over-straining your feet and ankles for a long period of time. If you have plantar fasciitis and do not treat it, then heel spurs are likely to develop.
The associated pain is similar to that of plantar fasciitis, but you may also feel like you're stepping on a stone, or like your heel itself is swollen. In most cases, orthotic shoe inserts can keep pain under control, but more serious cases require surgery.
Talk to your podiatrist if you are experiencing arch pain. It can be tough to tell the difference between these three conditions.