Runners & Arch Pain: What You Need to Know

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Runners are prone to a variety of foot problems including Achilles injuries, bunions, and stress fractures. However, most often, runners complain of arch and heel pain.

What causes this type of pain and what can you do about it?

Causes:

Plantar Fasciitis: Arch pain is a common symptom of plantar fasciitis, or more commonly known as heel pain. Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the plantar fascia, a tendon that stretches from your heel to the ball of your foot. If you experience pain in your arch when you take your first steps in the morning, chances are you are suffering from this common condition.

Arch Type: If you have high or low arches, you can develop pain from footwear that does not properly support your arch.  Poor support can cause your arches to roll inward, making the posterior tibial tendon work overtime to support your arch.

Osteoarthritis: You can also experience arch pain from osteoarthritis in the joints across the middle of your foot.

Training: If you ramp up your training too quickly, you can experience arch pain. Adding mileage at a fast rate increases the likelihood for pain and injuries.

Where you run also makes a difference. If you switch from running on softer surfaces to harder surfaces, like going from trails to concrete can contribute to tenderness.

Managing the Pain:

Most often runners can manage pain at home through stretching. One helpful stretch is to sit, grab your big toe, pull it back as far as you can tolerate, and hold it there for ten seconds. You should repeat this ten times. This stretch helps to release the plantar fascia.

While you’re holding your foot, rub it gently along the bottom and if you find a particularly sensitive spot, massage it with a small ball to break up scar tissue. A lacrosse ball is a perfect size. You can also use a frozen water bottle to add pain-relief and reduce inflammation.

While going barefoot can strengthen your foot muscles, that only works on healthy feet. If you’re in pain, always wear supportive shoes, even around the house. Custom orthotics, which are created for your particular foot type and need have also proven to be effective.

If you are suffering from arch pain, it’s important to be evaluated by a podiatrist to determine the cause of the pain and your best treatment options. To make an appointment with one of our physicans, please call 336-375-6990 or click here.

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