Running is a great way to strengthen your feet and keep your whole body fit, but it can also lead to lower body injuries. One area that is often felled by injury in both amateur and regular runners is the foot arch. Pain in this location can come from a few different causes, and it’s important to identify the true cause of pain in order to move forward with the best treatment. Below, we look at three common causes of arch pain in runners and discuss your treatment options.
Arch Pain Causes in Runners
One of the biggest reasons that runners often feel pain in their arch is because the changing terrain beneath their feet puts added stress on the arch. It’s more common for outdoor runners to experience arch pain due to repetitive microstress on the arch, but it can also occur in track or treadmill runners. Here’s a look at three underlying issues that could be causing your arch pain.
1. Plantar Fasciitis – One of the more common causes of arch pain in runners is caused by plantar fasciitis. Runners who run uphill are more likely to develop this condition, as this type of running puts more strain on the ankle, which in turn creates extra tension in the foot arch. This tension can lead to the onset of localized inflammation and the development of plantar fasciitis. Treatment includes taking some time off, stretching your calves before and after runs to help prevent tension in the arch, investing in a quality pair of running shoes with arch supports contoured to your foot, physical therapy and in rare cases, surgery.
2. Tendonitis – Your posterior tibial tendon provides support for the arch on the inner side of your foot, and when this tendon is overstressed, it can become inflammed and cause arch pain. Left untreated, it can actually affect the arch and stability of your foot, so make sure you see a foot specialist. Treatment will include a variety of changes, including decreasing activity levels, targeted stretching routines and physical therapy.
3. Stress Fractures – A final common cause of arch pain in runners is a stress fracture. Your foot is made up of a number of tiny bones, and a microfracture in one or more of these bones can lead to pain in the arch. Metatarsal fractures often lead to pain in the arch region, and because it may not be all that painful, some people end up making it worse because they brush it off as general soreness. If pain is dull and gets worse with activity, set up an x-ray with a foot doctor. If a stress fracture is confirmed, treatment will include rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE), and you may be prescribed a walking boot or another type of protective device to help you remain non-weight bearing while the injury heals.