When Your Foot Arch Pain Is Not Caused By Plantar Fasciitis

If you enjoy pounding the pavement it is likely you have experienced a twinge here and there relational to your running. That just seems to be the nature of the beast. We run. Sometimes we hurt. Runners who have arch pain often find themselves freaking out for a hot minute. Why, you ask? Because as most runners know, oftentimes arch pain in your foot means the dreaded plantar fasciitis. However, what happens when your foot arch pain is not caused by plantar fasciitis?

Abnormally High Arches

Some runners have very, very high arches and this can cause pain to the arch of the foot. Known as cavus foot, it simply means your arches are very high and therefore, might lack support. If you have cavus foot, there can be an excessive amount of weight being placed on other parts of the foot. For example, there will often be extra weight on the ball of your foot and heel.

This excessive weight in these two areas while standing or walking can lead to pain and/or discomfort. It can also lead to instability. While there are some medical conditions that can cause cavus foot, it can also be a simple structural abnormality.

Custom orthotics can compensate for these very high arches and provide some stability where the arches need it most.

Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction

Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction (also known as PTTD) is a condition where the tendon changes and is no longer able to support the arch of a foot. Since the arch is no longer supported by the tendon, the person’s foot flattens. This flattening of the foot can cause pain and discomfort.

Extremely common in runners, this can often happen over time to someone who has not had prior issues.

Posterior Tibial Tendon Pain

Symptoms of PTTD are pain, swelling, a flattened arch and may also involve rolling of the ankle. Also, the area could be warm, red, and/or swollen.

PTTD is another instance where orthotics or inserts can help the issue. Giving the arch the support it requires often makes the pain and discomfort go away.

Anti-inflammatories, such as ibuprofen, can also help alleviate pain caused by this.


Overpronation is an excessive inward rotation of the foot. While over-pronation can cause plantar fasciitis, it can also cause simple arch pain.


Many runners who overpronate find they can solve their foot problems simply by wearing a stability shoe.

How Do You Treat Arch Pain?

Depending on what is causing your foot arch pain, there are a few things you can do for treatment or prevention.

First, ask yourself if you are in the correct shoes for your feet. On the one hand, some runners are wearing entirely too much shoe. One look at the minimalist movement shows runners that there is a very large school of thought out there encouraging runners to wear less support on their feet. Minimalist shoes can actually end pain by activating muscles differently.

On the other hand, runners plagued by arch pain often find what they need is a stability shoe. Depending on your symptoms, running experience and desire to experiment, both options are worth considering.

Many runners find that they benefit from arch support. There are a multitude of over the counter inserts available to offer arch support in a variety of different levels. In addition, podiatrists create custom orthotics made especially for the person’s foot.

How Do I Get Rid Of Arch Pain In My Foot?

Assuming your foot pain is not too extreme, there are other things you can try. Some home remedies for foot pain include:

A Warm Foot Bath: Not only excellent for foot pain, a warm bath can solve a lot of what ails us. Soaking in warm water, perhaps with a bit of Epsom salts, is great for relaxation as well as helping muscles.

Stretches: Stretching your foot can help get rid of arch and other pain.

Strengthening: Another thing you can do is to try to strengthen the foot. There are many foot strengthening exercises out there that can perhaps alleviate your pain.

Foot Massage: Treat yourself to a foot massage! You have not experienced true indulgence until you have had a foot massage done by a professional.

New Shoes: As mentioned previously, you may need to try a new kind of shoe. Also, ask yourself if your current shoes are broken down. Many running experts suggest tracking the number of miles you are putting on a pair of shoes. A pair of running shoes last a typical runner 350-500 miles.

Ice: Soaking your feet in an ice bath or using ice bags can often help ease discomfort.

Pain Reliever: Whether you are talking about an oral anti-inflammatory or a topical pain reliever, there are options out there.

Night Splints: Some people benefit from night splints that keep them from pointing their toes while asleep, which can lead to pain.

Good Exercises for Feet

foot exercises

When trying to strengthen and stretch your feet, there are a lot of good choices.

  • Toe Raise, Point and Curl – Sitting with your feet flat on the ground raise your toes off of the floor, point them up and curl them. Release and put them flat again, then repeat.
  • Toe Splay – Sit with your feet flat on the ground and “splay” your toes up and apart. Place them flat on the floor again, then repeat.
  • Marble Pick Up – Pick up a marble on the floor with your toes. This can also be done with a towel.
  • Alphabet With Toes – While seated, use a foot to trace out the alphabet with your foot. Repeat with the other foot.

When To See a Doctor

How do you know when to see a doctor? If the home remedies don’t provide you any relief, it might be time. Foot arch pain that is not plantar fasciitis can often be taken care of with some of the suggestions above.

However, anytime a problem gets worse or interferes with everyday life, it’s time to ask for help.

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