Your arch is comprised of your tarsal and metatarsal bones, along with supporting ligaments and tendons. Touch the top of any one of your toes and trace the bone down to the center of your foot. Your fingers will eventually trace a bone called your metatarsal. Attached to your toe bones, these five metatarsal bones help you stand, walk, and run by distributing your weight evenly to keep you balanced. Connected to your metatarsals, near the back of your foot, are seven tarsal bones. Together, your tarsals and metatarsals form your arch.
An important structure connected to your arch is your posterior tibialis tendon. This muscle originates behind your shin bone, runs inside your ankle, and attaches to several of your tarsal bones within your arch. This tendon is responsible for maintaining a healthy, supportive arch during your everyday activities.
When any of these arch-related bones, ligaments, and tendons are weakened or injured from overuse, excessive activity, or wear and tear from aging, then you may start experiencing arch pain.
In addition to identifying how your arch type may affect your arch pain, also ask yourself:
- Do I feel pain behind or on the inside of my ankle bone?
- Does this pain get worse during walking, running, or standing?
Sometimes arch pain is a symptom of a more specific foot ailment such as Plantar Fasciitis or you may have a condition called Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction (PTTD). When this tendon is weakened or overworked, it creates a type of arch pain that stresses your plantar fascia (the band of connective tissue that stretches from the heel to the ball of your foot), causes gradual fatigue of your arch, and decreases the amount of support your arch gets from the posterior tibialis tendon.
If left untreated arch pain and collapsed or high arches can lead to a range of problems including:
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Heel Spurs
- Heel Pain
- Hammer Toes
- Overlapping Toes
- Morton’s Neuroma
Do not let arch pain go without treatment. Because your arch supports the weight of your entire body, arch pain tends to affect other areas of your feet, ankles, knees, legs, and back. Podiatrists at The Foot & Ankle Clinic offer a range of treatment modalities to help arch pain including FS-6 Support socks and the amazing Foot Gym: