Pain in Arch of Foot: What Is It?

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After a long day at work, it can be easy to dismiss the pain you feel in your feet as a temporary inconvenience. It becomes more worrying, though, when that pain won’t go away.

Pain in the arch of your foot can come from a variety of sources. Most typically, this pain is felt in the heel and ball of the foot, but if it is the symptom of a more serious problem, that pain can also be felt in the ankles and calves.

arch of foot pain

Your feet are ideally designed to absorb shock and to move you from one strange environment to the other. Foot arch pain makes it more difficult for your feet to bear your weight and to stabilize you as you walk.

Consider some of the following causes of sharp pain in the arch of your foot and see if the strain you’re feeling is just pressure at the end of a long day, or if there’s something more serious going on with your feet.

Causes of Foot Arch Pain

The first cause of pain in the arch of your foot to consider is, truly, the stress you’ve been under over the course of your day.

If you’ve spent too much time on your feet, it’s natural that the muscles and ligaments there will be inflamed. Take a day and assess.

Even so, there may be some less serious (or more serious) causes of foot pain that you can attribute the experience to.

Weight Gain

If you’ve recently put on a bit of weight, your body will likely take time to adjust to the change. This means stretch marks, sore muscles, and potential pain in the arch of your feet.

The pain you’re feeling might not go away as soon as you like, but extra pressure from the weight is a less severe cause of foot pain than you might think.

You may take the pain in your feet as a sign that significant change is occurring in your life. It’s up to you to decide how you want to address that change, but your body (including your feet) frequently reflects the state your head is in.

Listen to what your body is saying, even if it’s just that the chips you bought on your last run out are a little too delicious.


There’s nothing anyone can do (yet) to stay young forever. As you age, the bones in your feet, and in fact, the bones all over your body will gradually weaken.

If you find yourself getting a little older than you’d like to admit and your feet are beginning to bother you, then there might not be anything wrong with you overall.

Your body will just be reacting to its continued evolution, and you may have to adjust your lifestyle accordingly.

Over-Walking and Physical Stress

As previously mentioned, a long day of work may put your feet out of commission for a little bit. But if you’re consistently over-walking, or if you’re under an unusual amount of physical stress, your feet may start to complain a little more loudly.

pain in arch of foot

Be sure to assess your situation when you take note of your foot pain. What kind of job are you working? Are you running after young children all day at home? What do your stress levels look like, and is there anything you can do to lower them?

Self-awareness is the first step to diagnosis and then to recovery.

Malformed Arches

More medically serious explanations for arch pain find root in genetic and neurological differences within patients.

Flat feet and high arches both come as a result of genetic differentiation within a body. Folks with flat feet lack the arch that supports the foot, meaning that they can’t distribute the weight that they’re carrying healthfully across their foot.

Folks with high arches experience a similar problem, as their weight is disproportionately distributed across their feet.

Whether or not you have flat feet or high arches can typically be determined by a quick look over your feet, but be sure to consult a medical professional if you think your arches embody either extreme.

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis is the inflammation of the ligament that holds your foot together. This inflammation can occur as the result of bone spurs or of severe irritation or overstimulation of the feet.

Symptoms of plantar fasciitis include a swelling of the foot, great difficulty bearing weight, and sharp pain of the arch of your foot.

Plantar fasciitis requires a doctor to diagnose and can require surgery to heal appropriately, but this kind of extreme response is not always necessary.

If you have difficulty bearing weight on your arch for more than three days, or if the pain is exceptionally severe, seek out professional help at once.


Much the same advice can be given for folks who may have PTTD, or posterior tibial tendon dysfunction.

Also known as acquired flatfoot, PTTD arises when the posterior tibial tendon becomes inflamed, again by a bone spur, overstimulation, or over-walking.

This tendon attaches the arch of your foot to your calf, and its inflammation can be exceptionally painful due to the larger nature of the tendon.

The ankle of a person with PTTD will typically swell, but the pain associated with PTTD most often arises in the midst of a particular physical activity as opposed to after.

If you experience sharp pain in the arc of your foot, ankle, and calf while working out or performing a particularly strenuous activity, you may have an inflamed posterior tibial tendon.


Overpronation is a physical disorder of the foot that most typically results when a person is flat-footed.

When a person who is overpronated walks, the outer edge of their heel hits the ground before any other part of their foot.

The misdistribution of weight that this causes can, in turn, see the tendons and ligaments of the foot damaged.

If undiagnosed or untreated, an overpronated person may damage not only their feet but their knees, hips, and back.

Consciously changing the way you walk can do a bit to treat overpronation, but more severe cases require corrective surgery to ensure that you can walk properly and limit the strain on your feet.

Cavus Foot

Cavus foot serves as a sort of opposite to overpronation. The result of exceptionally high arches, cavus foot is often generic or the result of a broader bodily issue.

You may have cavus foot if you also have cerebral palsy or if you’ve had a stroke. The most prominent symptom of cavus foot is foot instability and difficulty maintaining your balance while walking.

Cavus foot also requires a diagnosis from a doctor and can have more effective treatment when you work alongside healthcare professionals.

That being said, there are a few foot arch pain home remedies that may help ease cavus foot symptoms – remedies which will be discussed shortly.

Treatment for Foot Arch Pain

The severity of your arch pain will impact the kind of diagnosis and treatment that you want to seek out.

There are a number of home remedies for arch pain, though, that may either staunch the pain for a while or make it go away entirely.

Before committing to a doctor’s visit, consider some of the following and see how your body reacts.

pain in arch of foot


Taking some time away from the source of your stress is one of the best cure-alls there is.

A day or two of rest will let you know whether or not the pain in your arches is the result of over-walking or of something more serious.

Try to keep your feet elevated while you rest on the couch by putting a pillow underneath them, but do what you can to keep your activity at a reasonable level.

Warm Baths

Hand in hand with relaxation comes exposure to warm water. A warm bath will not only relax your spirit, but it will relax the muscles in your feet and enable you to relieve your pain momentarily, if not entirely.

Break out your favorite bath bomb or bubbles and settle in for a soak. Make sure your feet are entirely immersed, and stay in the water until the water starts to cool.


If you want to take a more active approach to conquer your arch pain, you can work through a few general stretches in order to elongate the muscles in your feet and prevent them from freezing up.

Stretch out the tendons in your leg by trying to touch your toes. Sit down, alternatively, and alternate between pointing your toe at the nearest wall and then letting the whole of your foot go slack.

Stretching, even for a little while, will make the pain in your arch feel less prominent.

Supportive Footwear

If your foot pain persists, then it may be time to invest in some new shoes.

Supportive shoes aren’t just for older folks; there are several stylish pairs available for people of all ages who happen to experience severe foot pain.

If you’re not interested in purchasing shoes specifically to combat your sore feet, there are also shoe inserts available that will support your arches, be they too high or too flat.

Just slip these inserts into your shoes, and you should feel the improved support immediately. Be sure to replace these inserts every year or so, though! If you don’t, they’ll wear out and be more of a detriment to your feet than an aid.

Anti-Inflammatory Medication

If the pain in your arches is particularly persistent, then anti-inflammatory medication will not only help calm the irritated muscles in your feet, but it will make you feel better quickly and somewhat cheaply.

More heavy duty medication requires a prescription, naturally, but off-the-shelf medications like Advil are easy to access and can help treat your more severe foot pain immediately and without fuss.

Here’s a video showing more details on foot arch pain.

Do you have any tips for foot arch pain relief?