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Foot Bone or Joint Injury

Conditions That Cause Foot Arch Pain After Running

Minute Read

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Posted 2 years ago

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Last updated: 28/08/2023

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by James McCormack

Foot Arch Anatomy

The arch of the foot refers to pain along the medial longitudinal arch of your foot. The muscles that attach to the inner ache of your foot are placed under significant stress when running. The primary aim of these muscles is to provide stability to the arch of the foot, control pronation forces, and act as a lever throughout the running cycle.

Foot arch pain can result from tendon, muscle, nerve, or articular joint pain. This article will explore the potential causes of foot arch pain after running and treatments to get you pain-free.

Causes Foot Arch Pain After Running

Change in your running training

Changing the volume, speed, or intensity of your running routine can cause an overload of the arch of your foot, leading to pain in the arch of your foot.

 

The change doesn’t need to be dramatic; it is often subtle over weeks or months rather than 24 hours. Consider any changes you have made to your running such as speed, duration and weekly running volume. If you minimise these changes, it is likely to improve your symptoms.

Change in Footwear

It’s common for runners to change their footwear for different surfaces depending on whether they are doing a road, track or speed session. Some people quickly adjust to changes, but others are ‘micro’ adjusters.

 

Micro adjusters can find it challenging to tolerate differences in levels of support that different trainers provide. This can overload the arch of the foot and lead to pain.

 

It is broadly considered that you change your running shoes every 300-500km.

Biomechanics

If you are new to running or a consistent runner who hasn’t changed anything in their running route, you may be experiencing arch pain due to biomechanical overload.

 

Rapid pronation moments when you run, overstriding, or scissoring when you run can lead to an overload of the arch of your foot, resulting in foot arch pain. A Biomechanical assessment with a running specialist Physiotherapist can identify these patterns in your running form.

Change of Environment

Have you changed the roads that you run on? Where the camber is on the road can alter the force going through your foot and influence what muscles work hardest to stabilise your foot and ankle.

 

The same could be said for introducing a more undulating surface that overloads the arch of your foot and causes pain.

Foot Arch Pain After Running: Conditions

Posterior Tibial Tendonitis

The Posterior Tibial Tendon is a long tendon that runs down the inside of your shin and into the arch of your foot.

Its function is to act as an ankle stabiliser. It assists in slowing down pronation moments when running or walking, and it is one of the most common causes of foot arch pain after running.

A typical tendonitis pattern can be painful first thing in the morning, especially the morning after a run. It can be sore at the beginning of a run but eases as the run progress and it may be sore after a run. As the condition deteriorates, it can become painful throughout a run and with daily activities such as standing or walking.

Supportive running shoes can be helpful, alongside strengthening exercises. In another article, we cover the symptoms, diagnosis and causes of posterior tibial tendonitis, including recommended strengthening exercises.

Plantar Fasciitis

The Plantar Fascia is located on the bottom of your foot, and it is a thick band of tissue that runs from your heel bone along the arch of your foot, attaching to your forefoot.

The Plantar Fascia’s primary function is to provide stability to the underside and arch of the foot. If excess pressure is placed on the plantar fascia, it can become painful and develop into Plantar Fasciitis.

More often, Plantar Fasciitis pain is located on the attachment of the Plantar Fascia to the heel bone, but a midportion Plantar Fasciitis can cause arch pain. Providing extra support to the foot’s arch with a stability trainer or a custom orthotic can relieve pain, while strengthening exercises are recommended to correct the issue.

Navicular Stress Fracture

The Navicular is a small bone in the arch of your foot. It is the attachment point for several muscles, including the Posterior Tibial Tendon. Navicular pain is primarily caused by impact activity such as running, jumping and gymnastics.

Vibrations from these movements can irritate the navicular bone and lead to a Navicular Stress Fracture.

Early diagnosis of this injury is essential as there is a limited blood supply to the navicular bone. If a stress fracture is not managed appropriately, it can lead to avascular necrosis of the bone.

Navicular stress fractures are often very sensitive to touch, and it is recommended that you see a sports medicine doctor as quickly as possible if you suspect you have this injury. Treatment usually includes at least six weeks in an air-cast walker boot and three months with a physical therapist.

Articular Joint Pain

The arch of the foot consists of 9 bones. Through use over time, the cartilage on the articular surfaces of the joints between these bones can change, leading to foot arch arthritis. Biomechanical issues in a person’s running gait can place more pressure on these joints, leading to arthritic change over time and foot arch pain after running.

When change occurs in these joints, they tend to provide a dull ache that is more constant. They are often quite stiff in the morning. Physical therapy, manual therapy, custom insoles, foot stretches, and strengthening exercises can help prevent arch pain.

Physiotherapy with James McCormack

This is not medical advice. We recommend a consultation with a medical professional such as James McCormack. He offers Online Physiotherapy Appointments weekly.

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