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Foot Bone or Joint Injury

What causes pain in the arch of the foot after Running

Minute Read

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Posted 11 months ago

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Last updated: 03/12/2022

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by James McCormack

Where is your foot arch?

Foot arch pain running refers to pain along the medial longitudinal arch of your foot. The muscles along the arch of your foot are placed under a lot of stress when running. The primary aim of these muscles is to provide stability to the arch of the foot, control pronation moments, and act as a lever throughout the gait cycle.

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

Foot Arch Pain Running: Causes

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. This overload can lead to pain in the arch of your foot. It doesn’t need to be a dramatic change; it is often a subtle change over weeks or months rather than 24 hours. Consider any changes you have made to your running, and modify them slightly to see if they reduce 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 find it easy to adjust to changes but other ‘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.

Biomechanics

If you are new to running or a consistent runner that hasn’t changed anything in their running route, you may be experiencing arch pain from a biomechanical overload. Rapid pronation moments when you run, overstriding, 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 be beneficial for this.

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 provide stability to 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, beside your calf muscles, 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 arch pain. If you have foot arch support and suddenly increase your running volume, this can overload the posterior tibial tendon and lead to tendonitis.

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.

Related Article: Best Running Shoes for Posterior Tibial Tendonitis

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 to your forefoot. The Plantar Fascia is a passive structure and cannot contact like a muscle.

The Plantar Fascia’s primary function is to provide stability to the underside of the foot and the 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 provide pain relief. Strengthening exercises are recommended to correct the issue.

Related Article: Best exercises for Plantar Fasciitis

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. Combined with minimalist trainers, rapid pronation moments can lead to excess force going through the navicular bone.

Vibrations from these movements can irritate the navicular bone and lead to a stress injury. It may begin as bone bruising, and continued running can progress 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 a foot injury. Biomechanical issues in a person running gait can place more pressure on these joints and lead to arthritic change over time.

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 be beneficial and help to 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 for £45.

Related Article: Plantar Fasciitis: Diagnosis and Symptoms 

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