One of the most common causes of arch pain is plantar fasciitis, a condition that involves inflammation of the fibrous band of tissue that connects the heel to the toes (the plantar fascia). Pain from plantar fasciitis can be felt in the arch or the heel, and is most often felt toward the end of the day and after long periods of being stationary (e.g. getting up after sitting for a long time).
Commonly, plantar fasciitis is the result of excessive foot pronation (rolling in of the foot) or excessive foot supination (e.g. high arches), both of which can increase tension on the plantar fascia. In these cases, orthotics and well-fitting footwear can address the cause of the problem by improving the position of the feet and relieving tension on the plantar fascia.
But simple calf stretches can also help. Maintaining flexibility in the Achilles tendon and calf muscles (gastrocnemius and soleus muscles), can help to minimise tension on the plantar fascia and relieve heel and arch pain.
Try these simple stretches to assist with relieving pain in your arches. (Note: Stretch slowly and gently. You should feel a moderate pull on the muscle and tendon but no pain. If these stretches are painful, stop and seek further advice from a health professional).
STRETCH ONE: Stand at arm’s length from a wall with one foot in front of the other, forward knee bent.
Keeping your back leg straight and back heel on the floor, lean into the wall until you feel a stretch in your calf.
STRETCH TWO: This time, bend your back leg slightly, and lean into the wall. You should feel a stretch in the lower part of your calf.
Hold each stretch for 20 seconds and repeat on each leg, a few times daily.
Stretches alone may not resolve the symptoms of plantar fasciitis. If you are experiencing arch or heel pain and would like expert advice on how to treat the cause of your problem, contact Entire Podiatry on 1800-4-ENTIRE to make an appointment today.