PTD0315_FootIf you look at your foot from the side, you should notice an upward curve in the middle. Called an arch, this curve is formed by tight bands of tissue that attach at the heel and foot bones. Generally speaking, there are three types of arches: low (present in 20% of the population), high (present in 20% of the population) and neutral (present in 60% of the population).

If you have high or low arches, you face a slightly greater risk of foot pain. And we all know that aching feet can make you grumpy and ruin your entire day. Fortunately, there are many ways to effectively combat that increased risk.

  • Wear the right kind of shoes. Because most of the population has neutral arches, the vast majority of shoes on the market are designed for them. If you experience foot pain when putting on a shoe, do not wear that shoe. Period. Breaking in shoes is a dangerous myth.
  • Wear an orthotic in your shoes to help support your arches appropriately.
  • Keep yourself in shape to prevent foot pain.
  • Lose weight to alleviate pain in your foot.

If you experience pain in your arches, we can determine the cause and chart a course of treatment. By examining your gait, joint mobility, flexibility, strength and balance, we can determine whether you have a low or high arch, plantar fasciitis or something more significant, such as a broken bone, sprain or heel spur.

If you have plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the band of connective tissue that stretches from the heel to the ball of your foot, we may suggest wearing shoe inserts, cushioned insoles or night splints to stretch the tendon while you sleep. Physical therapy involves stretching exercises of the foot and great toe that sometimes include use of a towel or tubing, taping the foot, massage and nonweight-bearing aquatic exercises such as water aerobics. Local corticosteroid injections and muscle relaxants are popular but provide only short-term relief.

Regardless of the size, shape, height or length of your arch, taking good care of your feet is of paramount importance. With an early diagnosis and a successful fitness regimen, we can help relieve your aching arches and get you back on your feet pain-free.

March PTEDigest Includes:

Stiff Back: Not a Good Way to Start the Day
Taking an Arch Look at Foot Pain
The Light at the End of the Carpal Tunnel
“As Seen on TV” Might Not Work for You
Ultrasound: You’ll Like What You Hear

Download PTEDigest for March