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ARCH PAIN

How can I treat and prevent future arch pain?

Stretch exercises that increase strength and flexibility can sometimes help to reduce arch pain. Listed below are several strengthening exercises and stretches to try at home.

Exercises:

  • Achilles stretch:

    On a set of stairs, place the ball of your foot on one step. Then reach for the step below with your heel. You should feel a stretch in your arch. Repeat 3 times, holding each stretch for 15-30 seconds.

  • Towel pick-up:

    Place a towel on the ground. With your heel firmly planted on the ground, use your toes to pick up the towel, and then release. Repeat 10-20 times.

  • Heel raise:

    Standing behind a chair, with both feet flat on the floor, use the chair as a support as you push up onto your toes for 5 seconds. Gently lower yourself back down to the floor – without holding onto the chair for support, if possible. Repeat 15 times. Do 2 sets of 15, resting for 30 seconds in between each set.

Stretches:

  • Towel stretch:

    Sitting on the ground, extend your legs in front of you. Place a towel around the balls of your feet and your toes, and hold onto either end of the towel. Keeping your legs straight, pull the towel towards your body. Hold for 15-30 seconds. Repeat 3 times, relaxing after each stretch.

  • Seated stretch:

    Sitting in a chair, cross your left foot over your right knee. Use your left hand to pull the toes of your left foot back toward your shin. You should feel this stretch in your arch. Hold for 15 seconds. Repeat 3 times, then do the same stretch for your right foot.

  • Can roll:

    Using a frozen juice can, roll your foot back and forth on the can, from your heel to your mid-arch. Repeat for 3-5 minutes.

Other treatments that may help to reduce your arch pain:

  • Rest will allow the tissues to heal themselves

  • Ice to relieve pain and reduce swelling can be applied

  • Compression and elevation will help prevent any swelling

  • Over-the-counter arch support insoles or orthotics prescribed by healthcare professionals may relieve pain

  • Supportive shoes can reduce pain by providing extra support for your arches

  • Physical therapy may be useful for those with arch pain caused by overuse and strenuous physical activity

If you are experiencing severe foot pain, speak to your doctor for other treatment options.