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When looking at an adult foot from the inner side, you’ll usually notice an upward curve in the middle. This is called an arch. Tendons, which are the tight bands that attach at the heel and foot bones, form the arch. Several tendons in your foot and lower leg work together to form the arch in your foot. The arches are the primary structures of the body that absorb shocks when you are on your feet.

When the tendons all pull adequately, the foot forms a moderate, normal arch. When tendons do not pull together properly, there is little or no arch. This is called flat foot or fallen arch.

When our arches don’t effectively absorb the shock of our steps, this can result in painful or achy feet, especially heel and arch pain. Foot arch pain can often be made worse with long periods of standing or physical activity.


Arch pain occurs due to weakened or strained ligaments associated with the bones in the arch of your foot. It is primarily caused by wearing shoes with inadequate support, standing or walking for long periods of time, or overuse of the feet during work or sports. Being overweight also places additional stress on the feet, especially the arches.

Pain in the arch of your foot can also happen because of a certain quirk in the way you walk or stand. If your feet don’t move in a straight enough line when you walk, for example, this can cause some muscles in your arches to work harder than the others, leading to pain.

There can be many other causes of arch pain. Direct injury, muscle strains, ligament sprains, tightness or lack of tightness of the joints in the foot are just some of the other possible causes of this pain.


There are some steps you can take to help prevent pain in the arch of your foot. For example:

• Add insoles to your shoes for extra arch support, especially if your shoes come with a flat factory-made insole. Try Dr. Scholl’s inserts with reinforced arch support.

• Maintain a healthy weight

• Use supportive shoes, especially when exercising, to evenly distribute weight through your entire foot


Home remedies and treatments for arch pain relief include:

• Resting to allow the tissues to heal themselves
• Applying ice to the area to relieve pain and reduce swelling
• Compression and elevation of your foot to help prevent any swelling
• Over-the-counter arch support insoles or orthotics can help relieve pain. Dr. Scholl’s Orthotics for Arch Pain are clinically proven to provide immediate and all-day relief from arch pain.
• Physical therapy may be useful for those with arch pain caused by overuse and strenuous physical activity


Frequently Asked Questions

What causes pain in the arch of the foot?

Pain in the arch of the foot can be caused by a number of factors including:

Weakening of the ligaments connecting the arch bones – Often arch pain can be the result of weakening of the ligaments that support and connect the arch bones. Once weakened, the arch bones can move incorrectly and as a result elicit irritation leading to pain.
Excess weight – Foot issues are common in people who are overweight since the added weight puts additional pressure on the feet. This added pressure can lead to arch pain.
High impact sports – Running and jumping put stress on the feet, potentially causing pain in the arches.

How to relieve foot arch pain

It’s not easy to get rid of foot arch pain entirely. However, there are a number of ways to get relief from arch pain including:

Rest – If you’re experiencing arch pain, it’s best to stay off of your feet as much as possible to allow time for the pain to resolve. Rest can be especially effective when the pain is caused by too much high impact activity such as running and jumping. To treat arch pain from running and jumping, it’s best to avoid these activities for a period of time. This can help to heal arch pain in the foot.
Ice – To reduce pain and swelling, you can place a covered ice pack to the arch of the foot for up to 20 minutes at a time several times a day.
Orthotics and insoles – Consider wearing orthotics or insoles with your shoes for added arch support. This can help alleviate pain by improving alignment.

If these methods aren’t effective and your pain is severe, see a doctor. They can perform an evaluation, determine the causes of severe pain in the arch of the foot and advise you on what to do for arch pain. Stronger treatments may be recommended.

Can high arches cause calf pain?

Yes, high arches, also known as cavus foot, can cause calf pain. The arches of the foot play a role in absorbing shock, bearing weight and stabilizing the foot. Because high arches are less effective at these essential roles, pain can result in various areas of the lower body, including the legs.

What to do about painful fallen arches

There are a number of solutions for easing pain from fallen arches (flat feet). Solutions range from simple lifestyle changes to prescription treatment options including:

Lifestyle changes – Maintaining a healthy weight, limiting standing and reducing high impact activities that put pressure on the feet can help manage flat feet.
Good foot attire – Properly fitted shoes with good arch support along with orthotics or insoles for extra support can help reduce fatigue and discomfort associated with fallen arches.
Stretching and strengthening exercises – Regular stretching and strengthening exercises can help improve mobility and ease pain. Ask a physical therapist for help with an exercise plan.
Treatments and therapies – Icing and over-the-counter pain relievers can be effective to treat arch pain. In more severe cases of fallen arches, doctors can prescribe stronger treatments.

See a doctor if your fallen arches are causing severe pain or if the pain persists.

Can high arches cause back pain?

Yes, high arches can make you more susceptible to back pain. High arches can affect the way you walk, run and stand. This can put extra pressure on the back, resulting in pain.

How to treat plantar fasciitis arch pain

There are a number of methods for treating plantar fasciitis arch pain. Doctors will typically recommend trying conservative therapies and treatments first. These include over-the-counter pain relievers, ice, rest, stretching exercises and orthotics or insoles.

See your doctor if your plantar fasciitis arch pain doesn’t respond to conservative therapies and if the pain is severe. In some cases, stronger treatments may be recommended. These include cortisone shots, prescription medications and surgery.

What causes pain in arch of foot after running?

Running is a common cause of pain in the arch of the foot. This is because the high impact nature of running puts a high degree of stress on the feet, increasing the chances of pain, including pain in the arch.

How to wrap foot for arch pain

To wrap a foot for arch pain, start with athletic tape. You can also use KT tape for arch pain. Clean and dry your foot thoroughly before you start. Follow these steps:

1) Wrap tape around the ball of your foot and leave the ends loose.
2) Wrap tape around your heel.
3) Connect the ends of the tape around your heel to the ends of the tape around the ball of your foot.
4) Wrap more tape around the back of your heel. Then pull the ends of the tape in a criss-cross pattern over the sole of your foot, creating an X shape along the bottom of your foot.
5) Repeat steps 1-4 two or three times for additional support.
6) Apply strips of tape horizontally across the sole of your foot. You’ll want to cover the tape applied in steps 1-5. When you’re finished, almost all of the skin on the bottom of your foot will be covered in tape.

If you have difficulty, you can ask a physical therapist for help. Avoid sleeping with a taped foot. All tape should be removed before going to bed.

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