This weekend the NCAA will mark Selection Sunday, revealing the full list of bracket matchups for college basketball’s March Madness tournament. And, while your sports podiatrist in Powder Springs eagerly awaits the announcements, we’re going to spend the next few days making sure you don’t suffer from arch pain or injuries this month. (What we’re referring to right now as arch madness!) So, what forces put strain on your foot’s arch and how can you protect this small yet crucial section of your foot structure? Keep reading to find out!

What Role Does the Arch Play in Your Foot?

Your medial longitudinal arch (aka your foot arch) plays several roles for your body. First, it helps propel your foot forward when you walk. Plus, it helps absorb the shock when you walk, run or jump, keeping pressure off the rest of your foot, as well as your legs, knees and even your back. Finally, the arch helps keep your entire foot flexible.

What Causes Arch Pain? Hands holding the arch of the foot

When your arch is at its best, it’s not a part of the body that we usually think about. Yet, when problems develop, arch pain can become a major problem, and very quickly, too. But what causes pain in your foot arch, and why would your arch function be compromised?

First of all, your body’s own structure could stack the cards against you, right from the start. You see, many people are born with flat feet or high arches. And, while neither foot shape is inherently bad, having a high-arched or flat foot does put you at higher risk for all kinds of foot and arch pain. As such, to prevent arch pain due to your foot structure, you should look for shoe styles that are made for your specific foot shape. And, if arch pain persists, come see Dr. Cowans for a custom orthotics fitting. These medical grade shoe inserts provide arch and foot support exactly where you need, reducing or eliminating pain so you can walk and run in comfort.

Plantar Fasciitis and the Arch: What’s the Connection?

As we discussed last week, sometimes heel pain and arch pain go hand in hand. And, when that happens, the cause is usually plantar fasciitis. But what is this condition, and what does it have to do with your arch?

Well, the plantar fascia is a band of fibrous tissue that runs from your heel to your forefoot. And it goes right through your arch! Like your arch, the fascia helps support your foot. But it can easily get overstretched, developing inflammation or even tiny tears. When that happens, symptoms can include heel pain as well as arch pain. And treatment typically involves rest, ice, stretching and/or physical therapy, and getting fitted for custom orthotics to keep problems from returning.

Fallen Arches and Pain: A Sign of Other Problems

Sometimes, arch pain develops just when your arch disappears. Called a fallen arch, this problem could be the result of several different concerns. Sometimes, your arch collapses because you’ve gained weight or gone through a pregnancy. At other times, a newly collapsed arch could be the sign of an injury to your Achilles tendon, or of rheumatoid arthritis. Perhaps more worryingly, high blood pressure can cause your arches to collapse. And so can a condition called Charcot foot, a serious complication that affects diabetic patients with advanced cases of diabetic neuropathy.

Now, Charcot foot does a lot more to your body than simply causing arch pain. Rather, it deforms your foot, and increases your risk for ulcers and, ultimately, foot amputations. So, if you notice a fallen arch, come into the office right away. We’ll help make accommodations to protect you from arch pain. And we’ll also get to the bottom of what’s causing your arch to collapse, so that you don’t experience further complications.

Injuries and Arch Pain: A Common Combination

As if we haven’t given you enough to worry about, there are still more triggers that could cause you to experience arch problems. And they all relate to injuries, including fractures, sprains or even just bad bruises. Now, on your own, it’s very difficult to determine whether you’ve sprained, strained or broken a bone in your foot. In fact, it’s pretty tough to self-diagnose any foot problem that could be causing you arch pain.

Since that’s the case, what’s the best way to protect your feet and keep you in the game (whether you’re playing yourself or just watching the March Madness action from the comfort of your couch?) Here’s what you need to know. Untreated foot pain will usually get worse. And, even if it resolves on its own, that process will take time.

Want to avoid down time, worsening injuries and getting stuck on the sidelines? The solution is simple! At the first sign of arch pain or other foot concerns, reach out to our office and request an appointment. When you come in, Dr. Alvin Cowans will diagnose the cause of your discomfort and provide a treatment plan that gets you back in the game!



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