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Why You Get Arch Pain When You Walk

Why You Get Arch Pain When You Walk

Experiencing arch pain when you walk can be debilitating. It’s a common issue that affects many people, hindering their ability to enjoy physical activities or even perform daily tasks. But there are treatment options depending on the cause of your arch pain.

The experienced sports medicine team at Washington Foot & Ankle Sports Medicine in Kirkland, Washington, can help you understand the causes of arch pain, address the problem effectively, and find relief. 

Plantar fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of arch pain. The plantar fascia runs from the heel bone to your toes along the bottom of your feet. When the plantar fascia becomes inflamed, it can cause sharp, stabbing pain in the arch of your foot, especially during the first steps in the morning or after long periods of standing.

Overpronation

Overpronation is when your foot rolls inward excessively while walking or running. This improper gait pattern can put extra stress on the arch and surrounding structures, leading to pain and discomfort. Overpronation is often associated with flat feet but can also occur in people with normal arches.

High arches

Having high arches means your foot has an exaggerated curve when bearing weight. This can lead to uneven distribution of pressure across your foot, with too much weight being placed on the heel and ball of the foot. The resulting strain on the arch can cause significant pain during walking or physical activity.

Flat feet 

Flat feet occur when the arch of the foot comes into complete or near-complete contact with the ground. This condition can be congenital, or you can develop flat feet over time due to aging, injury, or obesity. Flat feet can lead to muscle strain and stress on the ligaments, resulting in arch pain during walking.

Stress fractures

Stress fractures are tiny cracks in the bones of the foot, often resulting from overuse or repetitive stress. These fractures can develop in the metatarsal bones, which bear much of your weight while walking. If left untreated, stress fractures can cause chronic pain and lead to more severe injuries.

Obesity

Excess body weight puts additional stress on your feet, particularly on the arches. This added pressure can exacerbate existing conditions like flat feet or plantar fasciitis and contribute to the development of arch pain. Managing your weight through a healthy diet and regular exercise can help reduce this stress and alleviate pain.

Improper footwear

Wearing shoes that do not provide adequate support or cushioning can contribute to arch pain. High heels, flip-flops, and shoes with poor arch support can strain the foot muscles and ligaments, leading to discomfort. Choosing footwear with proper arch support and cushioning can help alleviate this issue.

Muscle strain

Overuse or excessive physical activity can lead to muscle strain in the foot. Activities like running, jumping, or standing for extended periods can fatigue and pain the muscles in the arch. Rest, ice, and stretching exercises can help relieve this type of pain.

Arthritis

Arthritis, particularly osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, can affect the joints in your feet, leading to inflammation and pain in the arch. Managing arthritis through medication, physical therapy, and lifestyle changes can help reduce symptoms and improve foot function.

Nerve problems

Nerve issues, such as tarsal tunnel syndrome, can cause pain in the arch of your foot. This condition occurs when the posterior tibial nerve is compressed, leading to tingling, numbness, and pain along the arch. We can help diagnose and manage nerve-related pain.


Understanding the underlying cause of your arch pain is crucial for finding the right treatment and relief. If you experience persistent or severe arch pain, call or schedule an appointment online. We can thoroughly evaluate and recommend appropriate interventions to help you get back on your feet pain-free.

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