Can Your Arch Be Your Enemy?

Is your arch your archenemy? We hope not! Healthy foot arches are an extremely important part of helping you stand, walk, run, and jump without pain. Ordinarily, they’re working overtime to provide the cushioning and support you need. Unfortunately, faulty arches or stressful activities can lead to significant pain and keep you from your favorite activities.

Closeup of person's shoes as they walk down a railway trackWhen working correctly, the arches of your feet act as a kind of shock absorber. When you take a step, your foot rotates and your arch flexes downward slightly. This process spreads out the force of the impact over a larger area and longer period of time. This significantly reduces the stress on soft tissues and bones, which helps prevent pain and injury.

An added bonus—because the arch “stores” this energy when flexing, it releases it after pushing off to put a little extra “spring” in your step and reduce the amount of energy you need to expend when walking or running. Other arch functions include helping you maintain stability when standing, especially on uneven slopes.

However, things don’t always work correctly. Arches that are too high are frequently rigid and inflexible, greatly increasing stress and pressure on the heels and balls of the feet. On the flipside, flat feet often tire easily and hurt throughout the heels and soles, and frequently indicate overpronation (feet that rotate too far out of alignment with each step). That can mean pain in the knees and back, too.

Even “normal” arches may begin to break down under stress and strain, particularly alongside risk factors such as:

  • Repetitive high-impact activities, such as running and sports
  • Shoes that don’t provide sufficient cushioning or arch support
  • Obesity or recent significant weight gain

If you are experiencing pain in your arch, we do at least have some good news. Your arches are not your archenemy! They want to help you overcome your pain. However, they may need a little bit more assistance from a podiatrist such as Dr. Matt Wettstein.

We offer a range of treatments, from traditional to state-of-the-art, to help mitigate your arch pain and get you back up to full speed. Some cases require no more intervention than a series of stretches and a new pair of shoes. For those that are a little tougher, we can provide advanced custom orthotic inserts, and we’re also one of the Magic Valley’s leading experts in surgical reconstruction of flat feet. When you visit our office, you can rest assured we’ll carefully get to the bottom of your pain and help you put together a treatment plan that makes sense for your condition and needs.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Wettstein, please complete our contact form online or give us a call at (208) 731-6321.

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