I guess it’s because the weather is getting nicer and people are out exercising more, lately I’ve had several people contact me about arch and other foot pains.
You foot is moved primarily by the muscles of your lower leg. You lift the front of your foot up off the ground because of your tibialis anterior. This muscle originates along the length of your shin bone, on the outside of the bone, and then after merging into a tendon at your ankle it inserts into the first long bone on your arch (called the first metatarsal). And you lift the outside of your foot off the ground because of a muscle group called the peroneals. The peroneals run along the entire length of the outside of your lower leg, merge into a tendon just above your ankle, and then the tendon goes behind your ankle bone and inserts into the fifth metatarsal (the very outside of your foot) and also into the first metatarsal (at the same point as the insertion of your tibialias anterior). It will help you if you take a look at these muscles by doing an internet search.
Every time we take a step we are contracting these muscles and if you are a runner, you’re taking a LOT of steps so the muscles are repetitively strained. As that happens they shorten and therefore put a strain on the insertion points at your arch, so you have arch pain. You don’t need to rub your arch or wear arch supports, you need to release these two muscles. You can so easily do that yourself, or you can go to a good massage therapist (I’m in Chapel Hill if you’re in the neighborhood) who is skilled at doing trigger point therapy.
There are other, shorter, muscles that also originate closer to the bottom of your lower leg, just above your ankle. On the front of your leg there is the extensor digitorum longus and extensor hallicus longus, and underneath your Achilles tendon at the back of your leg is your flexor digitorum longus and flexor hallicus longus muscles. These muscle tendons insert into the top (extensor) and bottom (flexor) of your toes and pull your toes in that direction. These muscles are more frequently strained by runners (which includes soccer players, tennis players, etc.) than by any other group of people simply because they will press down on their toes to quickly propel them off each step.
Fortunately these muscles are easy to self-treat, it’s just a matter of knowing where to press (it’s not in your foot, even though you feel the pain there).
It’s really important to take care of your feet, and to be sure to treat each of the muscles of your lower leg so you’ll have excellent flexibility and so you’re feet will be free of repetitive strain injury pain.
Have a great day,