Today I had an interesting client who had symptoms that I’ve seen a lot in the past, so I wanted to share it with you. He said he felt like his heel was stepping on a large pebble, and his arch was hurting. It’s been going on for quite awhile and he’s been to a podiatrist where he was given an arch support strap. He bought over-the-counter orthotics because he didn’t want to pay $400 for the orthotics the doctor wanted to give him.
The foot is interesting because the majority of what happens in the foot is actually coming from the lower leg. I’ve spoken about this when I wrote about plantar fasciitis, and it’s the same muscles plus one other little treatment.
First of all, it was his right foot. This is the most common foot to have this problem because we drive a car. We are repetitively straining the muscles that lift up the front of our foot as we go back and forth between the gas and brake. His arch pain was coming from the tibialis anterior, peroneals, and his calf muscles; the flexor digitorum/hallicus longus, gastrocnemius and soleus. Lots of long names but if you do an internet search for them you’ll see how they each insert into your foot.
As the tibialis anterior and peroneals contract they put a strain on your arch because they both insert into the base of the long bone that goes to you big toe. They end up pulling in opposite directions toward the inside and outside of your foot. Then the flexor digitorum and flexor hallicus longus muscles insert into the bottom of your five toes, so if you are pressing on the gas pedal with your toes, you are repetitively straining this muscle. And finally, your calf muscles insert into your heel via the Achilles tendon. When they are tight they are putting a strain on your heel bone, pulling it backward and up. Between all of these muscles your arch is being spread out flat and you are feeling the pull on the bone.
I always describe this as pulling your hair on the left, the right, and in the back. Your head hurts, you can’t move it, and you don’t need to do anything to your head, you just need to let go of your hair. It’s the same thing with muscles, just let go of the muscles and the insertion point will feel just fine.
That took care of his arch, but he still had the “stone” feeling. There are several different muscles that form your arch. However, if the others are pulling the bones askew, it won’t help to treat your arch muscles … yet! However, once the other muscles are released, you can take a golf ball and rub your foot back and forth so the ball rolls between your toes and your heel. You’ll know when you hit a spasm because it will hurt. Just stay on it for a minute or so, and then roll again.
He was thrilled when he got up because that uncomfortable feeling was gone, and his arch felt just fine. If you have my book, Treat Yourself to Pain-Free Living you can learn how to do each of these treatments and a whole lot more.
There isn’t any reason to stay in pain when it’s so easy to learn how to self-treat to eliminate it quickly.
Wishing you well,