Your foot arch is the space between your heel and the ball of your foot. Tendons create this natural arch, and the shape supports your body weight and gives strength to your foot when you stand and walk.
About 20% of people have high arches. High arches put more space between your foot and the ground, and this extra space changes the way your foot works. For some, that means an increased risk of pain and other issues.
If you have arch pain, Guillermo Duarte, MD, and our team at Manhattan Orthopedics can help. Read on to find out why high arches can be painful and what you can do to fix it.
Foot arches: why they matter
Your arches play a critical role in foot mechanics. They support your body weight and help you maintain your balance when you stand, walk, run, and jump. They propel you forward and absorb shock with every step you take.
Most people have normal arches that support proper foot mechanics, but some have arches that are too high or too low. High arches are usually genetic (which means they naturally develop that way in childhood), but certain medical conditions can make your arches too high later in life.
No matter the cause of your high arches, the extra height changes the way your feet work and could put you at risk of some common foot problems.
The risks of high arches
Since your arch supports your foot, having aches that are higher than normal can cause pain and other foot problems. High arches can cause:
- Ankle instability and sprains
- Claw toes
- Hammer toes
- Plantar fasciitis
You might notice pain after walking or standing for long periods of time. You might develop corns or calluses on the sides, balls, or heels of your feet. Very high arches can also make it difficult to find shoes that fit comfortably.
Fortunately, having high arches doesn’t mean you’re destined for chronic foot pain. These conditions can be treated to relieve discomfort and lower your risk of complications.
What to do about high arches
If you have foot pain, make an appointment with our orthopedic foot and ankle specialist. Our team can diagnose your symptoms and find a treatment plan that relieves your discomfort.
Most people with high arches can care for their feet with:
The right shoes can make a big difference for arch pain. Look for shoes that have a wide toe box and plenty of built-in support in the footbed — particularly in the arch and heel.
If your high arches make it hard to find shoes that feel comfortable, ask us for recommendations. We can help you find shoes and/or foot pads that provide the support your feet need.
Ice helps minimize inflammation and reduce pain. Ice therapy can offer relief from occasional arch pain, especially if you’ve spent a long day on your feet. Apply an ice pack or soak your feet in cold water for about 20 minutes, up to three times a day.
Over-the-counter pain relievers, like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), fight the inflammation that causes pain. These medications can be a good option for occasional foot pain, along with ice therapy.
Orthotics are medical devices you wear in your shoes. They offer extra cushioning and support, and they’re custom-designed for your feet. Since orthotics redistribute your body weight, they can be especially effective to relieve pressure and pain from high arches.
If we diagnose another condition along with your high arches, we may prescribe additional treatments. For example, people with plantar fasciitis may benefit from wearing night splints, which are special braces that gently stretch your calf and arch while you sleep.
High arches don’t have to be painful. Find the care your feet need at Manhattan Orthopedics. Call the office nearest you, or request a consultation online to get started.