Your foot is made up of 26 bones and more than 100 tendons, muscles, and ligaments, all arranged in a complicated and ingenious design to support your entire body. Now, consider the total weight of a human body bearing down on that one appendage, a mere 25 square inches of bone and tissue. The pressure is intense, which can lead to intense foot pain. The arch of your foot, by design, will ensure that the weight and pressure are distributed evenly and that the joints in your ankles, knees, and hips are aligned correctly to avoid injury.
But what if your arches fail to do their job due to injury or repeated stress? What if you are experiencing pain in the arch of your foot, or have noticed that your arch is touching the floor when you stand on your feet? You may be experiencing the beginning of fallen arches, otherwise known as flatfoot.
The term ‘flatfoot’ can cover a wide range of foot disorders and dysfunctions, but all share one very distinct characteristic: the arch of the foot is partially or totally collapsed. The most common form is known as ‘Flexible Flatfoot’ because the arch of the foot collapses while standing (weight-bearing) but appears normal when at rest. This condition often begins in childhood when arches fail to develop; all babies are born with ‘flat feet’ and the arch develops as they begin using their feet in walking motions. But sometimes, often for genetic reasons, the arch fails to develop as it should and goes un-noticed until damage to the ligaments and joints becomes severe enough to cause pain or foot deformity. Sometimes it is the result of injury or a disease that affects the proper movement of joints (ie: arthritis.) It will eventually end in foot arch pain.
Untreated, flatfoot can cause toe drift (toes and heel turn toward the outside and the ankle appears to turn to the inside), as well as bunions, hammertoes, and a tight Achilles tendon. Left untreated, it can start a domino effect in your knee, hip, and back because of the long term repercussions of a misaligned gate when you walk. Flatfoot usually occurs in both feet, though you may experience it more severely in one foot or the other.
The pain caused by flatfoot it usually due to inflammation and small tears in the tendon that extends along the sole of your foot. The same tendons are affected by Plantar Fasciitis, and the two conditions can co-exist, exacerbating one another.
Well fitted shoes with good arch support can sometimes be sufficient to bring comfort when the issues are mild. But specialty shoes or custom made orthotics (arch support inserts) can make a world of difference by restoring proper arch-knee-hip alignment and improving posture in general. If you’ve been walking on flat feet for any length of time, your whole body will feel the positive effects of corrected posture.
Simple exercises that stretch the Achilles and Plantar Facia tendons and strengthen the muscles can help to relieve pain in the arch of the foot, as well. Your doctor or physiotherapist can recommend specific routines for this purpose.
Your feet have an abundance of nerve endings, meaning that they are very susceptible to pain, but also to the amazing relief that a good massage can bring. When looking for relief for arch pain, whether it’s caused by flat feet or just a ‘knot’ in the muscles, massage is an invaluable resource.
Simply working that spot at the centre of your arch can be one of the most satisfying massage techniques. Just working in light pressure, small circles, can alleviate the tension whether you are massaging your own feet or letting someone do it for you.
Professional massage therapists will know how to take this even deeper, warming and stretching the strained muscles and tendons of your feet to improve circulation and triggering your body’s own ability to heal and restore tissue. A massage therapist who is well versed in the art of reflexology can also work the trigger points in your feet to bring relief to your entire body.
The massage therapists at Easy Cozy Wellness in Abbotsford, British Columbia are trained to do just that. Call to book an appointment today and let the professionals help you find your way to foot pain relief.
For a broad overview of many different types of foot pain, read our new article, Finding Foot Pain Relief.
Easy Cozy focus on Acupressure (Body) Massage and Reflexology (Foot) Massage which are good for both males and females within any age range.