Arch of Foot Pain, Plantar Fasciitis and More
Arch of foot pain is frequently diagnosed as plantar fasciitis.
When you consider the meaning of the words you’ll agree that the term is accurate.
Plantar means the bottom of your foot. Fascia is the covering of the muscles of your entire body, including your foot. Itis means an inflammation.
So, plantar fasciitis simply means an inflammation in the lining of the muscles on the bottom of your foot. However, it doesn’t explain WHY there is an inflammation in the fascia, it just tells you that there IS and inflammation.
Why Muscles Cause Arch of Foot Pain:
Let’s look each of the major muscles that insert into or have an impact on causing arch of foot pain and the action of each muscle. Each muscle name is linked to a Get Body Smart graphic that gives a deeper understanding.
Gastrocnemius: Inserts into the Achilles tendon and picks the heel up off the floor.
Soleus: Inserts into the Achilles tendon to pick the heel up from the floor.
Tibialis Anterior: Lifts up the front of the foot, rolls the foot toward the outside.
Peroneals: Presses the foot down (as in pushing on the gas pedal) and rolls the foot in toward your arch.
Think about how pulling your hair causes your scalp to hurt; now consider the similarity of how a muscle pulls on the tendon which inserts into a bone (in this case, your arch), causes the bone to hurt. The analogy is exactly the same – you pull one end, but the pain is felt at the other end!
Your calf muscles (gastrocneimus and soleus) both insert into your Achilles tendon, which then inserts into the heel of your foot.
Arch of foot pain occurs because tight calf muscles pull on your Achilles tendon, the tendon then pulls your heel bone toward the back lifting it off the floor (even if just slightly).
This movement/lifting of your heel bone causes the muscles of your arch to become over-stretched, causing arch of foot pain.
Children experiencing arch of foot pain are often told it is a growth plate problem, since the pain is felt at the growth plate area of the foot. Usually the child is very active and runs a lot which causes the calf muscles to go into spasm (muscle knots) putting pressure on the tendon.
Why the tibialis anterior and peroneal muscles cause arch of foot pain:
As pictured here, the tibialis anterior muscle runs along the outside of the shin merging into a tendon at the top of the front of the ankle.
The tendon then crosses over the front of the ankle and inserts into the first bone of the arch (the first metatarsal). When the muscle contracts either lifting the front of the foot up off the floor or rolls the foot out toward your pinky toe. By the way every step you take contracts your tibialis anterior.
If the tibialis anterior muscle is shortened from repetitive strain, creating spasms, it pulls on the tendon. This pulling causes pain directly onto the bone of the arch.
The peroneals (peroneus longus and peroneus brevis) run along the outside of the lower leg bone mergeing into a tendon at the top of the ankle. This tendon goes behind the ankle inserting into the fifth metatarsal on the pinky side of your foot.. And it also inserts into the exact same spot on the first metatarsal as the tibialis anterior tendon.
Consider how these four muscles, when in spasm (contain muscle knots), cause pain by pulling the arch bones three opposite directions! Major arch of foot pain!
A Logical Treatment for Arch of Foot Pain:
Just like letting go of your hair stops the pain in your head – releasing the muscle knots in the four lower leg muscles takes the pressure off your arch. It is that simple and logical!
It doesn’t matter which order you release the muscles, it only matters that you apply the self-treatments for each of the four muscles completely and then stretch when you finish.
The Foundation DVD in our Focused Flexibility Training system clearly demonstrates how to easily self-treat each of these four key muscles so you can safely stretch each of them and then arch of foot pain is quickly eliminated!
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