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How To Relieve Pain in Arch of Foot

Pain in arch of foot, also known as plantar fasciitis, will send both the sufferer and the physician on a wild goose chase to find answers, frequently in the wrong direction!

Often diagnosed as “plantar fasciitis”, pain in arch of foot, is a common runner’s injury.

The pain is most often caused by tension in two muscles on the front and side of your lower leg and may have nothing to do with the structures of the foot. 

Overlooking the cause of plantar fasciitis by focusing attention on the foot is the reason why people try various types of therapies, drugs, orthotics, and medical providers; all without success.

How Your Lower Leg Muscles Cause Pain in Arch of Foot:


A little understanding of anatomy helps explain the logic of this situation.  You lift the front of your foot off the floor by contracting the two primary muscles of the front and outside of your lower leg.  The two muscles, tibialis anterior and peroneals, both merge into tendons that insert into your arch.

The tibialis anterior runs down the outside of your shinbone, crosses under a ligament at the front of your ankle, goes across the top of your foot and inserts into the arch.  When the tibialis anterior contracts it pulls up on this insertion point raising the front of your foot.

The peroneals begin on the outside of your lower leg, just below your knee joint.  It merges into the tendon just above your ankle and that tendon goes behind your ankle under a ligament that is just underneath your ankle into your arch.  It attaches on the outside and the inside borders of your foot.  When the peroneals contract this applies pressure on the inside of your foot (toward the big toe), while the outside of your foot raises off the floor.

Since the two muscles contract every time you lift up the front of your foot, every step you take contracts the muscles.  Ultimately muscle memory sets in and the muscles shorten.  As either, or both, of these muscles pull on the insertion points on the arch it causes misalignment in the bones.  This misalignment traps some of the nerves that are on the bottom of the foot between the bones and also causes pain on the bone.

When treating pain in arch of foot start with releasing muscle fiber knots in the tibialis anterior and peroneals.  A spasm (muscle knot) in either of these two muscles pulls up on your foot, even when you are standing flat, which causes a strain on the bones in your arch.

You may wear out your shoes unequally and be told you need to wear orthotics to bring the floor up to your foot, however, we always suggest you first try to release the tension in the muscles so your foot can move down toward the floor!

How to Relieve Pain in Arch of Foot by Releasing Muscle Spasms:

Releasing spasms (muscle fiber knots) is easy and will take the pressure off the insertion points.

As pictured, place the heel of your left foot just to the outside of your shin bone close to your knee.

Begin applying pressure by pressing down into left heel.

Slide down the right leg and over the ankle.

Press your heel all the way to the top of your foot.

You will find tender points along the way, these are the spasms (also called muscle knots or trigger points).  These muscle knots are what’s causing your pain!  When you feel a tender spot keep the pressure on these for 30 seconds and then continue the pressure along the length of the muscle.  Do this several times.

Once you have released the spasms in the tibialis anterior and the peroneals, place your arch on Trigger Point Therapy Ball  (you can also use tennis ball, baseball or golf ball).  Roll your arch so the ball goes from the base of your toes to your heel.  When you find the point that is especially tender, this is the insertion point that has been pulled out by the tight muscles, apply pressure to allow the muscle to release.

If you have ever sprained your ankle you will likely have a spasm in the peroneals and the tibias anterior muscles, potentially causing you problems for years until they are finally released.

I have seen people who have suffered with pain in arch of foot for years after twisting their ankle and within a few minutes of releasing the spasms their pain is eliminated immediately.

You’ll be pleased as you experience the results of this muscle release treatment!

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