Understanding the Connection Between High Arch Feet and Plantar Fasciitis

The arch of your foot is the area between the ball and heel. When you have a high arch, the curve is unnaturally high, which can lead to pain and structural instability.  

While each part of your foot is designed to carry equal parts of weight-bearing stress, having high arches puts a much higher amount of that stress on the balls and heels of your foot. Without a flat enough arch to absorb some of the shock of your everyday activities, your foot tends to roll outwards, leading to higher risk of ankle sprains and fractures.

Having high arches can lead to numerous foot health problems, including plantar fasciitis — a common foot condition that causes pain in the bottom of your heel. 

Because plantar fasciitis is so closely linked to high-arched feet, our podiatry team led by Matthew Hinderland, DPM, Jordan Cameron, DPM, Trevor Whiting, DPM, and Joseph Fleck, DPM, at the Foot and Ankle Institute of Colorado in Colorado Springs, Colorado, wants to expand on this relationship so you can better understand your risk for plantar fasciitis if you do have high arches.

How high arches and plantar fasciitis are related

Plantar fasciitis is a condition that happens when the ligament that runs along the bottom of your foot and supports your arch — called the plantar fascia — becomes irritated and inflamed. This leads to heel pain and stiffness, especially right when you wake up in the morning. 

Your plantar fascia is made to absorb all the stress you put on your foot on a regular basis. However, when you have feet with high arches, a lot more stress is forced onto your plantar fascia. The more stress that’s put on this ligament, the more it becomes inflamed and the more pain you have as a result. 

So, how do you know if you have high arches?

One way to tell if you have high-arched feet is to do an at-home test. Simply stand with wet feet on a large piece of paper and allow the moisture to seep into the paper. Then, step off the paper and look at the imprint you’ve left behind. High arch feet leave an imprint that contains only the heel and the ball of your foot with nothing in the middle.

A true diagnosis of a high arch is done at our Foot and Ankle Institute of Colorado office. We perform a physical exam of your foot, take a close look at your stance and gait, and do any necessary imaging tests to determine whether your arch is normal or high. 

Treatment plans for high arches and plantar fasciitis

To prevent complications from high-arched feet such as plantar fasciitis, we recommend putting orthotics or foot pads in all your shoes to provide extra stability, cushioning, and support for your arch and heel. You can also wear night splints to help stretch your calf and the arch of your foot while you sleep.

If you do develop plantar fasciitis, we recommend limiting your activity for a while to allow the inflammation to go down. You can also ice your affected foot and take over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for any pain. Going through physical therapy and performing stretches at home can also be effective for treating plantar fasciitis.  

For high arches and plantar fasciitis treatment, look no further than our podiatry team at the Foot and Ankle Institute of Colorado. Book an appointment by calling our office at 719-488-4664 or by scheduling online.

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