Like the similar structures that have held up the great Roman aqueducts for thousands of years, the arches in our feet are designed to be the dominant impact absorption structures of the body. This is where the constant use and tear of walking and running is dissipated to help prevent stress injuries to the ankle , knees and legs.
Unlike the great Roman arches the ones in our feet are designed to be flexible- to “give and take”- upon impact with the ground. That is how the arches both absorb and mirror the force of impact back to the outside world.
The arches in our feet are complicate structures made up of 24 bones. These bones are held together by a combination of physics and ligaments.
In fact there are two arches in our feet, the longitudinal runs the feet’s length, while the traverse arch spans the width.
One of the main supplies of foot arch pain is a condition known as plantar fasciitis. This is an inflammation of the fibrous sheath that extends the length of longitudinal arch and helps sustain it. This is a shared injury for baseball catchers due to the awkward stance the assume while playing.
Another causes of plantar fasciitis is simply running on rough surfaces and consequently it is one of the most shared sports related injuries.
When symptoms of plantar fasciitis begin to manifest, prompt treatment using the R.I.C.E method can help reduce the duration of the injury and ease recovery. RICE stand for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.
Rest is self-explanatory.
However ice should never be applied for more than 30 minutes per session, and should be “normal” ice wrapped in a towel. Most commercial cold packs are too cold.
Gently pushing (compressing) the affected area can help relieve inflammation, as can elevating the feet.
Any of the over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicines can be used to help reduce swelling. Care should be taken that the medications are non-steroidal, and of course you should check with your doctor if you are taking any other meds.
Specialist treatment includes various therapeutic measures designed to stimulate circulation and healing to the affected area.
Podiatrists can assign customised orthotics(insoles) designed to give sustain to the effected arches.
If the injury is harsh enough the athlete may be required to use substantial time rehabbing the foot. It is important that he or she does not attempt to return to normal activity too early as re-injuries can often be more damaging than original episodes.
To continue over-all fitness during the rehab period the athlete should seek out other non-foot impact activities. For example swimming and biking can both help continue cardio-vascular fitness and muscle tone.
Additionally, such activities provide a good release for the pent-up energy athletes must deal with during any rehab experience.