Home / Pain Relief / Tagged: Body Alignment

Pain in Arch of Foot: Causes, Treatments & Stretches

Pain in Arch of Foot: Causes, Treatments & Stretches - SelectFlex

Experiencing pain in the arch of your foot can be a debilitating and uncomfortable sensation. Whether it's a sharp, stabbing pain or a dull ache, foot arch pain can disrupt your daily life and limit your mobility. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the various causes of arch pain, effective treatments, the benefits of wearing insoles, and some helpful stretches to alleviate discomfort. By understanding the root causes and implementing the right strategies, you can take steps towards a pain-free life and keep your feet healthy and happy.

Causes of Arch Pain:

  1. Plantar Fasciitis: One of the most common culprits behind arch pain is plantar fasciitis. This condition occurs when the thick band of tissue (the plantar fascia) that connects the heel to the toes becomes inflamed (WebMD).  This inflammation can result from overuse, improper footwear, or biomechanical issues.
  2. Flat Feet: Individuals with flat feet lack the natural arch support that others have. This lack of arch can lead to strain on the plantar fascia and result in arch pain. It's often hereditary but can also be caused or exacerbated by factors like obesity and pregnancy.
  3. High Arches: Conversely, people with high arches may also experience arch pain. High arches can lead to excess pressure on the ball and heel of the foot, causing discomfort and pain over time.
  4. Overuse or Strain: Engaging in activities that put excessive strain on the arch, such as long-distance running, can cause overuse injuries. Additionally, wearing unsupportive shoes can exacerbate arch strain (Healthline).
  5. Injury: Trauma to the arch of the foot, like a sprain or fracture, can result in pain and discomfort. These injuries often require immediate medical attention.

Treatments for Arch Pain:

  1. Rest and Ice: If your arch pain is due to overuse or a minor injury, resting your foot and applying ice can help reduce inflammation and provide relief (Cedars Sinai).
  2. Orthotic Insoles: Custom or over-the-counter orthotic insoles can provide crucial arch support and help distribute your weight evenly. These insoles can alleviate pain and improve your foot's biomechanics.
  3. Proper Footwear: Invest in shoes that provide adequate arch support and cushioning. Look for brands that specialize in comfort and support, and avoid high heels and unsupportive flats.
  4. Physical Therapy: Physical therapy can be highly effective in treating arch pain. A therapist can recommend exercises and stretches to strengthen the arch and improve flexibility.
  5. Anti-Inflammatory Medications: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help manage pain and reduce inflammation. Consult a healthcare professional before using any medication.

Wearing Insoles for Arch Pain: Insoles, or orthotic inserts, are an excellent solution for managing and preventing arch pain. Here's why they're worth considering:

  1. Arch Support: Insoles are designed to provide targeted arch support. They help maintain the natural curvature of the foot, relieving strain on the plantar fascia.
  2. Customization: You can choose between custom-made orthotics prescribed by a podiatrist or over-the-counter options. Both offer varying levels of support to suit your needs.
  3. Improved Biomechanics: Insoles can correct alignment issues and improve your foot's biomechanics, reducing the risk of future arch pain.
  4. Versatility: Insoles can be used in a wide range of shoes, from athletic sneakers to dress shoes. This means you can enjoy the benefits of arch support in all aspects of your life.
  5. Pain Relief: Many individuals find immediate relief from arch pain when they start using insoles. The added cushioning and support can significantly reduce discomfort.

 

Effective Stretches for Arch Pain: Incorporating stretches into your daily routine can help alleviate arch pain and prevent its recurrence. Here are some effective stretches to try:

  1. Calf Stretch: Stand facing a wall, place your hands against it, and step one foot back. Keep the back leg straight, bend the front knee, and press your heel into the floor. You should feel a stretch in your calf and Achilles tendon.
  2. Towel Curl: Sit on a chair with your feet flat on the ground. Place a towel under your feet and use your toes to scrunch it up toward you. This exercise helps strengthen the muscles in your arch.
  3. Toe Stretch: Sit on the floor with your legs extended. Use your hands to gently pull your toes back towards you. Hold for 20-30 seconds to stretch the plantar fascia.
  4. Ankle Circles: While seated or lying down, make circles with your ankles in both directions. This simple exercise promotes flexibility and reduces stiffness.
  5. Marble Pick-Up: Place a few marbles on the floor and use your toes to pick them up and place them in a bowl. This strengthens the muscles in your arch.

Arch pain can be a real hindrance, but with the right knowledge and proactive measures, you can manage and even prevent it. Whether it's through rest, proper footwear, insoles, or regular stretching, taking care of your feet is essential for your overall well-being. If your arch pain persists despite these efforts, consult a healthcare professional for a more comprehensive evaluation and treatment plan. By addressing the root causes and incorporating these strategies, you can look forward to a future with fewer arch-related discomforts and more comfortable, pain-free steps. 

Consider Wearing SelectFlex Adjustable Orthotics to Help Relieve your Arch Pain. 

   FOLLOW US

 

HOW BIOMIMETICS HELP YOUR BODY

HOW BIOMIMETICS HELP YOUR BODY - SelectFlex

What is Biomimetics?

Biomimetics offers an empathetic, interconnected understanding of how life works and ultimately where we fit in. It is a practice that learns from and mimics the strategies used by species alive today. The goal is to create products, processes, and policies — new ways of living — that solve our greatest design challenges sustainably and in solidarity with all life on earth. We can use biomimetics (often referred to as biomimic), to not only learn from nature’s wisdom, but also heal ourselves — and this planet — in the process.

Biomimetics Brings Relief To The Body

We’re stressed. Our planet is stressed. Many are losing hope for solving the climate crisis and its many negative effects on ecosystems across the world. Biomimicry gives us hope, because we know the solutions for our greatest challenges are here, accessible, and validated by the many species still alive today. By using nature as our mentor, we get to experience the powerful healing effects it has by connecting to the natural world — while also finding empowering relief to solve these challenges together.

The 3 Essentials Elements of Biomimicry

When translating nature’s strategies into design, the science of the practice involves three essential elements: Emulate, Ethos, and (Re)Connect. These three components are infused in every aspect of biomimicry and represent these core values at its essence (Biomimicry Institute).

  • Emulate: The scientific, research-based practice of learning from and then replicating nature’s forms, processes, and ecosystems to create more regenerative designs.
  • Ethos: The philosophy of understanding how life works and creating designs that continuously support and create conditions conducive to life.
  • (Re)Connect: The concept that we are nature and find value in connecting to our place on Earth as part of life’s interconnected systems. (Re)Connect as a practice encourages us to observe and spend time in nature to understand how life works so that we may have a better ethos to emulate biological strategies in our designs.
The word biomimicry was coined by Janine Benyus many years ago (1997) when she came out with her book Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature.  Her book is a collection of stories describing the work of scientists, engineers, and inventors who were translating their fascinating observations of functional strategies found in biology into innovative technologies.  Before this book came out, this inspired-by-Nature approach to invention and innovation was referred to with terms like bionicsbio-engineering, or biomimetics.  Benyus recognized that these terms might feel too technical and off-putting for her readers (mostly people interested in Nature), so she came up with the term ‘biomimicry’, which she felt was more approachable. Biomimicry for Creative Innovation,
 

 

  FOLLOW US
   

 

HOW FEET AFFECT THE BRAIN

HOW FEET AFFECT THE BRAIN - SelectFlex

Agile feet can help to improve one's balance, posture, gait, and movement overall. However, feet do not function independently of the body or brain. In fact, extensive research points to a definitive foot-brain connection, which is so dynamic that when activated, it allows us to move with calm, certainty, and security.

If you wonder why you have brain fog, depression, worsening memory, or slow thinking, the clues may lie in your feet — your foot health can tell you whether your brain is receiving enough oxygen.  Poor circulation to the feet creates myriad symptoms that signal circulation in the brain may also be poor, depriving your brain of oxygen, nutrients, and function. Troublesome symptoms aren’t the only bad part of poor brain circulation. Insufficient oxygen to the brain speeds up brain aging and raises your risk of vascular dementia, and it is the second most common type of dementia after Alzheimer’s. Check out these common signs to watch for below:

  • Got cold feet? Your brain could be oxygen-deprived: Got cold toes and feet? If you have chronically cold feet, you may want to investigate whether your brain is getting enough oxygen and nutrients from sufficient circulation. Have someone check if your feet and toes are colder than your ankles or calves. If so, your feet are not getting enough circulation, and your brain may not be either. Cold fingers and a cold nose are other symptoms.
  • Chronic fungal growth in toenails: If you have chronic fungal nail infections or chronic athlete’s foot, this can mean poor circulation is depriving your feet of enough oxygen, nutrients, and immune cells to ward off infection. This makes the feet and toenails more prone to fungal infections and fighting them a losing battle.
  • Poor capillary refill time and white toenail beds: Are the nail beds of your toes a healthy pink or a pale white? If circulation is poor, the nail beds are more white than pink. Another test is to press down on a nail bed and observe how quickly the color returns.  The pink color should return instantly. If it takes a few seconds this indicates poor blood flow to the feet and most likely the brain as well.
  • Cramping in the feet: When circulation to the feet is poor, it’s common to experience foot cramps that are difficult to relieve. The feet cramp due to lack of blood and oxygen to power the muscles. You may also experience cramps in your hands, such as when writing or typing. Both are signs circulation to the brain may be poor.
  • Poor brain circulation: If you think poor brain circulation may be a culprit in your brain fog, memory loss, depression, or slow thinking, it’s important to figure out why your circulation is low. Investigate health condition that cause poor blood flow and lack of oxygenation, such as hypothyroidism, anemia, a heart condition, diabetes, low blood pressure, smoking, or an overly sedentary lifestyle. Normal blood pressure is 120/80. If the top or bottom number is 10 or more points below, that means the pressure is not high enough to push blood into the furthest ends of the body. Low blood pressure is typically accompanied by low blood sugar and adrenal fatigue. In addition to addressing root causes, one way to boost blood flow to the brain is through bursts of high intensity exercise, even if it’s just for a few minutes.

The Foot Brain Connection

The  importance of healthy feet is often undervalued.  In fact, the health of one’s feet is often either neglected or abused.  Constrictive or ill-shaped shoe wear, like high heels, can often lead to foot dysfunction. However, feet do not function independently of the body or brain.  In fact, extensive research points to a definitive foot-brain connection, which is so dynamic that when activated, it allows us to move with calm, certainty, and security.  

Fascia, tendons, and ligaments are ionically charged and receive sensory information providing feedback to the brain which enables us to move with skill.   There are:

  • Over 7000 nerve endings in the sole of the foot
  • 26 bones in each foot that work with intrinsic muscles to provide a static or dynamic balance
  • 250,000 sweat glands that can produce 4-6oz. of perspiration a day in active feet
  • 33 joints, and over 100 muscles, ligaments, and tendons  

All of these components, contribute information for sensorimotor control.  Everything must work synergistically to provide postural stability, balance, grip strength, shock absorption, and mobility for quiet standing, gait, and dynamic movement (The Functional Neurology Center).

How to Restore blood flow to your feet and your brain

This foot-brain connection empowers us to move in space.  Feeling our stability we gain confidence for more unbounded action and movement patterns, without it our mobility becomes restricted and diminished.  Therefore, maintaining foot health, and avoiding injuries from overuse are vital to fluid movement and optimal performance. 

Along with exercise, wearing appropriate footwear can help improve balance, especially in older people who may struggle with mobility and balance issues. This is a 24 hour / 7 day rule, whether out running errands or at home cooking dinner. The right footwear can support and strengthen your foot and arch, in turn enhancing overall balance and mobility. 

                                                     FOLLOW US