The term arch pain (often referred to as arch strain) refers to an inflammation and/or burning sensation at the arch of the foot.
There are a number of possible causes for arch pain, but the most common are structural imbalances of the foot, such as a flat foot. This is often not enough in isolation to cause the problem, but in combination with other factors arch pain may develop. These other factors are usually associated with overuse - running, walking, hard surfaces and/or being on your feet all day, usually combined with inadequate or non-supportive footwear.
However the most specific cause is a common condition called plantar fasciitis. The plantar fascia is a broad band of fibrous tissue located along the bottom surface of the foot that runs from the heel to the forefoot. Excessive stretching of the plantar fascia, usually due to over-pronation (flat feet), causes plantar fasciitis.
The inflammation caused by the plantar fascia being stretched away from the heel often leads to pain in the heel and arch areas. The pain is often extreme in the morning when an individual first gets out of bed or after a prolonged period of rest.
If this condition is left untreated and strain on the longitudinal arch continues, a bony protrusion may develop, known as a heel spur. It is important to treat the condition promptly before it worsens.
If the symptoms are mild, treatment will generally just consist of advice about footwear, stretching exercises for the calf muscles and arch. If the symptoms are more severe, tape can be used to restrict motion and support the arch; anti-inflammatory medication can be used to give some relief When the arch pain is pronation related (flat feet), an orthotic designed with a medial heel post and proper arch support is recommended for treating the pain. This type of orthotic will control over-pronation, support the arch and provide the necessary relief.
If the problem persists, consult your podiatrist.