Sore arches

author : AMSSM
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Treadmill running causes arch pain

Question from member joshwennes:


So, in getting back into running (on a treadmill.....warm weather save me!), I've noticed that both of my feet are getting sore in the arches while running. I did just switch shoes from UA Gemini 2 Record to Hoka OneOne Infinite. I guess it could be the shoes (I'm hoping not because I do like these). Is there anything else to consider or try? Would treadmill running cause more stress on the arch than running outside?


Answer from Luis D. Salazar, MD
Member, AMSSM

So a couple of questions here to clarify.  Switching shoes when your feet hurt may be beneficial in this circumstance where the amount and type of running that you are doing is not being well supported in the shoe type or fit you are in.  This can have many layers of complexity for various reasons.  In shoe selection is important to find the correct type of shoe for the type of running that you will be doing as well as not over using shoes -- meaning watching out for breakdown of the shoes.  Still a good rule of thumb is finding the correct width, size and fit with a shoe that is comfortable for your feet -- sometimes seeking out the help at a local reputable running store may be helpful.  So, if you like your Hokas, enjoy!! 

Regarding arch pain while running this can be caused by many reasons.  As you get back into running, there is some general soreness that can happen as you get back into it.  I’m guessing that is not the reason you are experiencing the pain.

Alternatively, there is a concern given the cadence or stride length that can also be playing a role in which arch pain can be present.  This also can be occurring for many reasons.  When we take an extended period of time off of a certain activity you may experience loss of strength, stability and flexibility that can occurs particularly in the core, glutes, hips and pelvis.  Given this, the amount of stress on the muscular system for whatever activity we engage in can increase as a result of repetitively engaging in certain activity with underlying weakness or lack of flexibility.  Therefore, weakness can be one factor that can be attributed to your symptoms. 

Secondly, the arch type that you have can also be contributing to symptoms.  Whether you have high arches, normal arches or low arches can be an alternative source of pain as you get back into running and may need better stabilization with strengthening or with non-custom/custom orthotics.   Also, lack in flexibility in the areas of your calves, hamstrings, hip flexors and obliques can play a role as a source of symptoms.  In particular, with lower leg tightness can really throw off your biomechanics and potential range of motion as you get back into running and can cause arch pain. 

Lastly, surface choice of running can also play a role as to why your arches hurt.  Treadmill running, although a necessary evil at times due to weather or opportunity when training, is different, as you are aware, than running outside.  Although traditionally there is less stress and energy expenditure in treadmill running than running outside it can still be a cause for arch pain as runners do run differently on treadmills then outside.  

It is important to make sure that there is no concern for structural abnormality such as development of a stress injury or muscular strain as another protruding factor for your arch pain.  It would be good to have somebody observe your normal stance and even your biomechanics on a treadmill to shed some light further as to the source of pain you may be experiencing.  I would continue stretching your arches, calves and hamstrings while using frozen ice water bottle massage on your arches as you recover from running activity.  Keep these few things in mind and continue asking questions and seek out a sports medicine provider that may be helpful in observing your biomechanics. 

Be safe running and enjoy.




Luis D. Salazar, MD
OrthoKansas, LLC
University of Kansas 

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date: February 28, 2017

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The American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) was formed in 1991 to fill a void that has existed in sports medicine from its earliest beginnings. The founders most recognized and expert sports medicine specialists realized that while there are several physician organizations which support sports medicine, there has not been a forum specific for primary care non-surgical sports medicine physicians.

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The American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) was formed in 1991 to fill a void that has existed in sports medicine from its earliest beginnings. The founders most recognized and expert sports medicine specialists realized that while there are several physician organizations which support sports medicine, there has not been a forum specific for primary care non-surgical sports medicine physicians.

FIND A SPORTS MEDICINE DOCTOR

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