Arch PainThe arch of the foot is made from a complex series of bones tendons and ligaments. According to podiatric practice there is only one important arch of the foot on the medial side.
The height of the arch varies and having a flat foot or high arched foot is inherited. The arch acts to dissipate forces and store energy within the foot.
Low ArchMost young children have flat feet and this is because the arch has fatty tissue overlying it. Normally an arch appears after the age of 5-6 years. Even if you remain flat footed this might be normal for you and your family. Just because the arch is low does not mean that any treatment is required. Many world class athletes have flat feet.
If the arch is painful or the arch of one foot suddenly drops then investigation and treatment may be required. The arch might drop acutely due to a tear in a tendon or the movement of a bone within the arch. A scan and X Ray may be indicated and treatment ranging from insoles to surgery may be required.
High ArchIf you have a high arched foot this is likely to have been inherited. In extreme form this can cause pain in the ball of the foot and is often associated with a tight Achilles tendon and a tendency to walk on the outside of your foot. In most people there are no symptoms and in others there may pain along the arch and pain on the outside of your ankle.
Both these foot types are often mild and require no treatment, but if symptoms occur a full bio-mechanical examination will often reveal a mechanical cause to your pain. Often the treatment may be simple stretches and orthoses.