mild arch pain - is it plantar fasciitis?

Have a pain in left foot arch following a marathon last sunday. Hurts mildly to walk on it causing a slight limp, especially if barefoot. I do not have heel pain, and it is not worse in morning. I have not ran for 5 days and pain going, but slowly.

I have a "normal" foot in that I do not overpronate and do not have a particularly high arch. I wear Brooks GTS Adrenaline trainers which have always served me well - but probably should have ran in slightly newer trainers last sunday - they were maybe a bit worn.

The pain is in the soft area in the arch about halfway in foot, and is more to the side facing in (right side of left foot).

Do you think this is the start of plantar fascilitis, or just a mild strain/tear in something down there. I want to run again soon, but obviously do not want to make things worse. Going for sports massage later - is there anything they can do for this sort've thing?


  • 15 - have also had pain in my right foot since Manchester. Like yours mine has some similarities to PF but is not a typical presentation. My pain is on the outer aspect of the foot and I have self-diagnosed it as bruising from the uneven surface at Dunham Massey. Your symptoms do sound more like PF - regardless of the diagnosis you should probably be resting it. I foolishly did the local Park Run this a.m. as the pain had been easing and it is now as bad as ever.

    If it is PF you could do achilles stretches (the one where you put the front half of your feet on the stairs and lower yourself). Hope you recover soon whatever it is.

  • 15West15West ✭✭✭

    Thanks for answer. Have done no running on it yet. Pain almost completely gone, had a pretty good sports massage yesterday and she really gave me a good going over! If feeling ok might try a short easy run monday or tuesday. I will focus on the stretches you mentioned, have also been my foot on a little massage ball thing I have, and have been icing etc,

  • Six PhysioSix Physio ✭✭✭

    15West - careful about twu's stretch, it'll load up your achilles and PF. You've got an overstretch problem and I'd think twice about stretching and over stretch problem....

  • 15West15West ✭✭✭

    Not convinced it's PF actually - if I press on my foot the main painful spot is on the soft issue under my arch almost on side of foot near the ball.

  • I had pf in that spot - it is unusual though. If it doesn't lessen (or worsens) during running be very careful.
  • Hope I haven't passed on dodgy advice image - the stretches I posted were recommended to me by a physio.

  • 15west - i have the exact same pain in my foot too - and i wear the same trainers as you as well! I injured my foot back in feb in a cross country race whcih left me unable to walk and i was limping for weeks! Almost 12 weeks later, I'm still not 100%. Although I can walk normally and everything now, when I press into the arch of my right foot, I can feel the pain. My physio's advised me to start running again and whilst I was originally very excited about the idea - I now have my reservations, especially after reading thiswayup's post, I'm even more put off! My foot hasn't been diagnosed as PF, my physio hasn't really assigned a name to my injury. The pain from the arch translates into pain in other areas of the foot like the ball of my foot. If I were you 15west, I'd wait until you were 100% again, don't wanna end up like me with 3 months off running!

    Anyone else had anything similar with arch pain?

  • 15West15West ✭✭✭

    Just been for, my first run for over a week,  an easy 8 miles and definately felt it, but wasn't painful. Infact I was getting worse aches and pains elsewhere as still my legs are recovering from the marathon. Genereally pain has gone though and I can walk normally etc., only feel slight pain if press it hard, so I guess it's recovering I will be monitoring it closely though, and if gets any worse, or does not keep improving will be off to a physio. Thanks all for your advice.

  • Just wondering if the pain could be coming from where the posterior tibialis tendon attaches to the bones in the foot? I've had this problem on and off since January it always seems worse if my shoe is too loose!
  • I had a similar pain you're describing in my last marathon, which was 4 months ago! Had to pull out as it was way too painful to walk, let alone run on.

    Is yours like a sharp stabbing pain? Mine turned out to be a stress fracture, and I was told to have two weeks rest.

    It's only in the last 3 months it's feeling much better. After the initial 2 week rest, I could run on it, would hurt for the first few meters but then the pain would go.

    Think my shoes caused this as the arch support was near to nothing.
  • Touie2 , peroneous longus inserts at the first metatarsal and is the more commonly the source of pain in the described location. Although antagonists, tib post and per longwork together in propulsion. 

    PF seems to get diagnosed for any pain in the foot. 

  • 15West15West ✭✭✭

    Think mine is mild PF. The pain isn't too bad, but then I haven't been running too much. On the inside of the arch if I press hard there is some pain, and also a knotty crunchy section which I'm guess is damaged tendon. Not sure whether to run or not - have ran once in just under two weeks.

  • 15West, what are your first steps of the day like, painful? Does ice ease it, is it worse depending on footwear, does it hurt post run or during?

  • 15West15West ✭✭✭

    No pain first steps of the day. Not ran with it much - but when I did run I definately felt it but could continue, and a few hours after run was hurting more and had to kind've put weight more on ball of foot when walking. Icing helps a bit. Like I say, I can feel this knotty area on inside of foot arch which is fairly painful when I press hard on it. It really isn't causing me too many problems, but I'd like it to go, want to start running more regularly again (I have a 10k next week) but don't want to make it a lot worse if I do.

  • Really doesn't sound like PF ( I see about 10 a week). This is good news, tendons heal a much quicker than the plantar fascia does, as they have a good blood supply by comparison.

    I hope it doesn't get in the way too much for you, of course more rest would help, but you already knew that image

  • 15West15West ✭✭✭

    Hey Podman - I like that answer! Thanks very much. I actually went to a physio today and she wasn't sure what it was, but just did lots of stetches and massaging and advice etc. She reckoned I possible damaged it on uneven surface on Gtr Manchester marathon as part of it, due to condtions and country roads, turned into a bit of a cross country run. Personally I just think it's overuse.

    Now - do I run that 10k?!

  • Thanks Podman I was trying to quote but I don't seem to be able to do it from my phone!!!

    I will have a look at what you suggested to see if I can find some strengthening exercises! Im not sure whether if my orthotics are helping or making it worse!
  • 15west, should you run it? You will only know that answer after the event. As always, it depends how much the race means to you, consider it in perspective of other planned events this year.

    Touie2 it may be a case of resting, most orthotics will assist the action of per longus by controlling the cuboid position which is a fulcrum for PL. Sorry to be technical, but most devices (unless custom made for a specific purpose) will enforce some rest of PL. Hope this helps. Save the strengthening for when it's pain free.
  • It only hurts after I've been running for a while if I push off of my toes, and sometimes downhill, it's more of an annoyance than a major pain! I can prod it and poke it and nothing!!! It's on and off, I ran London marathon and it didn't bother me at all but another time it will niggle after 10 miles!
  • 15West15West ✭✭✭

    well - I ran for 30 minutes lunchtime with no pain. Could feel it, but was ok....waiting for aches and pains to kick in post run but not happening yet. I think not running so much, plus stretching and applying ice/heat is hopefully doing the trick.

    I will probably run the 10k - but may not go to fast and leave my PB target for another day. Race is not so important, but still would rather do next main race targetted is another marathon in the autumn.

    Thanks for advice/help Podman.

  • Sounds wise 15West, good luck with the marathon in the Auitumn, at least the weather will be better than it was in Dunham Massey, that was painful.

  • 15West15West ✭✭✭

    you were there? it was ridiculous - and I was one of the victims of the Great Manchester Marathon Baggage Fiasco.

  • eresting reading. I thought I had developed PF but not matching symptoms entirely, doc said probably PF but more because of what I told him and text book possible cause - increased mileage and change to running surface. Have been training for 62m run, all was going well, sensibly upping mileage gradually training with running club twice a week then long steady at weekend. Leading up to Easter long runs of 15, 18, 20, 22, 24 then 26 on Good Friday which was last long one. This was on different terrain, usually road but race on canal trail so thought best to try it out. Felt fine afterwards, ran 10km race on Easter Monday, good time considering marathon distance a few days before and still feeling fine. Set off for next long one at end of week but after 4 miles in newish trainers felt pain in arch of foot. On a 7 mile loop and it felt easier to run than walk. Thought it was shoes so changed for second loop but pain got worse. Have rested ever since, been icing it and rolling over frozen water bottle. It is bad first thing but not sharp pain, more dull and I can prod and poke without wincing. First week limping badly now just can't seem to put foot flat on floor properly and noticed I am leaning on outer part of foot when walking. Hurts if I am on feet too much. I overpronate, always have shoes 'diagnosed' with gait analysis. So big question, if not PF then what and despite not keeping up with training schedule for race at end of June, if I still have problem can I just try to run through it? Doctor just said rest until it doesn't hurt anymore.  Also, would ultrasound help? Sponsored charity challenge so reluctant to cancel but don't want to do something irreparable. 

  • Forgot to add that feel quite a bit of discomfort when wearing trainers. Most of miles covered in Brooks Adrenalins, I only mildly over pronate, and new trainers asics GT 2000 but wearing either just to walk the dog niggle. Strangely shoes for work with heels feel most comfortable. Driving me nuts not being able to run!

  • Whether you should run through pain is a tough question to answer. But we need to remember that pain is a signal and warning from your body telling you that something is not right. If you ignore it you could end up doing more damage. Trust your instincts and listen to your body. 

    Plantar fasciitis just means the fascia (connective tissue) under your foot is irrated and inflamed. The question is why!

    There could be so many reasons but if you address the root cause the pain should disappear.

    Often the root cause is some imbalance in the posture of your hips, knees or foot, meaning you strike the ground in an unnatural way when you walk or run.

    If the foot is striking the ground in an unnatural way all of the surrounding tissues in the foot will be working overtime and become overused and hypersensitive.

    Another likely cause could be that your foot arches have fallen. Arches are so important as they provide the spring in your step and so many nervous tissue runs under them. If they drop, these tissues become compressed and inflamed leading to plantar fasciitis.

    Try these 3 exercises to rebalance and align the pelvis, hips, knees, ankles and feet, and see if they reduce or eliminate your plantar fasciatis:



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