What Causes Pain in the Foot Arches After Running and How Can I Treat It?

What Causes Pain in the Foot Arches After Running and How Can I Treat It?

Running is a great way to exercise and stay fit. Unfortunately, people can find that it results in pain or other issues. 

One of the most common problems people experience is arch pain after running. If you’ve been finding that you have pain in your arches after a run there can be several reasons why. If you’re concerned, don’t be afraid to contact your GP or physio.

What does the arch do?

Our arches work like shock absorbers as we walk, run or jump by acting as a flexible spring. 

All of our weight is supported by our feet and the arches soften impact and distribute our weight. Together with the heel, our arches protect our feet from injuries and damage as we go about our day-to-day lives.

What causes arch pain after running?

Pain in your feet, including in your arches, can be caused by a variety of factors. More often than not, any pain you experience will be a combination of these factors. Some of the common causes of pain in your arches after running are: 

Plantar fasciitis 

The plantar fascia is a band of tissue that extends from the front of the foot to the heel. It serves to cushion the feet from impact and provides support to the arch, contributing to its elasticity

When overused, misused or injured, the plantar fascia can become inflamed. This is called plantar fasciitis. It’s more commonly associated with sharp pain in the heel, but some people find that it extends to the arch as well. 

You might be experiencing plantar fasciitis if you have any of these symptoms – stiffness in the heel, pain when you put weight onto your foot, swelling, redness or aching arches. 

While some people feel that plantar fasciitis is manageable, it can get worse if left untreated. This is how bone spurs develop. It’s your body’s answer to create better support in your feet. However, bone spurs can cause more pain in your feet and require surgery to fix. 

Luckily, there are several ways to help treat your plantar fasciitis. Stretching your feet before and after a run is a great way to help. Night splints worn in bed keep your foot in the proper position and stop the tendon from shortening during the night. Our arch support insoles can help to prevent or treat plantar fasciitis by providing support for your arches and aligning your foot while you walk and run. 

Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction (PTTD)

The posterior tibial tendon connects the inner foot to your calf. If it’s injured, it can lead to inflammation and PTTD, commonly called adult-acquired flatfoot. 

PTTD commonly starts with pain in the arch of your foot and moves up the back of your calf. While some people can experience it after exercising, others can find it occurring in the middle of a run. 

To treat PTTD, you may want to look at ankle braces or arch support insoles in your shoes for added supports. 

Cavus foot or high-arched feet

High arches can also be the cause of pain after a run. Sometimes caused by neurological conditions, cavus foot can also be a structural abnormality not tied to anything else. High arches can cause instability when running and cause a loss of balance. 

Cavus foot, like PTTD, is best treated with insoles and shoes that provide plenty of ankle support. 

Overpronation or misaligned feet 

The way the soles of your trainers wear away can provide a clue as to why your arches are hurting after running. 

If inside, the bottom part of the sole is wearing more than the rest of the shoe, then you may have overpronation. When you run or walk, the outer edge of your heel is striking first and the rest of your foot rolls inward as you place it down. This can flatten your foot and lead to pain in your arches. Using inserts or stability shoes is a great way to treat the issue. 

Structural issues in the foot

Often, the structure of your feet can be the cause of any pain you’re experiencing in your arches. 

In many cases, this will come down to having arches that are either too high or too low. Usually custom orthotics can help correct your structural issues. In some instances, it may be necessary to adjust your routine to avoid high-impact activities.

What can I do to treat arch pain after running?

Experiencing mild pain after a run can be relatively common and there are some general things that you can do to help. 

After care

Once you get home and your feet begin to hurt, grab an ice pack. Applying this to your arches in 20-minute stretches can alleviate the pain. 

Another option is to use anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen. Keep in mind that this is very much a short-term fix and does nothing to stop ongoing pain in your feet. 


All runners should be stretching before and after a run, but very few think to stretch their feet. Making sure to include your feet in your routines, and on rest days, can help reduce and mitigate pain in your arches. 


Your feet need to take a break so that they can repair themselves and recover. Small and minor injuries can easily become bigger and chronic problems if they aren’t given time to heal. Make sure to include rest in your workout plans and if you are experiencing pain, take a break from running for a couple of days or until the symptoms subside.

When to see a doctor

There are a lot of ways to treat arch pain at home but it’s important to know when you should see a professional. If the pain doesn’t subside in a few weeks or if it’s stopping you from using your feet then you should contact your GP or physiotherapist.

Arch pain doesn’t have to be the end of your running but if left untreated, it can cause serious issues. Learn to recognise the symptoms and you’ll be able to manage most issues. For all the rest, your GP or physio can help.