You've been on your feet all day and all you want to do is sit
down and put them up, soak 'em in warm water or have a foot massage.
But for some people who have high arches, these measures don't bring
High arches usually don't cause problems but they can sometimes be
a source of pain. Various treatments can provide relief, says Dr.
Frederick Dietz, professor of orthopaedics at the University of Iowa
College of Medicine and a staff physician at UI Hospitals and
"When someone with high arches complains of foot pain, I look for
a cause. Most of the time it is neurologic," Dietz says. "Highly
arched feet that are painful and are not caused by a nervous system
problem are rather uncommon and usually run in families." If you
inherited high arches, chances are that additional arch supports in
your shoes are all you'll need to deal with any pain that might
occur. Supports relieve excessive pressure and foot strain by
distributing body weight across the feet and by cushioning the impact
of walking, he says.
Another way to relieve mild pain is to modify your activity to
reduce excessive stress on the feet. For example, if you enjoy
long-distance running, you may want to reduce the distance that you
run. Wearing comfortable shoes is especially important for people who
have high arches. Buy shoes with good arch supports and padding built
in. Select a low heel and be sure the front of the shoe fits properly
and doesn't jam your toes together. Use heel pads to get an easier
fit in the heel. If you like to wear two pairs of socks in your
jogging shoes, be sure to wear them when trying on shoes at a
Wearing high heels and pumps is generally not a good idea, but
they may actually be easier on the feet of women who have high
A high arch can be detected in children at various ages depending
on the cause. Young people with high arches usually begin to feel
foot pain in their teen years because of the increase in body weight
that the feet have to bear.
If your foot problem is neurologic, pain can begin at any age. In
these cases, treatment depends upon how supple the feet are. If the
foot pain problem is in its early stages and the feet are still
flexible, minor surgery may be the answer. In the later stages of the
problem, when the feet are more rigid, a different type of surgery
may help, Dietz says. Often one operation is all that is needed to
get people back on their feet painlessly.
If you experience foot pain, see your doctor. The pain might be a
symptom of another disease. If it is an inherited high arch, you can
take simple steps to take care of it.