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What is inflammation of the arch tendon/heel spurs?
Inflammation of the arch tendon (often erroneously labeled “heel spurs”) is the most common cause of pain under the heel.
The arch tendon is a large tendon under the foot that runs from the heel and stretches all the way to the tip of all the toes. It functions like a natural ‘spring’ that helps the body offset pressure from landing after a jump and thus serves as an important shock-absorber.
As the arch tendon attaches to the tip of the toes, it is also crucial in everyday activities like walking. This is because the bending backward of the toes help tighten and hold the curve of the foot in place, which enables stable walking.
Causes of inflammation of the arch tendon
Inflammation of the arch tendon is typically caused by extra pressure produced by running, jumping unusually long walks or many hours of standing work. A heavy body weight combined with hard surfaces will increase the risk of developing inflammation of the arch tendon. If you suffer from flatfoot or hollow foot, there is an increased risk that you will develop inflammation of the arch tendon.
The most common symptom is pain under the heel when pressure is put on it. The pain will often be felt when you put weight on your foot. Typically, the pain will be at its worst when you get out of bed in the morning. As the foot warms up the pain will diminish to some degree. If the pain is also present during inactivity, it is common for the pain to be at its worst during the evening after performing activities during the day.
What you can do to treat your pain
The two most important measures you can take are relief and rehabilitation.
To relieve the foot, you should avoid jumping, running and/or similar activities that provoke your arch tendon. You can also try changing your footwear to see if this reduces the amount of pressure on your arch tendon.
Performing stimulating exercises aimed at the damaged tissue is a good way to treat inflammation of the arch tendon. Special focus is put on strength training, which has been shown to have a good effect. Most people will also benefit from stretching the Achilles tendon and the leg muscle as well as performing exercises to increase stability and mobility around the foot.