How to Get Relief for Aching Arches

Black High Heel Shoes
Black High Heel Shoes

We’ve all been there. You grab yourself a super cute pair of shoes online, wait two weeks for them to arrive, only to discover that they hurt your feet every time you wear them. Unfortunately for many people with sensitive feet or high arches, the struggle to find stylish shoes that are not painful to wear is very real.

So are you stuck wearing basic footwear forever? Absolutely not! With a few simple tricks, you can find the support your feet need without sacrificing style.

Arch Support Strategies

1. Invest in insoles

Each time you purchase a new pair of shoes, buy heel guards along with them. These cushy padded shields that you stick inside your shoes protect your heels from slippage and irritation. You can find these tiny lifesavers fairly cheap at places like Target and Walter Drake.

2. Try arch supports

If your arches are giving you pain while you walk, try slipping some arch supports in your shoes. While these products generally have a bad rep, not all arch supports are oversized or bulky. You can grab a two pack of cushioned arch supports at Walmart or Amazon for around $15.

3. Strengthen your muscles

Pain in the foot can develop due to injury, illness, or no known reason at all. Depending on the cause of the discomfort, you may find that exercises help strengthen the muscles and ease the pain. In particular, you want to focus on strengthening the tibialis posterior muscle and stretching the Achilles tendon. One exercise idea involves picking up marbles off the floor using only your toes.

4. Use cold therapy

Much like heat on sore muscles, cold therapy can help alleviate heel and arch discomfort. While a bag of ice cubes will do in a pinch, you may want to consider investing in a massager or wrap for long-term foot problems.

5. Wear a splint at night

Wearing a splint on your foot at night has been found beneficial at relieving some pressure on your arches. By keeping your muscles properly aligned, you can increase strength in your foot while waking up pain-free. Consider a foot wrap or a pair of compression socks for adequate arch support while you sleep.

Along with these tips, choose your shoes carefully. If possible, try them on before you buy and opt for styles with adequate cushioning and arch support. If you experience pain with several different pairs of shoes and it persists, definitely talk to a foot doctor.

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    Catherine Brock

    As a Southern California transplant now living in the Midwest, Catherine has turned layering into an art form and accepted that UGGs actually do have a place in the stylish lady's wardrobe. She's been featured in Woman's World Magazine,, Refinery29, and has made appearances on ABC7 Chicago, FOX2News St. Louis, KCAL9 Los Angeles, Fox19 Cincinnati, WGN TV Chicago and WCPO TV Cincinnati.

    Blog Comments

    i have a shoe problem also: i have incredibly narrow feet, so shoes never stay on me.  my mother discovered keds grasshoppers for me one day.  i usually associate keds with those hideous white tennis shoes that my mother used to outfit me in, but they’re flat ballet-like shoes but they have padding and arch support and all that jazz, along with a gazillion fun patterns (my favorites are hot pink!).  i still have to put heel grippers in them, it’s okay.  they’re awesome shoes and great for walking in, because they feel like sneakers.


    If you have really high arches and are in pain you really cannot wear ballet flats.  If you have pain in the heels or the arch, you most likely have plantar fasciitis, a common problem if your arches are too high or too low.  Most people in pain with these problems get custom orthotics or at least a really good over the counter orthotic designed for high arches.  Yes, it is impossible to buy high fashion shoes.  You have to stick to the best looking comfort/orthopedic shoes you can find.  I am in the midst of the problem right now for my high arches.  I have been to several podiatrists.  They recommend absolutely nothing very flat and they say heels, not too high, can help esp. platform style.  No pumps, at least a clunky heel that isn’t going to put as much pressue on the heel.  Also if your foot is wide like mine, you need comfort shoes that are made wider or you need shoes that come in wide over medium as these will also help to fit the bump on top of your foot that you have because of the high arch.  I’ve asked about surgery to fix and the doctors are like that’s nuts.  There are such procedures, but it would take many procedures and problem years of recovery because there are so many tendons and ligaments in the feet.  They only do surgery on people whose arches are very high and getting higher due to neurological disorders such as charcot marie.  So for those of us who have it for some unknown reason, we just have to figure out something that works.  I may end up spending money to have shoes altered to have orthotics built in to them and whatnot, but I have to see the cost.  Custom shoes are very, very expensive.  And on more thing, high arches may be more problematic as far as pain if your arch is flexible so that when you stand on it your arch collapses.  I am told this is why I have plantar fasciitis.  Some people have rigid high arches and altho their feet look completely deformed, they walk around without wearing any arch suppot and without the severe pain that I have.  If you have problem feet, you just have to try not to keep staring at the gorgeous shoes in the shoe and clothing ads, just find something that will do and will not kill your feet because they are the only two feet you will ever have to stand on for your entire life.

    try Earthies or Helle comfort, Finn confort, Naot, Ramaka, Dansko

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