Whether you have flat feet, high arches, or feet in between, arch support is very important. While every person’s feet are unique, every person has an arch of the foot, and it is essential because it supports your entire body. Walking, standing, running, and anything else on your feet are dependent upon your foot arch. Nobody enjoys foot or ankle pain, and there are many conditions that can affect your feet due to insufficient arch support.
The Arch of the Foot
The arch of the foot is like a spring. The bones of the foot are not naturally curved, they are flat, but they form an arch due to the ligaments and tendons drawing them into that shape. This allows foot flexibility and actually saves energy. There are many joints in the bones of the feet that allow the foot to arch without breaking any bones or putting too much pressure on them. There are 26 bones, 33 joints, and over 100 ligaments and tendons in the foot, and they all contribute and make walking and running possible. Studies have shown that a person will walk around 75,000 miles in their lifetime. Your feet need to last that long! Taking care of your foot arch will help you walk without pain or other issues.
Common Arch Problems
There are several conditions that directly relate to the arch of the foot, but there are many other conditions that can be aided by proper arch support.
This is an extremely common condition where the foot arch collapses either partially or entirely. This is divided into two categories: symptomatic and asymptomatic. Most of the time flat feet develop in children as they grow, due to the fact that the arch doesn’t fully develop in the foot until late childhood. This condition can lead to ankle, knee, and hip problems. It also can be a symptom of other conditions. Most doctors can diagnose flat feet just through a physical examination. Arch supports and physical therapy can usually help the most for children or adolescents, while adults may need more treatment. Surgery is also a possibility.
Also called Cavus Foot, high arches are usually genetically inherited and cause pain. The extreme arch places more stress and weight on the ball of the foot and the heel. It can also cause instability or difficulty walking. Arch support inserts/orthotics can benefit the patient greatly, as well as other forms of treatment.
One of the most common foot problems is plantar fasciitis, which is caused by tendon inflammation. This condition is generally known for being quite painful and frustrating. The main large tendon of the foot, called the plantar fascia, supports the foot arch. Flat feet or high arches can cause plantar fasciitis. Arch supports can help the patient greatly as it will likely reduce the stress on the arch and alleviate what is irritating the tendon.
Other Common Arch Problems
Sometimes other external issues can cause arch pain or problems. One common cause is weight gain, as it puts more pressure on the feet. Another is overuse and sudden uptake of exercise, as this puts more strain on the feet as well. Aging can also affect this, for many reasons. Sometimes tendons and muscles can become somewhat brittle or less strong as a person ages, or other conditions can affect bone density and strength. There are many common outside influences that can cause arch pain or problems.
When the foot arch has problems and cannot support itself normally, custom orthotics and arch supports are the most common solution that can make a big difference. Custom orthotics are arch support inserts that go in your shoes and are formed to your feet. 3-D scans are taken of the bottom of the foot, and then your doctor will review and make changes to the orthotic to make sure it supports where it needs to. It may not feel comfortable at first, but it will help your foot arch to be normal and supported as it needs to be. Custom orthotics also have a reputation for being expensive, but they may be covered by insurance.
Why Not Over-the-counter Insoles?
For arch supports, over-the-counter insoles are not usually recommended. This is due to the fact that they are not designed as medical-grade devices and they can sometimes do more harm than good! They may seem comfortable, but this can quickly lead to discomfort and sometimes even more serious pain. Custom orthotics are designed by your doctor and form to your foot exactly. One size fits all insoles do not solve serious problems and are not ideal for foot care or pain management.
When it comes to arch support insoles and choosing the right treatment plan, it is extremely important to visit an expert podiatrist. Arch supports are key to healing arch injuries and they can make a big difference for each patient! Each foot is different, so having the right doctor who will ensure that you have the individual care you need is essential. Now there are even more options for getting the right doctor, including telehealth appointments.
Take Care of Your Feet
Your feet can take you far, even walking thousands of miles in your lifetime, so take good care of them! Arch supports and arch support inserts can make such a difference in your walking and running, and other everyday activities. The average person walks around 10,000 steps per day, and that adds up! Wearing shoes without support can be painful, as well as damaging. If you are seeking pain relief or management, or if you have other problems with your foot arch, make an appointment today. Starting on a treatment plan will help you enjoy your everyday activities even more while keeping your feet protected. If all goes well, this will hopefully equate to more health and wellness for you, and a long and happy life!