Arch Support Insoles - How to Increase Comfort and Alleviate Pain
They Key to Happy Feet is in the Arch
Supportive arch support insoles can dramatically increase foot comfort and improve sports performance. By preventing overpronation, they can reduce foot fatigue, alleviate or prevent plantar fasciitis, and increase stride length. For maximum benefit, the insole must fit well and be durable enough to maintain its shape, even after hard use. The best arch support insoles are the ones that offer firm support and a perfect fit. We'll start at the heel.
- Pronounced Heel Cup – The insole should cup the heel effectively. There is a fatty pad under the heel bone that helps cushion each step. Concentrating the pad beneath the heel is a great way to optimize the body's natural shock absorbing ability. For best results, look for a deeper heel cup.
- Rear Foot Support – It is the rear third of the arch that is most important for pronation control. The "calcaneal shelf" is the control point (and where the plantar fascia connects to the bone). Properly supporting this structure does wonders for comfort. Many times the arch of an orthotic will feel especially supportive in this area.
- Arch Extension – Without support under the rest of the arch, pressure points can build up under the rear of the foot. The forward section of the arch should also feel support. Ideally the support will feel like a broad ramp – smooth and uniform.
- Firm and Dynamic Support – Insoles that deflect easily beneath your feet will not provide long-term comfort. At the same time, the arch support insole must flex like a spring to work in concert with the foot. You should be able to press the arch down, but not easily.
- Volume Appropriate – Ideally there is an insole in your shoe that can be taken out to make room for your new arch supports. After-market insoles should not make your shoes tight enough that your feet feel constricted. If this is the case, look for the lowest profile inserts or more appropriate footwear.
The absolute best way to get a great fit is to try arch support insoles with a variety of contours and configurations. Though it may take a few days to insure that your choice is correct, your feet (and legs, hips and back) will tell you when you've made the right choice.