Fallen arches can cause flat feet. This means that the entire bottom of one or both feet touch the floor when standing normally. This can cause pain in your feet, ankles, and legs.
Having fallen arches is not a pleasant experience. How can people with fallen arches avoid unnecessary pain? Arch supports for flat feet can do wonders. It is important to use appropriate shoes and insoles. What are the best shoe and insole options for flat feet? Let’s explore some of the available solutions.
What are Flat Feet?
People with flat feet don’t have properly tightened tendons. Most people with flat feet are simply born that way. Many children have flat feet, as arches sometimes develop during pre-adolescence.
To test if you have flat feet, put a piece of newspaper or a brown paper bag flat on the floor. Then wet your feet. Step on the paper briefly. Look at the shape of your footprint. If your arch looks mostly filled in, you have flat feet.
Are Fallen Arches the Same as Flat Feet?
Unlike flat feet, fallen arches develop in adulthood. Fallen arches are the cause of flat feet when people are not born with them. This condition can occur after a variety of injuries. For example, dislocating bones in the feet or ripping tendons can lead to fallen arches. A series of tendons and ligaments that attach leg muscles to the foot create the foot’s arch. When these tendons are injured or otherwise loosen, arches begin to fall. Symptoms worsen with age.
Rheumatoid arthritis, an inflammation of the joints, is another common cause of fallen arches. Arthritis in the feet can be incredibly painful. When the joints in ankles and feet don’t work properly, the arch muscles loosen. If you think this is your situation, see a doctor immediately to create a plan of action.
Obesity and pregnancy can also put pressure on foot tendons. See a doctor to see if weight may be playing a factor in your arch pain. Pregnancy changes arches in two ways: weight gain and hormonal changes. Typically, women see a fairly large change in their arch during their first pregnancy. Subsequent pregnancies cause much more mild changes in the feet.
Symptoms of Fallen Arches
Fallen arches cause feet to tire easily. This limits the ability to perform jobs requiring long periods of standing or engage in strenuous physical activities like distance running and soccer. Tired feet is the most common symptom of fallen arches and can be very painful.
Back pain is another symptom of fallen arches. Flat feet don’t provide sufficient support for a healthy posture. Poor posture then puts extra strain on back muscles. Back pain symptoms range in severity.
Fallen arches can also cause swollen ankles. This can make footwear uncomfortable. In fact, unsupportive shoes, like high heels, can accelerate these problems.
Do I Need to Do Something About My Fallen Arches?
Even when fallen arches are not particularly painful, it is important to address the condition, as it can lead to other painful foot issues. It is associated with plantar fasciitis, tendinitis, and worsening arthritis.
Fallen arches can also exacerbate existing knee and hip pain. Staying fit and doing yoga is a good preventative measure. However, treating fallen arches is also important for people with sensitive knees and hips. Additionally, fallen arches make the toes work harder while walking. This can lead to even more foot pain, corns, and blisters.
Can I Fix My Fallen Arches?
There are a few quick and easy ways to temporarily relieve foot pain caused by fallen arches. These are great options for pregnant women or those with only mildly flat feet:
- Raise your feet for at least 20 minutes per day. This also helps prevent varicose veins and spider veins
- Use an ice pack to soothe swollen feet
- Stretch and massage feet
- See a physical therapist
- Take over-the-counter pain treatments as needed – ibuprofen or NSAIDS
If fallen arches are a long-term problem, there are some other treatments to consider, including:
- Weight loss (particularly if age is also a factor)
- Bone grafting or fusions (for arthritis sufferers)
- Tendon surgery
- Arch-support insoles
- Custom orthotics
For most of these options, consulting a doctor is appropriate. However, an easier, less expensive option is to find proper insoles and shoes that support fallen arches. Proper arch supports for flat feet can provide the necessary support and relieve pain and discomfort.
Arch supports for flat feet can’t cure fallen arches. Rather, they provide temporary support and ease the pain. Wearing supportive insoles can also prevent the condition from getting worse. With the proper insoles, many of the problems associated with flat feet can be remedied.
Arch Supports for Flat Feet – Custom Orthotics
For some, custom orthotics are the best option. Custom-molded arch supports provide support for the entire foot. Prices range from $300 – $500 for well-crafted custom orthotics. For best results find a Pedorthist that will take non-weightbearing imprints of your feet and make the orthotics on-site. Any adjustments or corrections will be easy and successful.
Arch Supports for Flat Feet – Non-Custom Insoles
Better quality, non-custom insoles can also provide relief. They are considerably less expensive ($50 - $100) and work well if they provide adequate support. The key is an accurate fit and strong support. They can be placed in hiking boots, sneakers, and a variety of shoes. This option is excellent for people who lead an active lifestyle.
Resist the temptation to buy the cheap cushioned insoles you find at drugstores or supermarkets. These soft insoles may provide initial relief, but their lack of support will not address the root problem – fallen arches. Proper arch supports for flat feet will provide structure not simply cushion and comfort.
Relief is a Click Away
Insoles and custom orthotics can also help shoes last longer. People with flat feet tend to wear out shoes quickly. Insoles spread weight properly across the bottom of the foot. More comfort and longer lasting shoes? Insoles are a win-win for fallen arches.
Usually a low-arch insole is most appropriate for flat feet. For some people with flat but very flexible feet, higher arch supports provide additional comfort. Don’t hesitate to try insoles with higher arches to find the right level of comfort. Tread Labs provides insoles in 4 different arch heights. If they don’t help your fallen arches, with our 30-day fit guarantee you can send them back for a full refund. For most people with fallen arches, arch-supporting insoles like the ones we make at Tread Labs are a great solution.