Fallen arches can be very painful, so for people suffering from them, finding ways to reduce pain and fatigue is important. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid the unnecessary pain of fallen arches, including adding insoles to your footwear. While insoles won't cure fallen arches, they will provide the support your arches need to ease your foot pain.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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 practicing 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.
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:
If fallen arches are a long-term problem, there are some other treatments to consider, including:
For most of these options, consulting a doctor is appropriate. However, an easier, less expensive option is to find proper shoes and insoles for fallen arches. Proper arch support for flat feet can provide the necessary support and relieve pain and discomfort.
Arch support insoles 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.
For some, custom orthotics are the best shoe inserts for flat feet. 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-weight-bearing imprints of your feet and make the orthotics on-site. Any adjustments or corrections will be easy and successful.
Better quality, non-custom flat foot insoles can also provide relief. They are considerably less expensive ($50 - $100) and work well if they provide adequate support. The key is firm support that matches the contours of your arches.
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 fallen arches support insoles will provide structure not simply cushion and comfort.
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 model is the best insole 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. Your feet will thank you for the effort.
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Mark has always believed exceptional footwear can change lives. He's been in the footwear industry for over 30 years, working with podiatrists, pedorthists, foot care experts, and footwear makers. Mark started Chaco sandals in 1989 and developed a game-changing sport sandal that delivered comfort and durability. After Chaco sold in 2009, Mark ultimately started Tread Labs to continue transforming people's footwear so they can walk better, feel better, live better.
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