If you have high arches, you probably know it. But do you know the common foot problems you're more likely to end up with? If you have arches that don't touch the ground, there's one thing you can do to avoid these issues, and it's so easy you'll wonder why you're not already doing it.
The Basics ---
- High arches don't touch the ground when you stand evenly on both feet, concentrating your weight on your heels and the balls of your feet. That can lead to pain, corns and calluses, arch stiffness, and tight calf muscles.
- High arches usually run in families, but if you develop them over a short period of time, see a doctor.
- Properly supporting your high arches can help you avoid the common foot problems associated with them.
- For high arches, we recommend Tread Labs high and extra high arch supports. If you just need more comfortable footwear, check out Ramble Insoles. If you're dealing with plantar fasciitis or other foot pain, shop Pace Insoles, and if you're an athlete who needs superior energy return, look at Dash Insoles.
What You Need To Know ---
What Are High Arches?
High arches are exactly what they sound like. The arch of your foot is very pronounced and doesn't touch the ground when you stand evenly on both feet. This puts added pressure on the ball and heel of your foot.
You may have heard high arches referred to as "pes cavus," which means "hollow foot" in Latin. If you take the wet footprint test, you'll see why. The impression of your wet footprint is just your heel and the ball of your foot, with a mid-foot that doesn't leave a mark.
What Causes High Arches?
While most people who have high arches are born with them, there are some people who develop them over time. If you develop high arches later in life, or if only one of your arches becomes raised, it's time to see a doctor as it could be a symptom of a neurological disorder.
There are two main causes of high arches:
- Natural orthopedic shape/genetic – When high arches run in your family, they are the result of genetics. WebMD reports that high arch feet are inherited by 68% of women and 20% of men.
- Neuromuscular and neurological – When your high arches are caused by conditions such as Charcot Marie Tooth Syndrome, diabetes, stroke, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy or Parkinson's disease. High arches that are a result of a neuromuscular or neurological condition tend to be rigid and inflexible.
Why Do I Have Foot Arches?
The arches in your foot serve an important purpose - they help your foot and leg absorb shock, they stabilize your body when you're standing or moving, and they help you adapt to uneven surfaces. So, if you have high arches, some of these functions can be compromised, which can result in pain and injury.
Can High Arches Cause Back Pain, Shin Splints and Foot Pain?
Having high arches can ultimately lead to aches and pains in various parts of your body. This is because high arches put extra stress on your metatarsals, or midfoot bones, because your weight is concentrated on the ball of your foot. That can mean foot pain when standing, walking or running that, over time, can radiate to your ankle, knee, hip and back.
Besides body pain, high arches can lead to other issues including:
- Corns and calluses on the ball, side of the foot, or heel
- Arch inflexibility and stiffness
- Tight lower calf muscles
If you have high arches, you're more likely to supinate, or underpronate. As a supinator, your arches don't properly absorb the shock of walking/running and your foot doesn't sufficiently roll inward upon landing. In fact, a supinating foot has an inward motion of less than 15%, meaning most of your body weight lands on the outer edges of each foot. The wear patterns on the soles of your shoes can hint at this.
While high arches don't typically cause arch pain, supination can put too much pressure on the joints and muscles of your foot, ankle, and leg which will cause pain. Problems associated with supination include:
Severe supinators are prone to injuries like inversion ankle sprains, heel spurs and stress fractures. While supination and high arches aren't the same thing, supination is a common biomechanical irregularity for people with high arches.
All of the different issues that can arise from having high arches can be overwhelming, but there's something easy you can do to avoid them.
What Is The Treatment For High Arches?
The best thing you can do for high arches is properly support them. That means using insoles made for high arches. Insoles will relieve excessive pressure on the ball and heel of your foot by evenly distributing your body weight. That, in turn, will cushion the impact when you walk, run or jump.
Insoles for high arches also help to correct biomechanical irregularities, including supination. An insole's deep heel cup stabilizes your heel, concentrating the fatty pad underneath your heel bone and optimizing your foot's natural cushioning.
When you're buying insoles for high arches, the most important thing to look for is an arch that is high enough to match your arch. One-size-fits-all insoles and the ones you get from the drugstore will not work for you. And Superfeet insoles won't work well for high arches either as they're made for medial arches. Tread Labs offers insoles in high and extra-high arch so you can find the perfecy fit for your feet.
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