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Insoles for Flat Feet – Support the Arch, Relieve the Pain

Insoles for Flat Feet

Insoles for Flat Feet – Support the Arch, Relieve the Pain

The arches of our feet help us move efficiently throughout the day. By allowing the middle part of the foot to spread and close, they add springiness and flexibility to our gait. Whether when walking, jumping, or running, the arches absorb the physical shock of landing, and they evenly distribute body weight over the entire foot. They also help you to push off your foot during your stride. Without your arches, it would be difficult to balance when standing or moving.

Supporting your arches is crucial to preventing foot pain and injuries. No matter the arch height, insoles and proper footwear are necessary. For people with flat feet – or when the entire bottom of the foot touches the ground when standing – it can be tricky finding the perfect amount of arch support. But flat feet can cause foot pain and abnormal strides. Supporting the arch is crucial in preventing pain.

What are the best insoles for flat feet? This page will provide the ins and outs of flat feet, and how to find the best insole for your arch, no matter the height.

What Are Flat Feet? What Causes Them?

Flat feet (pes planus) occurs when the entire bottom of your foot (the sole) touches the ground when you’re standing.

Flat feet often occur when your arches don’t develop properly during childhood. As babies, we all have flat feet. During the course of normal childhood development, our arches form. But sometimes our foot's muscles, bones, and ligaments don't develop adequately, and they don't acquire a stable arch. This is often due to genetics, as flat feet run in families.

Environmental factors can also lead to flat feet. Acquired flat foot (or fallen arches) is when you develop flat feet later in life. Some causes include:

Injuries Related to Flat Feet

Whether you have flat feet naturally or fallen arches because of an injury or other condition, both can cause many of the same injuries and problems. Flat feet can lead to:

Strengthen and Stretch – Relieve Pain in Flat Feet

If you have foot pain and flat feet, there are two steps you should follow.

1. Strengthen and stretch the foot

A weak "foot core" (intrinsic muscles of the foot) can lead to instability and injury. While we often focus on the big extrinsic muscles that support the ankle and foot (these generate most of the foot's motion), there are actually 11 small intrinsic muscles located entirely in the foot. These stabilize our foot during strike and push-off. They absorb load and store energy mid-stance. Most importantly, these muscles support the arch of the foot. Strengthening these muscles will allow them to better support the arch.
Heel raises will strengthen the ankle and calf muscles that you just stretched. Stand in the middle of the room and press all of your toes firmly into the floor. Lift both your heels up so all your weight is on your toes. Hold for two seconds and repeat. Two two sets of 15 repetitions.

2. Stretch the calves and ankle

Tight calves and achilles tendon pulls up on the ankle, forcing the foot to pronate, or roll inwards. This, in turn, causes the arch to collapse. Stretching the calves and heel cords are important to prevent fallen arches.

Long-Term Support – Insoles for Flat Feet

Stretching and strengthening the arch and calves will help relieve the pain associated with flat feet. But finding supportive insoles for flat feet will provide the long-term arch support your feet really need.

Some people think: "My arches are so low. I should only provide the minimal amount of support or it will cause them to become sore." Others say: “I have flat feet, so wouldn’t I want more supportive insole to make up for low arches?" The answers to both these questions is a frustrating yes. The key to finding the right arch support for people with flat feet lies with the individual. Every person has specific needs.

However, the best insole for flat feet will have strong arch support no matter the height. Soft, cushioned inserts might seem like the best insoles for flat feet. But what your feet really need is structural support. Soft, cushioned insoles will provide temporary relief. But they won't support the arches.

The best insoles for flat feet will fully support your arch and stabilize your heel to concentrate the fatty pad underneath your heel bone. This will both prevent overpronation and provide firm support. Typically, the best insoles for flat feet will have a low but supportive arch. However, you should try different heights to determine which one will adequately support your feet.

Remember, people with flat feet should not wear shoes without support (or that don't let you add insoles). High heels, flip-flops, and sandals can aggravate pain associated with flat feet. Supporting the arch with a structurally sound insole will do wonders for supporting the foot and relieving pain.