Your feet absorb an incredible amount of pressure each day. It’s estimated that the arches of your feet have to absorb anywhere from 200,000-300,000 pounds for every mile you walk.1 So it’s no wonder that sometimes your arches need a little help. That’s where an arch support comes in.
Why an Arch Support is Important
Your arches contain tendons, bones, and ligaments. Any or all of them can suffer some sort of problem that will require an arch support.
Sometimes, shoes just don’t provide enough support on their own.
When this happens, you will be susceptible to pain that can make it difficult to walk or even stand. A well-made arch support will help give you a firm foundation and help relieve foot discomfort. If you suffer from fallen arches, or if you have heel pain, better arch support could make a major difference.
Here are a few of the common conditions that might benefit from a good arch support:
Also known as “flat foot,” fallen arches occur when your arches collapse to the point where the sole of your foot actually contacts the ground. Although this condition doesn’t necessarily lead to pain in all cases, some people experience serious discomfort.2
Collapsing of the arch is also known as “overpronation.” A certain amount of pronation, or inward rotation of the bones in your feet, is normal. Your foot naturally moves from side to side when you walk or run. If you have overpronation, however, your foot rolls too far inward when you stand. This can lead to injuries.3
This is the opposite of fallen arches. If you have cavus foot, your arches are abnormally high. This puts too much weight on the heel and ball of your foot, leading to instability as well as significant discomfort. In fact, the instability could make your heels point inward, making you susceptible to a sprained ankle.4
Charcot foot is often associated with neuropathy or nerve damage. It results in weakened bones in the foot that are at a higher risk of fracture. You may also have weakened tendons and joints in your foot.5
How to Choose the Right Arch Support
If you are suffering from heel pain, or any other foot problem, it’s time for a visit to a podiatrist. They may recommend a custom-made arch support, or they might say you’ll be fine simply buying a support at your nearest drug store. They’ll know the type of insole that will be best for your feet.
If you buy an over-the-counter support, you need to choose one that fits your activity level. One type of support might work better for someone who stands on their feet all day, for instance. Another may be the better choice for someone who runs on a regular basis.
Bring the shoes you plan on wearing when using the supports, and make sure they fit the shape of the shoe. If possible, try the supports on when you’re in the store. Put them in your shoes and walk around to see how they feel. If the store doesn’t allow you to do so, make sure you keep your receipt in case you need to return them.6
Signs You Need New Arch Supports
Whether you receive custom-made supports, or you buy them from a store, you’ll need to be alert to the signs that you might need new ones.
Even the best arch supports won’t last forever and will need to be replaced.
Check them on a regular basis to make sure they’re still fitting properly. If you see any damage to the supports, or you notice uneven shoe wear, those are indications that you might need a change. Even if the supports seem fine, you should still visit your podiatrist every few months to make sure they are still working as they should.7
The Last Word
The right arch support can make a major difference if you’re suffering from any sort of foot discomfort, including heel pain. But you need to make sure you get the right arch support for your needs, and check them regularly to make sure they’re working properly. Once you find the right “fit,” your feet will thank you!