Know Your Arches

Tuesday, 4 August 2015  |  John

Your arches are one of the most important parts of your feet. They are the space on the inner part of your foot and are one of the areas that are subjected to the most pressure. They make it possible for your feet to maintain your body weight and also shift the energy your feet absorb while walking, running, jumping and doing any sort of activity.

Because they are such an important part of how your body works, it’s important that you get to know them as well as possible.

Types of Arches

If there’s something wrong with your arches, it’s probably going to be due to having high arches or low arches.

High arches (also known as pes cavus) are when the arch of your foot is too high. This can be easily seen if your feet are shorter than normal and they are higher than they should be. This can cause pain in the ball and heel of your foot, and can cause strain on the arches. 

Visit Our Pes Cavus Page for More Dedicated Pes Cavus Insoles

For some people with high arches, it can be difficult to find shoes that fit properly because of the changes to the shape of your foot it causes.
High arches are most commonly caused by genetics but they can also be caused by underlying conditions such as Charcot Marie Tooth disease and disorders such as cerebral palsy.

Low arches (also known as flat feet or collapsed arches) are the opposite: when the arch is lower than it should be. These are much more common than high arches and for most people don’t cause much of a problem. 

They can be inherited genetically, can come from an abnormality developed in the womb, or can develop later in life by a condition like arthritis which affects the joints. Low arches can cause pain in the inside of your ankle, the foot arch, the outside of your foot, the calf and even the knee, hip and back.

Pronation and Supination

One of the biggest problems high and low arches can cause is supination and pronation. Because of the different shapes of the arch, the foot can roll inwards or outwards more than it should.

Pronation is the rolling of the foot inward as you walk or run. Because weight needs to shift to the big toe, which can take more than the smaller toes, this is a perfectly normal part of how you move.

However, low arches commonly causes over-pronation; the foot rolls too far inwards. This stretches tendons more than they should be, and can cause conditions like plantar fasciitis to develop.

High arches, on the other hand, can cause supination. This is the foot rolling outwards instead of inwards, and is not a normal part of walking or running. This leads to a greater chance of ankle sprains as it is easier for your ankle to twist more than it should. This can also cause plantar fasciitis to develop.

Measuring Your Arches: The Wet Test

If you’re unsure what kind of insoles you have, there’s an easy test you can take at home - the Wet Test:

  1. Wet the bottom of your feet. Ensure the whole sole is completely covered in water.
  2. Place your feet on a normally dry surface such as a newspaper or pavement.

Check the footprint.  If you can see the toes, ball, heel and outside of your foot, then your arches are probably OK.

Visit our Flat Feet Category to See More Insoles for Flat Feet

However, if you can see the entirety of the sole of your foot, then there’s a chance you have low arches. And conversely, if you can’t see any part of the middle of your foot, just the toes, balls and heel, then there’s a chance you have high arches.

If you find that you may have high or low arches, you should visit a foot specialist who may suggest shoe insoles for your arches. By supporting the arch and more evenly distributing the weight and pressure of the foot, a shoe insole can help relieve the pain and discomfort a high or low arch can bring.

If you’re interested in getting some shoe insoles to help with your high or low arches, head on over to Shoe Insoles and check out our ranges of Insoles for High Arches and Insoles for Collapsed Arches.

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