Our feet bear the weight of our bodies and endure constant stress throughout the day. It's no wonder that foot pain is a common complaint among many individuals. Yet, many often overlook the importance of proper arch support in maintaining foot health.
What your arches do for you?
Your arches are crucial for proper foot mechanics and overall alignment. As you move, they are needed for absorbing shock, distributing weight, and providing stability. When you walk or run, they cushion the impact generated by your body. Without them, these impact forces would be transmitted directly to the bones and joints of your legs. Your arches also play a role in propulsion. They store and release energy, allowing you to push off and move efficiently.
Consequences of subpar arch support
When the feet roll inwards too much due to a lack of support, a phenomenon known as overpronation takes place. Overpronation causes the arches to collapse, leading to undue pressure and strain on surrounding joints and ligaments. Of particular concern is the plantar fascia, a band of connective tissue that is especially vulnerable with a fallen arch. Prolonged strain on the plantar fascia can result in inflammation and encourage a common condition known as plantar fasciitis.
Collapsed arches are also known as flat feet. Individuals with flat feet can possess varying symptoms. Some may not experience any discomfort at all while others may develop foot pain, swelling, or fatigue. Over time, other issues may arise, including Achilles tendonitis, shin splints, and bunions.
How can we support our arches?
While flat feet cannot be reversed completely, there are several treatment options that can help to relieve pain and improve foot function. One of the most effective ways is by wearing orthotics.
Orthotics are specialized shoe inserts that provide stability, improve alignment, and offer added cushioning to the feet. They come in many shapes, sizes, and designs to accommodate different foot types and conditions. Some are pre-made (off the shelf) while others are custom made based on an individual's specific foot measurements and needs. By supporting the arches, orthotics help to distribute weight more evenly across the foot. They have been proven to be beneficial for individuals with flat feet, high arches, and biomechanical imbalances.
In addition to orthotics, physical therapy exercises can also be used to strengthen the leg's muscles and minimize fatigue. We recommend consulting with a physical therapist or podiatrist who can develop a tailored exercise plan. They can also teach you how to properly do these exercises and improve flexibility. Consider incorporating these exercises before heading to work. Just like athletes warm up before an event, stretching prepares our muscles for the day ahead.
You get what you put in
Everyone's journey towards foot health is unique. It is also a process that takes time and consistency. Be patient and persistent in following the recommended practices and seek professional help when necessary. By prioritizing these practices and taking the steps to ensure you have the right amount of arch support, you can achieve greater comfort each day and enjoy an active and pain-free life.
Have some more questions?
Comment below if you want to learn more about arch pain, arch support, and arch support inserts. Our team at ergonx.com.au are ready to help!