Studies show that less than 20% of the total world’s population has flat feet or fallen arches, although this is actually quite a high percentage. For some, this condition may not be a problem but in many cases, flat feet can be a major contributory factor leading to a wide range of foot problems. The pain is especially common among women who sacrifice wearing comfortable and supportive shoes in favor of fashion. Unsurprisingly, since fallen arches are a common problem, there have been a range of products developed to offer correction and to restore foot function.
Arch supports are one of the most common corrective devices used. Supports come in the form of devices which can be inserted to the shoes which give the arches the extra support they need, whilst also correcting foot function to varying degrees. Primarily, arch supports work by providing proper stability whilst standing, walking or running. This is because when you walk, the arches of the feet collapse in response to the weight of the body. As a result, your foot muscles are subjected to increased pressures and stresses. With the use of arch supports, however, the arch drop is controlled as they are kept in a stable position, thus relieving the feet from stress and pain and restoring foot function to that of someone with a normal foot arch.Insoles and supports are available in different forms and sizes, depending on your preferred footwear.
Listed below are some of the widely used arch supports for flat feet:
Sports Arch Supports
These insoles are well suited to high impact sports, and feature a heel cushion to help reduce fatigue and improve shock absorption. Specifically, there are arch supports designed for runners, soccer players, court players, skaters, skiers, and golfers. The insoles designed for runners are engineered to help achieve greater motion control. Those for the soccer players, on the other hand, are designed to protect their feet against pressure and provide moderate biomechanical control. Meanwhile, the arch supports made for court players are designed to support better dorsiflexion in the ankles.
Dress Arch Supports
Designed specifically for fashion shoes, dress arch supports are commonly used by women who fancy wearing high heels or for men who need insoles to fit in tight and narrow dress shoes. These insoles are narrower and thinner than standard insoles, and as such will offer less support. However the shape is perfect for fitting into restrictive footwear, and will allow for continuous correction when used with conventional arch support insoles for standard shoes and sneakers.
Casual Arch Supports
These are the best bet for everyday wear, and one pair of insoles should be all that is needed for most footwear types. They can be trimmed to size, and can be slipped into most shoes comfortably. IF shoes are a little tight, the original insole can be removed for a better fit, without compromising support.
Work Arch Supports
This type is specifically designed for work shoes and when a full day on the feet is the order of the day. They work by correcting the alignment of the feet, and give extra support and cushioning. They are designed to fit more comfortably into slightly restrictive work shoes, and smarter shoe styles. Whilst excellent for anyone with fallen arches, anyone can benefit from the extra cushioning and support they provide, and are especially good for anyone who has tired feet at the end of the day.
Custom Arch Supports
Custom orthotic insoles are designed to provide customized support to the feet and will give maximum protection. They will correct the gait and prevent excessive pronation, which is one of the primary causes of fallen arches. Custom insoles tend to be more expensive as they are designed from scratch to match the exact shape of the foot, usually made from a custom mold of the feet, or sometimes from a standard template which is then molded to fit. They tend to be more rigid than standard insoles, and are more of a corrective device than one which just adds comfort wherever you walk.