Only those with flat feet need arch support?

Personally, I wear a pair of arch support insole in my casual shoes.  And I wear it in my daily life and work.  Walking quickly to catch the clock-in, running in the park, jumping during exercise,  and so on.  But my feet are neutral, as a matter of fact. My friends are curious about that.  So only people with flat feet need arch-supports or foot orthotics?

According to podiatrists, that is a misconception. And let’s find out why.
Basically, we need to understand the two functions of foot orthotics
1.  Stabilize foot alignment (the correct positions of the foot bones)
2. Restore foot biomechanics (the foot motions)

When we walk or run, there is a sequence of foot motions involved.  Ideally, the foot pronates (that is, rolls inwards) with the arch flattening to absorb the shock when it lands on the ground for every step. And then the foot rolls back towards the center (neutral position) when the next step begins. That allows you to push off evenly from your toes.  However, when it comes to flat feet, the feet are like to roll inwards too much landing on the ground.  That is called over-pronation.  This foot condition leads to the fact that the foot doesn’t roll back to the neutral position for the next step. This misaligned foot-fall affects the position of the lower leg, the knee, thigh, and hip so that the force of your foot-fall is not absorbed in the best possible way. In that case, your lower back could stand more strain than it should, resulting in back pain.

There are also other reasons: wrong stride or gait, improper footwear, muscle imbalances in the leg not helping the foot to return to neutral quickly enough, or even over-training where the muscles in the foot are exhausted and are unable to function properly, as well as a disorder of the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is the thick connective tissue (aponeurosis) that supports the arch on the bottom (plantar side) of the foot. It runs from the tuberosity of the calcaneus (heel bone) forward to the heads of the metatarsal bones (the bone between each toe and the bones of the mid-foot). A common prescription for plantar fasciitis is arch support.

To check if there are flat feet or low arch, the easiest way is the wet footprint test. However, it does not necessarily indicate that you have normal foot motion or foot biomechanics. So further assessment or gait analysis is strongly suggested to determine your foot conditions. Another option is to wear a pair of insoles with arch support for daily footcare. Usually such types of insoles provides not only necessary and adequate arch support, but also extra cushioning and comfort. And that is the answer to my friends asking the question.

Finally, I am recommending the insoles I wear for your reference.

Forefoot patterns for massaging
Arch support for daily life, also good for sports activities



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