We’ve all heard the terms "flat feet" or "fallen arches". But what does having fallen arches actually mean? Contrary to the flat footed jokes you may have heard from your friends in school, having flat feet from fallen arches can cause weakness and pain throughout your body. This article will examine what fallen arches are, the causes of fallen arches, and solutions available to help with flat feet.
The Anatomy of Your Foot
Your foot is truly a powerhouse all on its own, containing one quarter of the bones in your entire body and made up of three main parts: The forefoot contains five toes and their connecting bones called metatarsals. The midfoot’s tarsal bones make up the arch, which serves as a shock absorber as you walk and run. The hindfoot has three primary joints that connect the midfoot to the ankle and two long bones that form a hinge that allows your forefoot and midfoot to move up and down. Within these three parts, your foot has over 100 muscles, tendons, and ligaments that support each other and work together to provide support and flexible motion. With such an intricate process as this, it only takes one singular abnormality to cause problems that are felt across the entire body. One such issue is fallen arches.
What Are Fallen Arches?
Remember how the midfoot makes up the arch in your foot? For someone who is flat footed, this arch does not exist. In a normal adult foot, tendons in the foot and lower leg act as tight bands that attach to the tarsal bones in the midfoot to create an upward curve, or “arch”. When the tendons are not pulling properly or acting as that tight band that connects with the bones, that upward curve disappears and the result is feet with fallen arches—flat feet.
This is caused from various issues like birth abnormalities, stretched or torn tendons, broken bones, nerve problems, and health conditions like rheumatoid arthritis. Fallen arches result in weakened tendons, ligaments, and muscles in your feet, hurt your posture, and lead to pain in your feet, legs, hips, and lower back.
How to Support Flat Arches
Flat feet can lead to more serious issues like shin splints, bunions, hammer toe, arthritis, and other conditions that can prevent you from walking, running, and participating in daily activities without discomfort and pain. Exercises for flat feet can help strengthen the tendons and ligaments and provide more arch support. There are also arch support insoles and products that can add the support and stability you lack with fallen arches:
Arch Support Insoles for Fallen Arches
Orthotic insoles aren’t a cure for flat feet, but they can help provide extra cushion and stability to help support your feet and lower body. The PowerStep Pinnacle Line of Insoles are designed with a firm but flexible support shell, built-in foot support and heel cradle for motion control. Most people with a neutral foot arch are going to get the most out of the Neutral Arch Pinnacle Insole, but we realize there are lots of folks with low arches and high arches too. We developed the Pinnacle Arch Series, which features three options of arch height: low, neutral, and high. When dealing with fallen arches, the PowerStep Pinnacle Low Arch Insole provides maximum cushioning and increased stability and comfort in any shoe you wear, tailored specifically for feet with fallen arches.
Further Arch Support for Flat Feet
If orthotic insoles aren’t enough, there are some other solutions that can help give you arch support. One such solution is PowerStep Arch Boosters. Arch boosters are latex foam pads that you can place inside your shoes, beneath the insole's arch support shell, to better support fallen arches. If the arches of your feet are completely gone and you’re extremely flat footed, arch boosters work alongside orthotic insoles to give the arch support some extra rigidity and add longevity to the arch support shell's life.
Fallen arches are detrimental to your feet and other parts of your body, and can negatively affect your day-to-day activities. Exercises focused on building arch support and leveraging arch support orthotic insoles and arch boosters can help improve flat feet and make it easier to walk, run, and go about your day more comfortably. As always, please consult with a specialist for more complete advice from someone who can have a look at your feet and give you the best options.