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What you need to know about different types of arches

Knowing how to choose proper footwear and foot accessories will serve the needs of your foot and keep you comfortable. The three main types of arches that people deal with are flat, high, and medium (neutral).

So, what is a neutral arch?

The arch of your foot is a collection of tendons, bones, and muscle between the ball of your foot and the heel. It supports the weight of your body and absorbs impact when walking or running.

When standing straight, a neutral arch will slightly pronate, allowing your ankles, knees, and hips to align properly more easily. This type of arch may not require much support, but as you age, it can begin to collapse if you haven’t taken care of it over the years.

An insole designed to support medium arches can maintain the form of your foot for years to come.

How do you know if you have high arches?

A foot with a high arch, sometimes called a Cavus foot, puts more of your weight on the ball and heel of your foot. Your body may be accustomed to this, but some activities can be painful as impact isn’t spread evenly across your foot. If you’ve had a neutral arch for most of your life and develop a high arch later, you may not be able to adapt to it as well.

High arches can cause your stance to supinate, or rotate outwards, and affect your hips, knees, and ankles. Most people can perform activities without trouble if they use orthopedic insoles tailored to a high arched foot.

What occurs if you have flat feet?

When you stand straight and the entirety of your foot touches the ground or is close to touching the ground, you have flat feet (low arches). Some people are born with flat feet and experience fewer problems from them, but others develop flat feet later in life. Flat feet can cause you to over-pronate in your stance, making your ankles and knees rotate inwards, which may lead to problems in the future.

Again, a common and reliable treatment for pain or problems from flat feet is to use an orthopedic insole designed to support low arches.

If your arch is causing too severe a problem or a lot of pain, then orthopedics may not be enough. In rare cases, your podiatrist may recommend surgery to repair your arch and improve your stance.

Do you have any questions about your arches? Are you experiencing pain or discomfort in the arch of your foot? Call Kansas City Foot Specialists to schedule an evaluation at (913) 338-4440, or request an appointment online so we can work with you to keep your feet healthy.