Humans are distinct from other animals in having an organised thought process, deep insight of feelings and their expression, well-developed communication skills and a bipedal locomotion. Having a bipedal locomotion has its quirks, having to support the whole body’s weight on two feet instead of four. Interestingly, the human body has adapted to this by making some unique adjustments to the shape and contour of the feet. The arches of the feet are a consequence of this evolutionary adaptation.
The arches of the feet are one of the many marvels of the human body. The foot arches help in supporting the immense weight of the body. By maintaining the arches of the feet, the weight of the body is dissipated and distributed evenly to support it fully against gravity and without undue stress.
What happens when the arches are Flattened or Exaggerated?
The obvious flattening of arches of the feet results in a clinical condition, commonly known as Flat Feet, or more technically known as Pes planus. On the other hand, increased curvature of the arches results in high-arch feet, high instep, cavoid foot or technically speaking, Pes cavus and Talipes cavus. It is somewhat less common than flat foot.
Both conditions pose a significant risk of fracture of the feet bones and plantar fasciitis, not being able to dissipate the weight of the body evenly or adequately. Often, such a biomechanical mal-alignment or lack of stability in the foot region can cause disproportionate pressure on the tissues of the foot, heel, shin, knee, and back resulting in pain over the lower back, legs, ankle, feet and sometimes, stress fracture of bones of the feet.
How do you manage Flat Feet and Pes cavus?
There are several ways to manage these niggling issues of the feet. As a primary measure, a good pair of shoes lends support for a healthy pair of feet and also helps to avoid unnecessary pain and discomfort caused by ill-fitting shoes. However, when pain becomes persistent or severe, the first step is to reach a correct diagnosis so that definitive treatment strategies can be initiated without delay. Consulting a foot health specialist such as a podiatrist at this early stage would be a move in the right direction.
Various treatment modalities exist when it comes to managing diseases affecting the foot:
- Arch or metatarsal cushions: Cushions provide support and comfort, preventing callosities, bunion and corn from developing over the feet, which otherwise ensue from constant pressure over pressure points.
- Arch support insoles: They are most commonly used to provide comfort while maintaining the natural contours of the feet, thus preventing undue flattening or arching of the feet. Insoles are easy to insert, use and maintain.
- Orthotic arch supports: Orthotics are custom-made shoe inserts that correct gait problems, provide foot support, relieve pressure on painful areas of the foot, and provide motion control. Orthotics is best prescribed by a medical doctor, a podiatrist, or a chiropractor. They come in a variety of sizes and shapes for various foot problems. Orthotics tend to become an expensive affair. Their cost varies from a couple of hundreds to thousands of dollars for a pair.
- Orthotic shoes: Specially designed shoes are commonly used to correct foot problems, particularly to correct unequal length and for functional comfort.
- Surgery: Invasive surgery requiring exploration and remodelling to correct permanent foot abnormalities are considered only when it cannot be corrected by other modalities such as orthotics, physiotherapy and medications.
When to use Arch Support for your feet?
Pain is a relatively good indicator for evaluating severity of all kinds of diseases, including foot diseases. When foot pain is not relieved by rest, by adopting healthy foot habits or by adjusting footwear, it is an indicator that it needs therapy and a foot specialist.
An arch support is a piece of material that is specially designed to provide support for the arch of the foot. Arch supports are readily available, simple to use and of course are the most cost effective means of therapy. It is always a good practice to consult a foot specialist before starting to use arch support as they can easily worsen the symptoms if not properly chosen.
The benefits of arch support insoles cannot be undermined by their utter simplicity or by mere appearance. They are the key to providing comfort and preventing undue strain on the bones and muscles of the feet, while also catering to provide support for the legs and lower back.
Shoes of the right size and type can be beneficial for mild pains and strains. Finding the right pair of shoes for your feet can be difficult, especially when you require one with arch support. Nowadays, you can easily order arch support shoes online that will suit your needs and be delivered right at your doorsteps.
[box type=”note”]Remember, if pain persists despite correcting your shoe sizes, shoe types and foot habits, consult your foot specialist.[/box]