According to some sources, over 75% of the American population experience problems with their feet at some point in their lives. Thanks for supporting the body’s weight, enduring injuries like sprains, and wearing shoes, it is essential to have the right heel and arch support.
Plantar fasciitis is a common ailment that impacts millions of people, with over 3 million cases in the United States alone. It is one of the most typical reasons that people experience intense heel pain, due to inflammation of tissues.
Jobs that require standing for long periods, overextension because of sports activities and inadequately supportive shoes can lead to developing pain in the arch of the foot.
The use of orthotic devices, such as insoles or pads, have been used as a source of support for the arch and the heel of the foot.
When selecting footwear, it is essential to choose shoes that are comfortable, allow your feet to breathe, and provide adequate support. Footwear with excellent heel and arch support reduce pain, stress, and help alleviate chronic distress for the arch and heel.
Factors That Contribute to Pain In The Arch and Heel of Feet Include:
- Standing or walking for extensive periods
- Wearing flat shoes when feet have high arches
- Wearing high heel shoes that throw off balance and create unnatural posture
- Wearing shoes that do not have enough padding or support for heel or arch
- Shoes that stress out the arch and heel, creating overcompensation while walking or standing
Following the whims of fashion, physical anatomy, work conditions, and recreational activities influence the type of footwear worn, and the resulting impact on feet.
Choosing Additional Support For Feet
When selecting a form of support for the feet, you want to know the properties of the implement used, and how it best serves supporting your foot’s specific needs.
Sufferers of plantar fasciitis may best benefit from placing a heel cup inside their shoe and avoiding wearing platform shoes, which may further stress joints and tendons.
Anyone who is dealing with arch fatigue, or frequently incurs pain radiating from the arch of the foot or forefront may want to choose an orthotic insole, made from memory gel foam. Insoles are helpful because they can be cut down to size, offering a more custom fit.
Memory foam insoles are often constructed to improve air circulation, have a thick layer of cushion, and do not readily flatten out over extensive use.
Some conditions such as bunions, stubborn corns, or chronic inflammation may require a surgical procedure.
Typical Ailments of the Foot and Arch Include:
- Often experiencing chronic pain in the big toe
- Fatigued arches or general soreness in the arch that radiates
- Metatarsalgia, or discomfort in the forefoot
- Plantar Fasciitis, or heel pain
Solutions for Pain and Supporting the Arch and Heel
When it comes to solving foot pain and giving the arch and heel the support that it needs, there are various options available. In some instances, corrective surgery may be the only thing that can alleviate chronic pain.
Usually, an adjustment in the type of shoes worn, taking over-the-counter medication, and taking some rehabilitative measures helps the foot to recover. Making sure to engage in lifestyle choices that support healthy feet, and using orthotic devices have proven successful.
Pain management solutions for arch and heel pain may escalate to needing corrective surgical procedures. However, there are many non-surgical options to assist the arch and heel, efficiently reducing pain and improving support.
Over-the-counter medications can be taken to help reduce any swelling of the tendons or tissues of the feet. Specific exercises can be done to improve dexterity, recovery rate from injury, and enhance the foot’s ability to withstand stress and pressure.
Insoles or heel cups placed inside shoes, help absorb shock from walking or running. Insoles may be made from materials like memory foam, or gel, offering the foot a much-needed added layer of cushion.
Wrapping and elevating the foot and ankle at night may prove helpful. Applying pressure to specific points of foot help compress inflamed areas, and offer pain relief. Raising the lower limbs at night above the heart level, can help taper of excessive swelling, and promote healthier blood circulation.
Overall, if shoes lack proper arch and heel support, the risk of incurring pain and injury increase. When choosing footwear, people need to consider if their feet are flat, or where they put the most pressure on their feet. Improper gait, ineffective shoes that lack enough cushion for shock absorption, and overextension of the feet from standing for long periods can be taxing.
Common Methods to Alleviate Arch and Heel Pain
The foot takes on a lot of weight and pressure as we walk, run, jump, or stand in place. When the arch and heel are not supported enough by our footwear, it can lead to inflammation, pain, strains, and even require surgery.
These methods may be helpful in treating and reducing pain in the heel and arch of the foot:
- Wrapping the foot in affected areas using compression therapy
- Application of hot or cold compresses to reduce swelling and alleviate pain
- Insertion of a heel cup or insole that adds a layer of support for the foot and absorbs shock
- Surgical procedures to correct anomalies in anatomy from injury or improper footwear
- Taking over-the-counter medication to reduce symptoms
- Switching the type of footwear worn at work, or reducing the time spent on one’s feet
Structure of the Human Foot and Shoes
The human foot is made up of over 26 bones, and hundreds of tendons, ligaments, and muscles which work together in a coordinated effort to keep us balanced and moving. As bipedal creatures, the arch of the foot is capable of bearing anywhere from 200,000 to 300,000 pounds of stress for every mile that we walk.
The height of one’s arch may vary depending on age, genetics, and medical conditions. Pregnancy, arthritis, being overweight, and muscular-skeletal problems can all contribute to changes in the foot’s arch.
Shoes can cause the foot to overextend its limits, leading to pronation of the foot as a result of the knee or hip being out of alignment. Shoes that are not supportive can also lead to the foot excessively rotating, increasing the risk of an injury to the ankle, Achilles tendon, heel pain, or shin splints.
Wearing the right type of shoe that offers sufficient support for the arch and heel is necessary. Choosing to forego wearing footwear that is supportive of the arch and heel, risks possible injuries and damage to tendons, ligaments, and alignment.
Choose the Best Shoes to Wear for Arch and Heel Support
Your feet deserve to be well protected from the elements, shock absorption and allow you to walk or run comfortably. Sacrificing foot health for the sake of fashion can be quite foolish and costly, requiring expensive corrective surgery, or leading to a lifetime of wearing more sensible shoes.
It is essential to do a self-assessment of your feet, so you know if you have a high arch, flat feet, and how your feet may be impacting your life. When in doubt, it is best to visit a certified and licensed podiatrist to survey your feet for the factors that are causing pain.
It may be best to avoid wearing flat shoes that offer little to no support for the arch, or lack shock absorption for extended periods. When standing on your feet all day, or running, it is best to select shoes with a moderate amount of cushion for shock absorption. Plus, it pays to throw in a pair of insoles made from memory foam, or gel to cushion and protect your feet.
It is better to avoid wearing high-heel shoes for extended periods when you need to be active and on your feet. High-heel or platform shoes can contribute to over extension and overcompensation of the foot’s arch, tendons, and heel.
When your feet are placed in an abnormal position while walking or running, your body will seek to correct itself at the cost of your posture and gait. Your feet may take on more pressure in an area they usually wouldn’t, exacerbating inflammation, tenderness, redness, and causing sores.
Shoes with quality arch support should stabilize the foot, lessening the chance of arch collapse, and reduce overpronation or rotation of the foot. People who have very low or high arches may want to choose orthotic inserts, which are best determined by a podiatrist via a professional medical assessment.
There are many practical and inexpensive solutions available to enhance the cushion and support of your feet while wearing shoes. Making sure that your footwear keeps your body in healthy alignment, absorb shock, and support the unique shape of your foot is essential to your health.
Pamper your feet and choose shoes and implements that will help cushion and support your feet. There’s nothing attractive or fun about living with fallen arches, plantar fasciitis, or needing corrective surgery to walk normally and without chronic pain.