Did you know that approximately 20% of all people suffer from high-arched feet? A footprint impression of a neutral-arched foot shows pressure and impact distributed almost evenly across the heel, arch, and ball-of-foot. A footprint of a high-arched foot, by contrast, shows almost all of the pressure and impact in the heel and ball-of-foot (the arch barely shows up at all!) Because more pressure and shock are consistently placed on the heel and ball-of-foot, these areas will often feel sore. High-arched feet may tend to feel stiff and tight, especially throughout the arch. While a foot soak in a hot bath of Epson salts may be a nice short-term solution, a long-term solution is needed to prevent the pain from returning over and over again.
How do I know if I have high arches?
There’s a simple test you can do at home to determine your arch type. It’s called the “Wet Test,” and it’s simple.
- Find a piece of cardboard large enough to accommodate your foot. Your foot should fit heel-to-toe on the cardboard without hanging off. Make sure the cardboard is wide enough, too!
- Take a large, shallow bin/tub and fill it with room-temperature water.
- Place your piece of cardboard next to the water bin. Place a foot in the tub so that the entire bottom of your foot is wet.
- Now step on the cardboard piece with your wet foot. Place normal pressure on the foot, and then remove your foot from the cardboard.
- Examine the footprint that is left on the cardboard. Compare it to the footprint outlines for low/flat feet, neutral arches, and high arches to determine which is most similar to yours!
It’s true that heel pain and ball-of-foot pain are the two most common pain symptoms for those with high arches. However, high arches can also lead to several other medical conditions and symptoms:
- Ankle Instability
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Foot Rigidity
- Pes Cavus (Claw Foot)
- Fat Pad Atrophy
The simple fact of the matter is that heel and ball-of-foot pain are just the start. Continual strain on the arch of the foot could cause tearing of the plantar fascia, which results in Plantar Fasciitis. Further shock to the heel beyond what is already being done could result in fat pad atrophy, increasing heel pain even further. Callouses often form quickly on the heel and ball-of-foot. Often feet will feel stiff and rigid, too.
It’s best to stop the pain and address the cause as early as possible so that it doesn’t reach this point.
How do I prevent pain and injury from high arches?
Make sure your arch is supported. Wear shoes that provide good arch support for your feet to help distribute pressure and shock across the entire foot. If your shoes do not provide this level of support already, consider using an orthotic arch support in your shoes to supplement the amount of support your foot receives.
If you often wear sandals, consider investing in a pair of orthotic sandals to wear during summer. Most sandals are flat and have no arch support, leaving your feet vulnerable to pain and injury. Shoe insoles typically do not work with sandals, but orthotic sandals feature a built-in arch support and biomechanical footbed to keep the foot properly supported and aligned. Similarly, consider investing in orthotic slippers for around-the-house wear. Orthotic footwear will ensure that you always get proper foot support for your feet.
What features should I look for in a pair of high arch orthotic arch supports?
High-arched orthotics provide a proper foundation for the foot, helping to evenly distribute weight and pressure across the entire foot (instead of just the heel and ball-of-foot). High-arched insoles also assist with impact shock absorption, particularly in the heel and ball-of-foot. Orthotic inserts will help properly align the feet, ankles, knees, and hips to ease joint stress and lower back pain, too.
When looking to purchase a new pair of orthotic arch supports, first ensure that they are suitable for your arch type. Some insoles, like the Sof Sole FIT Insoles, come in low, neutral, and high-arched variations, making it easy to find the one you need. Other orthotic arch supports, like the Sorbothane Ultra Graphite High Arch Insoles or the Pedag Viva High Arch Insoles, are specifically designed with high-arched feet in mind. Others still might be suitable for a range of arch types; the Spenco Full-Length Orthotic Arch Supports, for example, will work for all arch types (low, neutral, and high). Note that that you don’t necessarily want to feel the arch of the insole fully against the arch of your foot. Leaving some room for flex and natural pronation is important. However, for very high arches,
A good high arch orthotic arch support will also have plenty of padding at the heel and ball-of-foot. This will help with shock absorption to relieve impact shock for the heel and ball-of-foot. The Sorbothane Ultra Graphite High Arch Insoles are a good example of what to look for, as they feature above average cushioning with a gel pad at both the heel and ball-of-foot for this purpose.
Beyond the arch type and heel/ball-of-foot padding, most other characteristics are personal preference. Here are some things to consider:
- Amount of cushioning: More cushioning will relieve more stress on the foot, but the insole will take up more volume in your footwear.
- Level of support: A rigid arch support will prevent any flex in the arch of the insole. A cushioned arch will provide a cushion for your arch, but no firm support. A semi-rigid arch support will provide firm support but also allow for some flex.
- Length: A full-length insole is typically recommended to replace your existing shoe insole. However, in instances where your footwear does not have a removable insole, a 3/4-length insole would be more appropriate.
Where to buy insoles for high arches?
Come visit us at TheInsoleStore.com. We have the largest selection of insoles for your convenience and friendly, helpful Product Specialists available to help you find the insole that’s best for you. Get started on our High Arch Insoles page, or send us a message and we’ll help you choose the insole you need!