Orthotics are used to correct poor biomechanics of the feet, such as flat feet. Flat feet are commonly seen in the population. High foot arches are fairly rare but would be picked up by a physio or podiatrist.
Both high arches and flat feet can cause problems. Flat feet occur when there is not enough arch support in the foot and it starts to collapse providing insufficient support. High arches occur when there is too much of an arch and the foot becomes rigid and unable to give. In both situations, the foot is not being held in neutral and this causes abnormal load through the foot and lower limb and can lead to pain and inflammation. There is also the hidden complication of rotation of the foot caused by these conditions that can again lead to problems with pain.
Dropped Arches? Lack of arches in the feet means it has too little support and therefore supportive orthotics or shoes with arch support can provide a solution. Shoes here need to be very supportive and firm to give the feet support.
High arches??? The basic problem with high arched feet is that they are very rigid and do not produce enough shock absorption on landing because of their inability of the arch to flatten which is the normal function of the foot. High arches have too much support and are too rigid. Due to the fact that these type of feet are not commonly seen not a lot of research has been done into this specific area. Shoes needed here are those that offer little stability but lots of shock absorption. This may be in the form of gel, air or DMX. It should have a midsole flare, which helps with cushioning and was very common about 10-15 years ago but is not seen so often now. The shoe should also have a lack of torsion control. If you take a shoe by the toe and heel and twist in the majority of shoes this movement is minimal and that is what most people need, stability in a shoe. But those with high arches need a shoe with minimal support but lots of shock absorption. Shop for a shoe to suit your needs, e.g. Athletes foot where they are able to cater for people with high arches and flat feet.
Surface you are experiencing pain on: As well as adjusting your shoe, look at the surface that causes the pain. The harder the surface the more shock your foot has to take and the more pain and inflamed it may become. Grass and adjusted wooden floors are fairly good playing surfaces because of their ability to absorb stress. Another factor is weight. If you weight more than recommended, this can greatly increase the stress placed through your feet. Aim to stay at optimum weight or just below to ensure your feet endure your life journey. Physiotherapists assess feet and the biomechanics of the weightbearing style. Orthotics can be useful to address biomechanic factors although this may only be a temporary measure.
Finally if all this doesn’t help you may need to see a podiatrist or orthotist. They are the best people to be able to assess high arch issues. They may try to cushion your arch not for support but for absorption of shock and in order to maintain the foot in the neutral normal position for optimum performance. Flat feet, seen much more commonly are treated regularly through physiotherapy.
At Grange Physiotherapy we can analyse your feet through our digital gaitscan to gain additional information about your feet and fit orthotics specific to individual needs.