How Your Foot Arch Type Affects Your Life

Have you ever wondered why you are more prone to experiencing pain in certain parts of your feet compared to other people you know? Or perhaps you’re wondering why they always complain of foot pain while you don’t? 

Well, it’s probably because you don’t have the same arch type. There are many reasons why you experience foot pain. The most common causes of arch pain include plantar fasciitis, arthritis, sprain and strains, bunions, blisters and calluses, arch strain, claw toes, and metatarsalgia to name a few. Your likelihood of suffering from these problems can also depend on the arch type of your feet. 

The arch of your foot is also called your instep. It is the middle part of your foot that’s arched off the ground. The instep appears flat in young children and it usually develops as they grow older. Some, however, do not develop an arch. This can be attributed to conditions such as obesity and heredity. Sometimes athletes also need their ankles wrapped for increased stability in the short term.

Different Foot Types 

There are 3 types of foot, classified according to the height of your arch or instep. Your arch type can affect your feet’s size and shape. It can also affect your gait and the pressure distribution on the soles of your feet. 

1. Low Arched Foot 

A low arch is also known as a fallen arch or a flat foot. You have low arches if your feet press too close or almost flat on the ground. Low arches are very flexible so your feet tend to roll inwards (overpronate) too much. This can make your shoes wear out faster. 

Having a low arched foot can make you at risk of developing foot problems such as: 

Bunions: A bunion is a deformity at the base of the big toe. It affects the joint that connects the big toe to the foot. The big toe points or bends towards the other toes. As the condition worsens, you might begin to experience redness and pain in the affected joint. 

Overpronation: Pronation is the natural movement in which your foot rolls inwards when you’re walking or running, helping your leg absorb weight and shock. Overpronation is a common problem wherein your arch collapses when weight is applied. This adds stress to the other parts of the foot and lower leg. 

Plantar Fasciitis: Plantar fasciitis presents with heel pain. It is usually caused by small tears or strain in the plantar fascia ligament, leading to inflammation and pain at the bottom of the heel. 

2. Normal Or Medium Arched Foot 

A majority of people have medium arches. They are efficient and flexible biomechanically. The common problems of people with medium arches include heel pain and metatarsalgia due to stress from wearing ill-fitting footwear. 

Metatarsalgia: Your metatarsals connect your toes to your foot. Metatarsalgia, also known as a stone bruise, is characterized by pain and inflammation in the balls of your foot (metatarsals). 

3. High Arched Foot 

A high arched foot is also known as a cavus foot. Studies suggest that having high-arched feet might have resulted from lack of physical activity. This foot type has a very defined arch and rigidity. Since a high arched foot has a lesser surface area to absorb impact, this can result in too much pressure exerted to the rear and forefoot. 

Foot problems associated with having high arched feet include arch strain, plantar fasciitis, heel pain syndrome, metatarsalgia, claw toes, and calluses.  

Arch Strain: This condition is characterized by a burning sensation and inflammation in the instep. 

Heel Pain Syndrome: This is usually caused by repetitive stress and impact on the foot due to wearing shoes with very low heels or a sudden increase in physical activity. Because of this, putting weight on the affected heel can result in pain or severe discomfort. 

Claw Toes & Calluses: Claw toes are deformities wherein your toes claw into the soles of your footwear. This can lead to painful calluses. 

How to Prevent & Manage Foot Pain 

There are certain measures to manage and prevent foot pain secondary to arch-related causes. They include: 

1. Ensure that the footwear you’re wearing fits you properly. Wear shoes with proper cushion, padding, shock-absorbing soles, and foot support. 

2. For high-arched foot, wear an arch support that's just right. Using arch supports can give your feet additional cushion and eliminate stress and fatigue. 

3. Have an active lifestyle. Doing appropriate physical activities and exercises can strengthen the muscles and other soft tissues in your feet. 

4. Don’t forget to give your feet time to rest. 

5. Soak your aching feet in warm water to help relax tensed muscles, remove stress, and relieve pain and discomfort. 

If these home remedies fail to relieve your discomfort, or if your symptoms are getting worse and already affecting your daily routine, consult your doctor for further treatment.

Some of these treatment options will be covered by your health insurance while others will need to be paid out of pocket. Oh the agony of da-feet!

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I hope you enjoyed this article about how different foot arches can affect your life and physical activity.

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