Fallen arches is a condition where the sole of the foot completely contacts the ground; there is no significant portion of the arch that is raised. About 20–30% of adults fall into the category of having one or both feet that have never developed arches properly. Children are not born with developed arches; rather, this comes with age.
If you’re on your feet all day for your work, or spend a great deal of time in athletic pursuits, there is some risk that you will develop fallen arches due to such use of your feet. Certain conditions increase the risk for developing fallen arches:
With significant discomfort involved, you may suspect you’re having issues with fallen arches if you find you are having the following symptoms:
Usually a regimen of rest and ice will reduce any pain or swelling experienced by walking and performing activities with fallen arches. Pain medications can be used as well, such as anti-inflammatories. Some people also can benefit from physical therapy once any swelling is under control.
Orthotic insoles, arch supports, and shoe modifications can also be extremely beneficial in preventing further swelling, allowing you to participate in activities despite fallen arches, and prevent worsening of the condition especially in how the rest of the legs, hips, and back are affected by fallen arches. The correct footwear for your activities is crucial for supporting your entire body. We recommend checking out our related blog here that covers how orthotic insoles work to make your feet feel better!
Another common problem people have with arches is having high arches – arches that are more raised than normal. Some people are simply born with very high arches, and while not everyone with high arches experiences issues, some people do.
Several conditions are associated with having high arches:
High arches can lead to other conditions such as:
Orthotic inserts help support those with high arches so that issues are minimized, such as pain, pressure, and swelling. Orthotic insoles can be very effective. If pain and swelling does occur, it can be also be treated with ice and anti-inflammatory drugs. Occasionally physical therapy may be necessary, as well. A night brace, which stretches the calf and the arch of the foot, might be recommended.
Similar to the concept of the night splint, plantar fasciitis socks also can help with swelling and pain; they work by compressing the arches of the feet. They provide support as well as increase the blood flow. These socks can be worn overnight to relieve symptoms caused by high arches.
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