Love Your Arches

Feb 15th, 2011 by John Almodovar | 3 Comments So Far

Love Your Arches ... Because Arches Need Love Too

Do you ever wonder why your feet are tired and your knees and back are sore after spending an entire day walking or standing?  Why are the joints in your lower limbs achy even after wearing your most comfortable outfit, shoes and all?  What you don’t realize is that you may have been neglecting the arches of your feet, which if they don’t receive love and attention could cause painful unhealthy foot conditions to occur.  By taking care of your arches, you can be assured that the functionality of your feet will improve, your body will align properly and your feet will become healthier.

Your foot has three arches (medial longitudinal, lateral longitudinal and transverse) that make up the area between your forefoot and heel.  The arch helps to bear weight and stabilizes propulsion during the gait cycle (walking or running).  The human body was meant to walk on uneven, natural surfaces such as on dirt trails, fields or sand, which is why the arch area of the foot is curved and not flat.  But with radical changes in history such as the introduction of shoes and the changes that occurred in the Industrial Revolution (the invention of machines such as automobiles), humans have dramatically altered Earth’s landscape with the introduction of hard flat surfaces, which unfortunately has altered our natural footprint.

When the arch of the foot is not supported during the gait cycle, the weight and downward force of the human body make the foot roll aggressively inward (excessive pronation) or outward (excessive supination) – this could cause joints, ligaments and muscles in lower limbs to misalign, which then could cause discomfort, stress or pain.

Unhealthy Foot Conditions that Occur Do to Improper Arch Support

Flat FeetFlat Feet
This condition can be hereditary, occur at birth or take place at an early age.  Being flat footed means the arch of your foot is fully collapsed or rolls inward.  Unfortunately, flat feet can also develop in those who abuse their feet by wearing shoes with poor arch support designs.  Other causes include old age, being overweight and standing for long periods of time in pumps (high heel shoes).  For more information, read Are Fallen Arches a Real Foot Problem?

Excessive PronationExcessive Pronation
When walking or running, the arch of the foot stretches and flattens out as the foot rolls inward – this is called pronation, which is a normal function of the foot.  Unfortunately, problems arise when the foot arch remains flat during each step, making the foot roll forward too much – this is called excessive pronation.  This causes improper body alignment, which then leads to stress in joints, ligaments and muscles in the lower limbs.  For more details, read Pronation 101.

Plantar FasciitisPlantar Fasciitis
As one of the most common foot problems in the United States, plantar fasciitis is a condition that is responsible for most causes of heel pain and arch pain due to the plantar fascia ligament being injured or inflamed.  The plantar fascia is ligament that connects the toes to the heel bone – its purpose is to maintain the integrity of the arch of the foot and keep it from collapsing.  Plantar fasciitis occurs when the arch of the foot is not supported properly.  For more details, read Plantar Fasciitis 101.

How to Properly Support the Arch of the Foot

  • Wear shoes that have a good arch support footbed design.  The footbed should have an anatomical shape to mimic the contours of the foot.
  • Place arch support insoles in your shoes.  Sadly, most shoes do not come with well made insoles.  The insoles are usually foam cutouts that have almost no structure or health benefits to them.  Just remember, for each new pair of shoes you purchase, you should also consider getting arch support insoles – they typically come in full length and ¾ sizes.  For more information, read Choosing the Right Orthotic, Arch Support, Or Insole for Your Lifestyle.


… Because Your Arches Need Love Too


About Author 

I'm a multimedia production specialist and web editor for I write about foot care and footwear related subjects to promote health from the feet the up.

3 Comments on “Love Your Arches”

  1. Craig said:

    Call me crazy, but the problem isn’t lack of arch support, in the case described above it’s the fact the every other part of your foot isn’t working while your arch is that’s causing the problem. The arches are an amazing shock absorber and distributer of weight across your foot – how about you ditch the shoes altogether (or wear something minimalist) and actually make your feet start doing some exercise again. Orthotics are not the answer!! Plantar Fasciitis is a shoe-induced problem – not an arch or foot problem. Strengthen the foot (and arch) and PF will go away…

  2. Nancy said:

    My feet are happiest with good arch support. I love Birkenstocks when it is warm enough and use a Birk insert in shoes during the cooler months. Recently I have wondered if part of the reason Birks work for me is the metatarsal support they give. I have some other sandals that are comfortable, but when I wear them my feet just get tired. Is there a good way to add metatarsal support to shoes that offer good support otherwise?

  3. Administrator said:

    You can add in a metpad to your sandals. We carry a metpad from Powerstep that can be added to sandals and shoes. It’s supportive but not as firm as what you are getting in a Birkenstock support.

    We also have a brand of arch support flip flops that offer a nice supportive arch and metpad built into the sandal. The brand is Sole.

    Hope that help!