Flat feet occur when the bottom of your foot touches the ground while you’re standing. While most people are born with flat feet due to genetics, certain situations can lead to flat feet later in life. This condition is referred to as “fallen arches” or “acquired flat foot” and requires a orthotics medical professional to diagnose.

Foot orthotics
Foot orthotics

 

Aside from genetics, some common causes of flat feet include:

  • Injury
  • Arthritis
  • Pregnancy
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Aging

Can flat feet be treated with inserts?

A common misconception about flat feet is that they don’t have any arches, but they do, in fact.. Although minimal, supporting these arches is crucial to preventing pain and injury. Patients with flat feet often ask, “Will orthotics help?”

The simple answer is yes, firm support on your arch promotes better biomechanics while standing, walking, or running. Orthotics for flat feet help alleviate pain, balance your body, and align your spine, reducing the risk of developing problems in your ankles, knees, back, and hips.

The most effective type of support for flat feet is one with a low, supportive arch and heel stabilization. These factors increase shock absorption and provide long-term relief.

The pros of orthotics for flat feet

The right support for flat feet is not a one-size-fits-all solution. For this reason, a customized treatment brings the following advantages:

  • Custom-fit for comfort
  • Maintains correct alignment of foot and leg
  • Supports the arch and heel
  • Absorbs shocks
  • Distributes pressure across the sole of the foot
  • Improves balance
  • Alleviates pain when walking, standing, or running

The cons of orthotics for flat feet

A disadvantage of a customized insert is that they can be expensive. While generic drug store alternatives are available, they may not be the best solution for most people. Floppy gel or foam inserts and inexpensive solutions don’t have the proper structure to support flat feet.

The bottom line

The arches in your feet play a significant role in shock absorption, gait flexibility, balance, and maintaining a problem-free movement. Although not a treatment that will “fix” flat feet, orthotics are an effective solution for reducing pain and improving your quality of life.