Living with flat feet is annoying and painful. But trying to find the right insoles for them is just as frustrating.
So before you take a flamethrower to your shoes, laughing maniacally as you watch them burn, know there is hope. The right insoles can transform your shoes into active therapy, which can drastically help relieve the symptoms of flat feet.
In this article we’re going to cover:
- The anatomy of flat feet
- The causes of flat feet
- Flat feet vs fallen arches
- How to relieve flat feet pain
- What kind of insoles are good for flat feet
The Anatomy of Flat Feet
Your arches - the middle part of your foot that forms an arch-like gap when standing - are supported by a complex mesh of tendons and smaller joints.
Arches help spread body weight across your feet, provide balance, and that youthful spring to your step.
Flat feet (also known as fallen arches) occur when this arch weakens.
Note: Even if your feet look completely flat, they’re probably not. Your feet have arches like everyone else, although they might be weaker, so it’s important to keep them supported.
The Main Causes of Flat Feet
Having flat feet means the entire bottom of your foot touches the floor when standing, and can be caused by both genetic and lifestyle factors.
This means if you develop them early in life, it’s likely genetic. And if you develop them later in life, it’s likely due to lifestyle/environment.
Common causes of flat feet include:
As babies, we all have flat feet before a stable arch is formed. But flat feet run in families and can be passed down from parents.
Genetics can cause the bones, ligaments, and muscles to remain slightly underdeveloped in some people during childhood and into adulthood.
Injuries, arthritis, obesity, inflammation, diabetes, pregnancy, and aging can all contribute to flat feet.
Are Flat Feet And Fallen Arches The Same Thing?
Yes and no.
Flat feet and fallen arches usually refer to the same thing. But the reality is, flat feet are formed at birth, while fallen arches (flexible flat feet) usually develop later in life.
Either way, they’re both painful.
And both can lead to other issues like joint pain, knee pain, chronic exhaustion, and irritability.
Prevention is key when looking to treat any condition. Luckily, there are measures you can take to relieve the pain of flat feet and get back to normal living.
How To Relieve Pain From Flat Feet
If you’re suffering from flat feet or fallen arches, don’t worry. There are some ways to treat them in both the short and long term (without breaking the bank).
Try these to strengthen and stretch the foot, calves, and ankles.
Stand and push all of your toes firmly down into the floor. Slowly raise your heels to shift your body weight onto your toes. Hold this position for two seconds then repeat 15 times. Try 2 - 3 few sets.
Stand with only your toes on the edge of a step and slowly let your heels down over the edge. Hold this position for 15 seconds to stretch the Achilles tendon, then repeat.
Line your feet up with one in front of the other, making sure the toe of your back foot touches the heel of your front foot. Now lean towards the wall with your back leg straight and your front leg bent. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat for both legs.
A simple ice pack or another cold therapy pack can be great for soothing swelling caused by flat feet and fallen arches.
Another option is physical therapy. But long waiting lists, heavy price tags, and no guarantee of recovery make this an unrealistic option for many people.
These are specially made shoe inserts prescribed by a podiatrist. Orthotics are custom made and with a price tag of $300 - $800, there’s a clear barrier here for anyone looking to treat flat feet.
Arch support insoles (recommended)
Few know that over-the-counter insoles are not only highly effective in relieving pain from flat feet and, but they’re also extremely affordable.
Choosing The Best Insoles For Flat Feet
Rule #1: Avoid cheap, flimsy drugstore insoles. These will only make your condition worse, as they usually aren’t designed well enough to support arches and heels properly.
It’s vital that you choose therapeutic insoles that are engineered with science-backed research and medical-grade material.
Ideally, a good insole will provide shock absorption, arch support, metatarsal support, and heel cradle. Remember, the foot is a complex system, and fixing flat feet needs a holistic approach.
If you suffer from flat feet/fallen arches due to lifestyle factors, one of the best options is XSTANCE insoles. These are designed for workers who spend long days standing and are proven effective for soothing pain quickly… and in many cases even permanently!
Because XSTANCE insoles have medium arch height, they’re usually not ideal if you’ve been living with flat feet from birth (genetic factors).
However, this depends on the severity of your condition, and many people with flat feet report amazing benefits using XSTANCE, like Anna:
So don’t give up hope.
But don’t beat around the bush either. The time to take action is now, and that starts with the proper foot care. Most shoes don’t provide enough arch support out of the box, so investing in a decent pair of insoles is key.