We all know you should support your feet. And when people talk about foot support, they often mean arch support. But what is arch support, and why should you care about it? Well, the answer to that has a lot to do with health. Basically, supported feet are happy feet. And if your feet are happy, your body follows.
But it’s difficult to know if you’re in need of some extra arch support or not. That’s why we’ve created a guide that will help you figure that out. Read it and find out what signs indicate that you should look into improving your arch support.
What is Arch Support?
To find your arch, trace the inside of your foot, from your big toe to the bottom of your heel. You should, quite literally, find the shape of an arch. Every foot is different. Some feet have high arches, which means there's a big space between the bottom of the foot and the ground. Some feet have normal arches, which means there's a medium space. And some feet have low arches, which means there's not much space between the foot and the ground.
Even though there is a big variety of feet out there, most shoes are designed with the average foot in mind. This means that for most people, shoes by themselves don’t do enough to prevent an uneven weight distribution onto their feet. That can lead to all kinds of serious issues if left unaddressed for long. To mitigate this, people wear insoles or shoe inserts to redistribute the load. Proper arch support helps to keep your feet in the right shape and position, reducing any stress or discomfort.
Sign #1: Your Feet Hurt
Ouch, foot pain. We all deal with it from time to time. Painful feet can prevent you from living an active lifestyle, which causes all kinds of issues down the line. And who wants painful feet to keep them from exploring, when there is a beautiful world out there?
If foot pain happens to you occasionally, it can have all kinds of causes. But if you find foot pain to be a recurring frustration in your life, it could mean your feet are expressing a lack of support. So what to do about it? Well, we wrote a blog with some simple tips that can keep foot pain at bay.
Sign #2: You Have Flat Feet
Flat feet or fallen arches mean that the middle part of your feet is very close to the ground or touches the ground completely. This puts all of your body weight on the inside of your foot.
Without proper arch support, flat feet and fallen arches can make it harder for your feet to do their job of walking and running. It can put extra pressure on certain parts of your feet and legs, which can lead to pain or discomfort. If you notice that your entire foot, including the inner arch, is close to touching the ground, it could mean you have flat feet.
Sign #3: You Experience Overpronation Or Supination
Overpronation is when your foot rolls too much inward when you walk or run. Your body is leaning too much towards the inside, which puts extra stress on certain parts of your feet and legs. Supination is the opposite of overpronation. It happens when your foot doesn't roll enough inward when you walk or run. Here, your body leans too much to the outside. Instead of stressing the inner part of your foot, it stresses the outer one.
So next time you walk to the supermarket, pay attention to your natural gait and try to feel if your weight is evenly distributed. If it isn’t, your arches could be at risk.
Sign #4: Your Lower Legs Feel Sore
Shin splints are when the front part of your lower legs hurts. It feels like a dull ache or throbbing pain along the shinbone, which is the big bone in the front of your lower leg. It usually happens when you do a lot of running or activities that involve a lot of jumping or impact on your legs.
The good news is that shin splints can get better with rest and proper care. It's important to take a break from activities that cause pain, apply ice to the area, and do gentle stretches to help the muscles relax. Wearing supportive shoes and supportive insoles can also help prevent shin splints.
Sign # 5: Your Knees Or Hips Hurt
When our feet don't have enough support in the arch area, it can affect the alignment of our entire body, including our knees and hips.
Imagine building a tower with blocks. If the bottom blocks are not stable or aligned properly, the whole tower can become wobbly or even collapse. Similarly, when our feet lack proper arch support, it can cause our knees and hips to become misaligned or put under extra stress. So if you find yourself getting pain in your hips and knees without a clear reason, it might pay off to look at your arches as a potential culprit.
Sign #6: Your Feet Are Always Tired
Are your feet simply tired? Do you find that the idea of walking sounds exhausting? It shouldn’t! In fact, having tired feet is a strong indicator that your feet need some support. After all, they are designed to be able to carry you for great distances. The problem, however, is that they can only do that when the entire foot is activated, instead of just one side. Just as standing on one leg for an hour would tire you out much quicker than both, using just one side of your foot has the same effect.
So if you find yourself lying down often because your feet feel tired, while the rest of your body feels rested, you could be suffering from improper arch support.
Sign # 7: Your Shoes Have Uneven Wear
A very visible sign that you require arch support can be found on the bottom of your shoes. Why? When you have an uneven gait, with uneven weight distribution, the bottom of your shoe sole will reflect that. As we walk, the soles of our shoes will inevitably wear away. But when we walk unevenly, the same shoe soles will wear away unevenly as well. To make matters worse, this makes the issue worse over time, since your foot will roll even further inward or outward depending on where there is the most wear.
So if you see that one side of your shoe sole is worn away more than the other, it could mean your shoes are doing an inadequate job of balancing your body. In these cases, support for your arches might be just what you need.
In conclusion, having proper arch support is crucial for maintaining foot health and overall well-being. By understanding the signs that indicate a need for arch support, you can take proper steps (pun intended) to address any issues and prevent discomfort or pain. Whether you experience foot pain, have flat feet or fallen arches, notice overpronation or supination, suffer from shin splints, or feel knee and hip pain, providing adequate arch support can make a significant difference. Additionally, if you often have tired feet or notice uneven wear on your shoes, these are also signs that your arches may benefit from additional support. By investing in proper arch support, such as buying corrective shoes or using supportive inserts, you can improve your foot alignment, reduce stress on your feet and joints, and enjoy a more comfortable and pain-free life. Remember, supported arches lead to happy feet and a that means a happier you!
At Primal Soles, we make different cork insoles to support all arches. The squishy, supportive qualities of cork make it the perfect material to distribute weight evenly across your foot. And cork is the only insole material that regenerates fully, so you can support your arches and our planet at the same time.
We make the only 100% recyclable cork insoles in the market in accordance with EU regulations. The entire production process is CO2 negative. And we have a program in place that makes recycling them effortless for you. Because over time and after lots of exploring, your insoles will wear out. But we’ll always be there, at the end of the path, to give your feet the support they deserve.
So, why not try Primal Soles. We make insoles for low arches and insoles for high arches. Or try our brand-new line, with a design based entirely off the feedback of thousands of users— Primal Clouds. Because they feel like walking on clouds.
Let nature support you. And support nature back.
By Sanjay Ghosh