Foot Arch Types

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When you look at the root causes behind foot conditions, many issues can stem from physical trauma or improper equipment, but sometimes an inherent structural issue leads to problems. An example of this is your arch type. Understanding the different types and the role arches play in foot function can help you know when to seek treatment to correct the condition.

Foot Arch Functions

The foot arch type plays an essential role in the distribution of forces with every step you take. As the foot flattens, the arch is supposed to provide a more equitable distribution so too much pressure is not applied to any single area, which could cause issues. Additionally, arches play a role in the transfer of energy that happens during the process between the heel strike and the push off of the toes during a step. It can help to think about the arch acting like a spring to keep the foot moving forward.

Types of Foot Arches

There is a certain degree of variance for foot arches. Individuals have one of three basic types: normal (moderate), low (flat feet), or high.

Moderate Arches

This particular arch style is the most biomechanically efficient, but having moderate arches does not mean that you are not still susceptible to common foot problems like heel pain or ball-of-foot issues.

Low Arches

Some individuals have flat feet. These arches can be flexible in nature and are often imbalanced from a biomechanical perspective. This places feet at greater risk for such foot problems as plantar fasciitis, bunions, and various forms of heel pain.

High Arches

Still other individuals have high arches. Also known as cavus foot, this arch style tends to be more rigid than the others. Instead of the foot having additional surface for absorbing the forces that come with running or walking, almost all of the stress is absorbed by the heel and forefoot areas.

Identifying Your Arch Type

Understanding your foot arch type is useful for both identifying injury risk and knowing what type of shoes will work best with your feet. There are a couple of different ways to go about identifying your foot structure. One is to simply examine the bottom of your shoes. The wear pattern can be an indication as to what kind of arch style your feet feature. Excessive wear on the outside edge often correlates with high arches, while excessive wear on the inside edge usually is found with low arches. An even wear pattern on the soles normally indicates a moderate arch height.

Another way to tell which arch style you possess is to take “the wet test.” This is performed barefoot with the use of a flattened brown paper bag and a shallow pan of water. Get the bottom of your foot wet and then take a normal step onto the bag. If the print looks like a wide, flat foot, your arches are low. Conversely, if you see only the forefoot and the heel, or if they are connected only by a thin line, you likely have high arches. If you are looking at the front and back connected by a strip about half the width of the foot, then you have moderate arches.

Arch Issues

The main issue when it comes to arches is the role they play in pronation. Pronation is a natural rolling process of the foot with every step. It starts with the heel strike and extends throughout the entire process. With a normal gait, the foot rolls about 15% during the course of the pronation process. Overpronation and supination (under-pronation) increase the risk of various foot problems.

Treatment for Foot Arch Issues in Ebensburg, PA

If an arch abnormality is creating foot pain or impairing their functionality, Premier Podiatry Group, P.C. is ready to help. Our professional staff has the expertise and skill necessary to address issues that stem from both high and low arches, so let us create a treatment plan that puts your pain behind you today. Call our Ebensburg, PA podiatrist office at (814) 472-2660 or schedule your appointment online today.