Generally speaking, there are three types of arches: low, high and medium. Among the general population, 60% has a medium arch, 20% has a high arch and 20% has a low arch. People who have either high or low arches face a slightly elevated risk of foot pain. Fortunately, there are many ways to effectively combat that increased risk.
The easiest way to reduce the risk of foot pain is to wear the right kind of shoes. Because most of the population has medium arches, most shoes on the market are designed for them. If you experience foot pain when putting on a shoe, do not wear that shoe. A podiatrist or physical therapist can help you with orthotics to help support your arches appropriately and disperse the shock as you walk, so you achieve proper body alignment, prevent injuries and maintain a healthy and active lifestyle. And while it may not as easy or fun as buying shoes, keeping in shape is an effective way to minimize foot pain.
If you experience pain in your arches, our specialists at The Jackson Clinics can determine the cause and course of treatment. We will examine your gait, joint mobility, flexibility, strength and balance to determine whether you have plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the foot muscles, or something more significant, such as a broken bone, sprain or heel spur.
Plantar fasciitis can be treated through physical therapy, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (if your physician approves), muscle relaxants, and muscle strengthening and stretching. The other conditions will require more extensive treatment. Physical therapy for high or low arches may include
- manual therapy for the foot
- deep tissue massage
- stretches to the plantar fascia and surrounding muscles
- strengthening exercise to decrease the strain
- instruction on proper shoe fitting and selection
People with medium arches should not think that a slightly reduced risk of foot issues will somehow protect them. Most foot injuries are not caused by the shape of a person’s arch but by the stresses they put on their feet. These recommendations are as appropriate for those with medium arches as those without them. Regardless of the size, shape, height or length of a person’s arch, everyone needs to take good care of his or her feet.
Looking for a specialist? We have one of the first Foot & Ankle Fellowship programs in the country for Physical Therapists. Schedule with one of our specialists today!