Arch Pain 101: A Comprehensive Guide

No two people have identically shaped arches, yet many people buy identical shoes.  As a result, too many of us will not receive the support we need from store bought shoes, and will experience discomfort. In order to help your arches fit comfortably in your shoes, you may want to be fitted for custom orthotics.

How to Determine the Height of Your Foot's Arch  

But before you get to that stage, determining your individual arch-type may be helpful. In order to do so, just follow these five simple steps:

  1. Get a sheet of paper and put it on the floor. 
  2. Wet your foot.
  3. Sit down on a chair and place your foot on the paper.
  4. Repeat process with second foot
  5. Your footprint will reveal your arch type (almost no indentation on the left edge indicates a flat foot. Almost no footprint in the mid foot is a sign you've got high arches. Anything in between and your arches are neutral!)

Once you know what type of arch you’re dealing with, choosing the right shoes becomes much simpler. If you have:

High arches: choose shoes that have lots of extra cushioning. Stay away from hard-or-thin-soled footwear. 

Low arches (flat feet): look for well-supported, firm shoes with lower heels. Since your body will naturally want to rotate forward to the balls of your feet, high heels will be extra difficult.

Neutral arches: you have a carte blanche when it comes to selecting shoes. Just make smart choices and select a comfortable, supportive pair that you can wear for long periods of time or for walking/exercising.

What's Causing My Arch Pain?

Of course, orthotics aren’t the solution to all arch problems; pain in this part of your foot could be a sign of another problem—plantar fasciitis. An injury that’s the result of torn or inflamed plantar fasciia bands (the connective tissue on the bottom of your foot), plantar fasciitis is usually identified by crippling heel pain, but can also be felt in the arch of your foot.  

But wait, there’s more; pain in your arches could be a sign of a bruise, sprain or fracture. Unless you see your doctor, it may be very difficult to figure out why your feet are hurting you. So, if your arch pain is a problem, and our shoe guide isn’t helping, come on in so we can help get you walking comfortably again!

Dr. Andrew Schneider
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Dr. Andrew Schneider is a podiatrist and foot surgeon at Tanglewood Foot Specialists in Houston, TX.