Many patients are confused about why or when they should be looking for arch support.
It helps to first understand the natural movement of the foot.
Normal foot action
When we walk you are supposed to heel strike on the outer edge of your heel. You then naturally roll the foot down to the floor this is called pronation. The weight is then transferred to the big toe side as you start to go into the toe off.
Where people have issues and need help is with how fast or how far they pronate.
1. Too Fast
If you pronate too fast then the muscles are not able to control the movement and will put more force through the foot and limb as you impact the ground.
2. Over pronating
This is when your foot rolls too far inward. This will change the alignment of the lower limb and thus where you are loading.
This means that you are not pronating enough. You are either landing too far on the outside edge of your heel and/or not rolling enough into pronation to help absorb shock.
When do I need to think about arch support?
The short answer is when you have foot, ankle, knee or hip pain that gets worse with walking or loading.
As a Physiotherapist my first preference is to go with strengthening for 2-4 weeks to see if we can get some relief. However, if the pain is too much adding some arch support can help the system out and make it easier to get good alignment for strengthening.