‘Flat feet’ is a condition where the entire surface area of the foot lies firmly against the ground due to the fact that the arch of the foot has collapsed. Hence, it is also known as ‘fallen arches’. While some people are genetically pre-disposed to it, most is caused by over-pronation, where the foot moves inwards while walking. It causes tendons and ligaments to wear down over time and arches to collapse.
This can cause discomfort in other parts of the lower extremities as well: ankles, knees and lower back. Many, especially those who have been medically diagnosed with flat feet, choose to alleviate the problem by wearing orthotics.
Orthotics or orthotic insoles are constructed specifically to support areas of the arch that are pressured the most when the foot comes in contact with the ground. Orthotics also fixes the problems caused by over-pronation by inserting a wedge where the arch of the foot is normally located. This disperses the pressure evenly throughout the foot while walking which relieves most symptoms a person suffers from.
This in turn allows the ligaments and tendons around the foot to rehabilitate successfully as well.Orthotic insoles are made from a sturdy material which provides complete support and does not allow the foot to fall inward with each step. The fact that they are stiff and can’t be flexed easily also aligns the foot correctly in relation to affected areas around the foot.
They also improve balance as people with flat feet also have a tendency to lean to either side which places strain on their back.Orthotic insoles for flat feet are very simple to use and are usually affordable, unless you choose custom-made orthotics. If you would rather buy custom insoles, you will need to visit a podiatrist as this is the only way to get hold of them. You can choose between full length or ¾ length custom insoles. The ¾ length version is more flexible as it can be used in different shoes whereas the full-length insoles can’t be moved from shoe to shoe.
Velcro tabs are used in shorter models because they can be placed in the heel of the shoe and keep it steady.Don’t be alarmed if you initially experience some discomfort once you start wearing orthotics as your feet will need time to adjust to the contours of the insole and new way of walking. However, better balance and pain reduction should be noticeable almost instantly.