Many people have flat feet, where the feet tend to roll in and the arch of the foot drops to the ground (otherwise known as “fallen arches”). While this is a common foot type, lacking a natural arch in the foot can place strain on surrounding soft tissues, and the biomechanics associated with a flat foot type can lead to pain through the feet, ankles, knees, hips or even the lower back.
Not everyone who has flat feet will experience symptoms, but for some people, particularly if you like to enjoy an active lifestyle, having flat feet can be problematic and unnecessarily limiting.
There are a range of different treatment options for people with flat feet, one of which is orthotics. But while many of us have heard of orthotics before, you may be unsure of how orthotics can help with flat feet.
How Do Orthotics Help With Flat Feet?
Orthotics optimise the position and alignment of the feet to improve posture, stability and foot function. In the case of flat feet, where the feet have a tendency to roll in, orthotics support the arch of the foot to reduce excessive weight-bearing forces on the inside of the feet. This promotes a more natural curve in the arches of the feet and reduces strain being placed on surrounding muscles, ligaments and tendons.
There are a few different types of orthotics available on the market, each offering varying levels of support. Total Contact Orthotics which are custom-made to suit an individual’s foot, generally provide the best support for flat feet.
As the name implies, Total Contact Orthotics are designed to offer a high level of contact between the sole of the foot and the orthotic. This is best achieved through a process of conducting a comprehensive biomechanical assessment and taking a scan of the feet, following which the podiatrist writes a script so that orthotics are made in accordance with the podiatrist’s specifications.
I Have Flat Feet, Do I Need Orthotics?
Not all flat feet will require orthotics, and depending on the cause of your symptoms, other treatment methods can also provide relief. For example, supportive footwear (with or without orthotics) and specific stretching and strengthening exercises, may assist to minimise symptoms associated with flat feet. However, many people with flat feet do experience improved comfort and symptom relief through wearing Total Contact Orthotics.
For specific advice and individual assessment of your flat feet, make an appointment to see one of our podiatrists at Entire Podiatry.