The arches of your feet might not be the first things that come to mind when you consider your overall well-being. But they’re truly critical. How important is arch support you might ask? It's critical. All those intricate bones, tendons, and ligaments work like a suspension system for the body, bearing weight and absorbing the ground’s impact as you go about your day. These small but mighty structures do a lot of work for our bodies and sometimes they need extra help. With good reason—proper arch support is an essential step for managing and preventing many types of common pain in the feet, knees, hips, and back.
Pain’s a chain reaction
Since the kinetic chain starts with the feet, even minor imbalances when we’re standing or walking can have substantial consequences further up the body. Unfortunately, the thin-soled sneakers, less-than-comfortable high heels, and flat flip-flops we wear aren’t helping.
While your shoes may look great, the basic inserts that come with them amount to little more than comfortable cushioning. Without proper support, our shoes can lead to unhealthy motion in the foot and exacerbate natural pre-existing arch issues and uneven gaits —which can all promote pain across the kinetic chain.
Maybe you walk a lot as part of your daily routine or spend hours on your feet every day at work. Without realizing it, you might be pronating (putting pressure on the inside of your arches) or supinating (putting pressure on the outside of your foot). Either way, your unsupportive shoes aren’t doing anything to keep your foot in a healthy neutral position. If you don’t have support, your ankles will roll in—or out—at a detrimental angle, impacting the position of your knees. Like the song says, the knees are connected to the hips, lower back, and spine through the kinetic chain, so when one part is out of whack… you get the picture. As the misalignment continues, you might start to experience the dreaded aches and pains you’ve heard other people complaining about.
The kinetic chain connects it all
When experiencing aches and pains, people tend to focus on the specific body part that’s bothering them. However, there’s a bigger picture to consider: the kinetic chain. Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Arthur Steindler first established this concept in 1995 to refer to the way that the entire body operates as an interdependent system. Essentially, he saw every muscle, tendon, joint, and bone as playing a part in a highly efficient machine, working in tandem to accommodate the body’s motion. The interlinked kinetic chain begins at your feet, runs up your ankles, knees, and hips, into your pelvis and lower back, and through your spine to your shoulders and neck.
The importance of arch support
It’s not unusual to treat discomfort with painkillers, massages, and surgery, or even by ignoring it altogether. And yet, treating misalignment at its source is easier, less expensive, and less invasive. It even has the potential benefit of preventing future problems.
As the base of the entire kinetic chain, our feet should be as supported as possible, allowing for the even distribution of pressure and weight to maintain neutral, healthy alignment. You can achieve this by taking one simple step: integrating arch support into your daily life. Slipping insoles into your shoes is the easiest way to correct the misalignment that causes foot, ankle, knee, hip, or back pain—and it’s even more effective if you do it before pain becomes an issue.
How Do I Know If I Need Arch Support?
Frequent Foot Pain
You might chalk up your frequent foot pain to the shoes you wear or just walking too much. However, you shouldn't blow off the pain. Your feet may be telling you that you need better arch support.
Conditions like plantar fasciitis can cause foot pain, specifically in the heel. This condition is caused by a lack of support in the bottom of the foot and a stretching of the plantar fascia. Arch support and insoles can do wonders in reducing symptoms by offering your feet the support needed to reduce inflammation and increase mobility.
One of the important aspects of your foot is the arch, which is the bend in the sole of the foot. The arch provides both support and balance.
When your arch isn't pronounced enough, you have a condition known as flat feet. This condition can cause you to have a series of symptoms, such as pain, aching, stiffness, and reduced mobility. With flat feet, you could also develop problems in other parts of the body, such as pain in the lower legs and back.
Fortunately, customized arch support, like that provided by Fulton Insoles, can provide relief by balancing your posture and stance, as well as offering support.
High arches can cause foot problems, as well. You could also develop a condition called metatarsalgia, which causes the ball of the foot to become inflamed and painful. Another common condition is hammertoe, caused by too much pressure on the tendons in the front of the foot. Arch support can stablize your feet, so you experience less pain and prevent injury.
If you stand or walk for hours on a regular basis, you're more at risk of developing foot issues. People who have occupations that keep them standing or walking for extended hours, like teachers, nurses, and factory workers, are more likely to develop issues with their arches. Arch support can extend the time you spend on your feet without symptoms developing.
Being overweight places you at a greater risk of conditions that impact the health of your feet. Excess weight places pressure on your lower extremities, which can contribute to back pain and problems elsewhere, as well. Arch support devices can help give your feet the support needed to keep them healthy.
How To Support Your Arches
The best arch support insoles are made from high-quality and natural materials. Most over-the-counter models are constructed using synthetic materials that have a shorter life span. Fulton insoles, on the other hand, use natural materials, allowing the insoles to custom mold to the shape of your unique arch, ensuring the foundation of your kinetic chain is supported and stable. As you sit, stand, or walk around, your foot moves as it should, correcting issues like too much pronation. When the lower parts of your body move in proper alignment, the upper parts no longer need to overcompensate, alleviating the major source of pain (shop Fulton insoles here).
By integrating arch support and reinforcing the natural structure at the base of the kinetic chain, you can comfortably keep on doing what you need to do out in the world and stop worrying about pain down the road. Learn more about Fulton.