April 27, 2023
Eddie Zepeda

Do I Need Arch Support? 6 Signs You Need Orthotics

Eddie Zepeda

You must remember the arch is the most critical of all the bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments in our feet. It helps balance our body weight, absorbs shock, and provides the flexibility to walk and run.

Fallen arches can cause pain, discomfort, and other foot problems, such as plantar fasciitis, bunions, and hammertoes. Luckily, we make custom orthotics in Albuquerque & Las Cruces that alleviate pain and provide arch support.

Many patients ask us: "How do I know if I need arch support?". Well, there are a couple of signs that answer “Do I need orthotics?” which we’ll go through in this blog.

What Are Orthotics?

Orthotics are prescription medical devices worn to support, align, prevent, or correct deformities or improve the function of movable body parts. They are custom-made from plastic, foam, or even metal and come in different shapes and sizes.

Arch support inserts can relieve pain and discomfort and improve posture. Plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, and flat are treated with orthotics.

It's important to know that while you can purchase over-the-counter arch supports, these are manufactured with a one-size-fits-all approach and may not provide the proper benefits of arch support you need for your feet, ankles, and lower legs.

Finding the Perfect Orthotic for You

Wondering, "What orthotics do I need?". Your medical condition and a healthcare professional's diagnosis will determine the type of orthotics you require. You may purchase two different kinds of foot supports to improve comfort.

Over-the-Counter/Off-the-Shelf Orthotics

Over-the-counter (OTC) orthotics (shoe inserts) may be sufficient for making your shoes more comfortable or providing extra cushioning. However, if you have structural or biomechanical issues with your feet, an off-the-shelf insert won't be enough to address the problem.

Custom Prescription Orthotics

Another question patients ask is, “Should I get custom orthotics?” Custom orthotics may be the solution if you are looking for relief from walking, standing, or running challenges. A health professional will first take a detailed health history to gauge your height, weight, physical activity level, and any existing medical conditions.

Based on that information, the correct material and level of rigidity/flexibility can be determined for the orthotics. Then, an impression cast of your foot is taken to create custom orthotics specifically for you.

When Is Orthotics Treatment Necessary?

do i need arch support

The following foot problems can be treated with orthotics, as well as anyone who needs arch support:

  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Bunions
  • Knee pain
  • Flat feet
  • High arches
  • Bursitis
  • Neuroma
  • Injuries
  • Achilles tendinopathy

Sometimes, orthotics alone cannot provide a cure; your podiatrist may also recommend adjustments to your footwear, exercises, or medication in some cases.

6 Common Signs You Need Arch Support

It is best to seek advice from your podiatrist, who can conduct a thorough biomechanical assessment. Below are six signs you or a loved one may need orthotics:

1. You Stand for More than Five Hours a Day

If you have an active lifestyle and stand for a long time, you may be at risk for an overuse injury to the plantar fascia, a band of tissue stretching from the heel to the toes on the bottom of your foot. Wearing orthotics can reduce the strain on the plantar fascia caused by standing for long hours.

2. You're Recovering from a Lower-limb Injury

Suppose you recently sustained an injury to your lower limb, such as your hip, knee, leg, or ankle. In that case, it could alter the weight distribution of your feet while you walk. Orthotics can help you adjust your gait to compensate for the injury.

3. You Have Foot or Heel Pain

Many people attribute frequent foot pain, especially in the morning, to wearing high heels or uncomfortable shoes when it could be a sign of plantar fasciitis. Knowing this causes pain rather than simply avoiding it is essential to having healthy feet and a good posture.

4. You Have Worn Out Shoes

If you glance at the tread on your shoes, you may notice that some of the soles are more worn on one side than the other. This could be a sign that your foot is either rolling inward (known as pronation) or outward (known as supination). If this is the case, orthotics may be beneficial in correcting the issue.

5. You Have a Flat Arch or a High Arch

signs you need arch support

For collapsed arches, orthotics can provide flat arch support to help to reduce the strain on the feet, ankles, and lower legs. They can also provide cushioning and shock absorption support for high arches to reduce the impact on the feet and ankles. Orthotics will realign the foot and ankle for improved biomechanics and comfort.

6. You Are Pregnant

As a woman's pregnancy progresses, her center of gravity and posture change, which, combined with pregnancy hormones, can cause her pelvic joints to become unstable. This instability can lead to anything from mild discomfort to severe pain and, in rare cases, an inability to walk.

Additionally, the extra weight gained during pregnancy can put additional pressure on the feet, leading to poor circulation and joint pain. Custom orthotics cushion the feet, improving circulation, reducing strain on the knees, alleviating pain in the lower back, and making walking more comfortable.

Custom Orthotics: When to Get Them for Your Kids

It is vital to get your child evaluated early if you suspect they have any issues with their feet. This is because the foot grows faster than the rest of the body, and any problem not addressed quickly may worsen and become permanent.

Orthotics for children can benefit those as young as 12 months old. Generally, though, the most advantageous time to begin using high arch or flat feet support is when the child is two years or older. If your child hasn't started walking by the time they turn two, it is also wise to visit a podiatrist to explore options for proper arch support.

Additionally, the need for orthotics such as arch support insoles may become more evident at age three when the child develops a heel-to-toe gait, begins school, or starts participating in organized sports where they need gait and mobility support.

Getting the Right Professional Orthotic Assistance

Many patients come to us complaining of pain in their feet and lower legs. Orthotics are a great way to provide relief by reducing the strain on the affected areas. It is well known that improper foot posture can cause and worsen conditions like knee, hip, and lower back pain. We typically advise using orthotics to address pain and symptoms in the feet and legs. Contact our orthotic professionals to schedule a free consultation.


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