Having comfortable shoes is a must for every individual. Shoes are our partners, not only in making us look good, but most importantly in allowing us to do our everyday activities with great ease and comfort.
For some people, however, selecting the right shoes not only means having something to cover one’s feet with. It is sometimes a life-changing and health-sustaining choice, especially for those with medical conditions requiring special footwear.
Having fallen arches or flat feet is one such condition. Shoe manufacturers have now focused on providing the best shoes for flat feet as a way to help and supply the need of these people and allow them to live a more comfortable and pain-free life.
Best Shoes for Flat Feet 2018
Best Women’s Shoes for Flat Feet
Best Men’s Shoes for Flat Feet
What are Fallen Arches?
An adult’s foot normally has an upward curve in middle which is called an arch. Fallen arches, or flat feet, is a term commonly used to describe a postural deformity where the feet has little or no arch, and the sole completely touches the ground when standing. Having a fallen arch usually entails a lot of discomfort because the feet have to adjust without its natural support while bearing the entire weight of the body.
What Causes Flat Feet?
Having flat feet may be caused by a number of reasons. Some have inherited it from their parents and are born with the condition. For adults however, flat feet are sometimes a result of broken or torn tendons. Other causes may include other medical conditions such as arthritis, obesity, or, in some cases, pregnancy.
One very common condition that occurs is the posterior tibial tendon dysfunction. The posterior tibial tendon is the tendon that holds the arch and supports the feet when walking. When this tendon is damaged or inflamed, it is not able to provide stability and support, making the arch collapse gradually. This condition is usually caused by foot and ankle injuries, excessive muscle use which is common among athletes doing high-impact sports, and obesity, among others.
Symptoms of Flat Feet and Fallen Arches
A lot of people experiencing fallen arches and flat feet may not exhibit any symptoms at all. They can simply go about their day without experiencing any difficulty due to the condition. For some, however, certain symptoms appear which causes a great deal of discomfort.
Some of these symptoms include the following:
1. Tired and painful feet, which may sometimes include pain in the ankles, joints, lower legs, knees, or lower back.
2. Overpronation or the excessive inward rolling of the feet even after landing. This happens when the feet stays in pronation longer than the normal time. This can be easily seen when the person’s shoes shows excessive wear on the inner side and tilts inward when placed on a flat surface.
3. Increased fatigue, numbness, or stiffness of the feet and ankles. This may sometimes include swelling of the bottom of the feet or difficulty in foot movement.
Treatments for Flat Feet
Proper footwear is a must for those who have flat feet. For some, this may be the only thing that they need. Treatments for fallen arches and flat feet vary greatly depending on the severity and the circumstances that lead to the condition. Doctors generally have to give certain tests to ascertain what caused it, usually by checking into the person’s medical history and usual activities. Since a lot of patients do not exhibit any symptoms, no treatment is necessary.
For those with less serious conditions, doctors may recommend going through several treatments to ease the discomfort. Initially, doctors allow the patients to rest their feet and apply ice over them to reduce any swelling and relieve pain. Stretching exercises and physical therapy sessions may also be prescribed, along with pain relief medications for those experiencing severe pain. Doctors may also order the use of orthotic devices, braces or casts, and encourage shoe modifications to be made.
There are those who require intensive treatment and surgery, depending on the causes and the present condition of their feet. This is usually undertaken when all other noninvasive procedures don’t work or when there are other underlying causes which can only be remedied with the use of surgery. The most common procedures done are the following:
1. Osteotomy, which involves cutting or removing and reshaping certain parts of the bone.
2. Tendon transfer, which requires getting tendons from other parts of the body and transferring it to the foot. This procedure intends to help balance the pull of the tendons and support the arch.
3. Lateral column lengthening, which requires grafting bone to the feet to make the arch rise.
Some patients need to address and treat several underlying conditions that affect the fallen arch such as diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure. Some patients may also be required to avoid certain physical activities such as high-impact sports, running, or anything that puts excessive pressure on one’s feet.
Things To Look For When Choosing Good Shoes for Flat Feet
What are the best shoes for flat feet? For a majority of flat-feet cases, simply buying the right kind of footwear is the key to walking and feeling better. It is a simple yet effective way of addressing the health demands of most people experiencing the said conditions. People diagnosed with having flat feet or fallen arches need to invest in the right pair of shoes to help them move better and avoid making their conditions even worse. The following shoe features should be taken into account before buying the best type of shoes:
Stability and Support
People with flat feet need shoes that are stiff and firm in the heel area, to avoid too much movement of the heel while walking or running. It is important to strike a proper balance and select shoes that comfortably frame the heel. This keeps the heel from too much twisting and turning and also helps avoid further tendon damage.
Artificial arch support is needed to make up for the natural arch of the feet and help distribute one’s weight evenly. When fallen arches make constant contact with the bottom of the shoe, it will result to persistent pain and discomfort. The best shoe should help take the pressure off the middle of the feet.
In the past, men’s formal shoes don’t usually have arch support, making it less ideal for everyday wear. Nowadays, shoe manufacturers are offering various options for dress shoes that would also be suitable for men with flat feet. A lot of brands now have installed arch support features to address the health and medical needs of their prospective clients.
While wearing high heel and stilettos are certainly not recommended for women with flat feet, a lot of designs for formal shoes are also available in the market today. Women can still look good wearing a dress or skirt with the right shoes without compromising on comfort, security, and style. Given women’s penchant for nice shoes, shoe manufacturers have made it a point to create designs that are aesthetically pleasing while still focusing on providing heel and arch support.
Everyday shoes, walking shoes, and running shoes are also specifically tailored for women of all ages. These have been designed with the woman’s size, shape of the feet, and needs in mind. Gone are the days when women’s shoes are merely the smaller versions of those of the men.
People with flat feet need extra cushions in the heel and arch areas to keep their feet firmly intact and avoid too much movement. Good shoes for low arches have extra cushions that shield the feet from too much pressure when walking or running. At the same time, it provides additional support in the arch area to prevent it from further collapsing and causing more tendon damage.
The primary purpose of installing features and designing shoes for people with flat feet is to restrict the movement of the foot, so that it does not easily twist and turn and cause more damage to the arch and the tendons. Additional cushions are added in the heel area, and the base is made a lot stiffer than regular shoes. These additional features help protect the feet from over pronation and also shield the feet from feeling pain.
Generally, shoes good for flat feet are stiff and straight in the bottom portion. When buying a shoe, it is best to conduct a walking and running test to check whether the middle portion easily bends. If it does, it will not give you the kind of support that your arch and heel needs.
Flat feet require stable and durable shoes that will not easily bend at the middle. If the shoe bends in the toe area only, then it’s probably able to give you enough support. Otherwise, it will only make the condition worse. It is recommended to use shoes that eliminate too much bending and twisting particularly in the heel and arch area.
In choosing good shoes for people with flat feet, it is important to keep proper foot support in mind. The arch and the heel need a lot of protection in order to avoid further damage to the muscles and the tendons of the feet. Arch support in the shoes helps prevent the feet from bearing too much pressure when walking or running and helps to evenly distribute body weight.
Orthotic inserts are also used as additional support. These inserts can be customized to create a perfect mold for the feet and help ease pain and discomfort.
Difference between Stability Shoes and Motion Control Shoes
Stability control shoes features structured cushioning, with extensive support and durability. These shoes are designed to limit excess motion and allow the person to have better impact when the foot hit the ground. Stability shoes are built with an added layer of foam along the instep which is designed to help the user counter overpronation. The heel portion of the shoes is also made extra firm to resist pressure when the feet pushes into it. These shoes are built for neutral runners with mild pronation tendencies. Majority of running and trail shoes are using the stability design.
Motion control shoes use the technology and features of stability control shoes, but with added cushion. It generally has more foam or other padding material added along the arch of the foot. It is designed to provide a more restricted movement for the foot, protecting it from rolling inward. The design of the shoes allows it to hold the foot firmly in place when the body is constantly moving. Because of its added padding material, this type of shoes is usually heavier. Motion control shoes are specifically recommended for runners who are trying to improve the quality of their run because the added weight helps them have a more stable pace and achieve secure steps when their feet hits the ground.
It is important to remember that shoes eventually degrade due to wear and tear. Even if the outer appearance still looks good, constant use will gradually result to a loosening of the areas that are supposed to give support. It is helpful to note any change in how the shoe fits and how it feels when using the shoes. This will be your guide in knowing when to buy a new one. Ultimately, it is the condition of the inner portion of the shoe that will determine which shoes needs replacement.
Looking for the best shoe for flat feet may be a tedious process for some. But armed with the right information and with the proper diagnosis from your doctor, it is surely going to be an enjoyable experience. Most shoe manufacturers have designed and provided various options to cater to both men and women with flat feet. It is then simply a matter of finding the right style and the features that fits your needs.