Typically, the need for arch supports is associated with people who have low arches or “fallen” arches. Arch supports help to cushion and lift the arch of the foot in order to support the joints in the body, such as the ankles, knees and lower back.
But arch supports are not simply to help support low arches. People with high arches are equally at risk for putting undue pressure on the ankle and knee joints. When you have a high arch, chances are that your shoes do not touch the highest part of your plantar fascia ligament — the ligament that stretches along the arch of your foot. This leaves a gap between the arch of your foot and your shoe, meaning the pressure on your entire body weight is resting on your plantar fascia ligament.
When your arches are unsupported for an extended period of time, the plantar fascia can become stretched and damaged. This leads to chronic pain in the bottom of your foot, as well as potential pain in your ankles, knees and lower back.
How does an arch support reduce joint pain?
An arch support, or shoe orthotic insert, helps to bridge the gap between your shoe and the bottom of your foot caused by high arches. When the arch of your foot can properly rest on an insert, it reduces the risk of wearing down over time and causing chronic foot pain. The question becomes whether to invest in custom orthotics or to purchase over-the-counter inserts.
Custom orthotics are made by taking a mold of your foot and tailoring each insert to fit your arches. If you have high arches, this is the best way to ensure that your foot is getting proper support. Over-the-counter inserts have options for high arches, but the height of your arch might be different from the norm, which means you risk still having a gap between your insert and your foot.