What about Arch Support?

By Moses Jacob, DC
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Foot Anatomy

The foot is comprised of the ankle, forefoot (metatarsals) and the joints of the five digits or toes. In all there are 26 bones and 30 joints in the foot. These joints are connected by supportive ligaments. Various muscle at the back, top and bottom of the foot, function as the joint movers.  Geometrically the foot consists of three arches formed by the tarsal and metatarsal bone and their respective muscles and ligaments. The three arches are called the medial and lateral longitudinal arches and an anterior transverse arch. The feet support all one’s body weight. Functionally the arches behave like springs and shock absorbers of an individual’s weight on standing, and during walking or running. When functioning properly these anatomic structures allow for human locomotion- and are pain free. Pronation is the natural movement of the foot during walking or running. 

 When Things Go Wrong

Some abnormal foot conditions include flat feet,  or high arches ( cavus foot),  over-pronation, ankle pain, plantar fasciitis, or heel spurs may  be pain free. However when these conditions are injured and become irritated and inflamed,   arch supports or shoe insert may be recommended for the care and management for the above conditions.

Arch supports or orthotic shoe inserts or orthotic insoles serve as a  cushion and  help  support balance  to manage and alleviate pain from  these conditions.

Who Needs Arch Support?

People who lifestyle and activities result in foot pain, for example  runners or other athletes.

Does Arch Support Work?

Studies have shown that conventional semi-custom foot insoles, when coupled with home bases exercises are effective in relieving foot pain. See s below.

Where Can I Get Them?

There are low cost, non-prescription  arch supports available at sporting goods stores or on line. Custom orthotics often made by taking a mold or impression of the feet are available and prescribed by chiropractors, podiatrists or sports physicians. These vary from soft plastics, leather or hard materials.

How Much Do They Cost?

Inexpensive inserts run anywhere from $25 to 75. Prescription orthotics will, of course, cost more and can run upwards of $300 to 700 but you are getting much more for your money.



Eur J Phys Rehabil Med. 2018 Mar 16. doi: 10.23736/S1973-9087.18.05108-0.

The effect of different foot orthoses on pain and health related quality of life in painful flexible flat foot: a randomized controlled trial.

Yurt Y1, Şener G2, Yakut Y3.


CAD-CAM and conventionally designed insoles are both more effective than having sham insole in alleviating pain in painful flexible flatfoot.


CAD-CAM and conventionally designed semicustom insoles in conjunction with a home-based exercise program are both effective in controlling pain compared with sham insole and exercise in painful flexible flatfoot. Clinicians can prescribe both types of semicustom insoles as a part of conservative treatment instead of each other.

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Moses Jacob, DC
Author: Moses Jacob, DC