Arch Support

The foot consists three arches: two “longitudinal” arches run from front to back and one “transverse arch” runs across the midfoot from inside to outside.

The medial longitudinal arch is what is typically referred to as simply, “the arch.” It runs from front to back along the inside of the foot. This arch absorbs the majority of the shock of impact while walking, jumping or running.

The lateral longitudinal arch, runs parallel to the medial longitudinal arch, but is along the outer edge of the foot. Foot print “0” below, shows how prominent this arch can be; it is most visible in people with very high arches.

The final foot arch is called the “transverse arch.” This arch also provides support and flexibility to the foot [1].

The arches of the foot are maintained by ligaments, muscles and tendons.

Learn Your Foot Type: Take the “Wet Test”

1. Watch this video.

2. Observe your foot print

3. Match it to one of the arch types below

Normal (Neutral) Arch
Wet TestIf you see about half of your arch, you have the most common foot type and are considered a normal pronator. Your foot does not need much additional support and you can probably wear any type of sneaker with no side effects

Flat (low) Arch

Wet TestIf you see almost your entire footprint, you have a flat foot.  This means you’re an overpronator. This means that your arch collapses inward too much as you walk, resulting in excessive foot inward-motion which can increasing your risk of injuries. You need stability shoes, supportive insoles to reduce pronation, or motion-control shoes, which have firmer support devices and are best for overpronators.

High Arch

Wet TestIf you see just your heel, the ball of your foot, and a thin line on the outside of your foot, you have a high arch, the least common foot type. This means you’re likely an underpronator, or supinator, which can result in too much shock traveling up your legs, since your arch doesn’t collapse enough to absorb it. Underpronators are best suited to neutral-cushioned shoes because they need a softer, flexible midsole to encourage foot pronation. It’s vital that an underpronator’s shoes have no added stability devices to reduce or control pronation, the way a stability or motion-control shoe would.

Table [1, 2]

Bibliography:

[1] “Foot Pain: High Arches and Flat Feet” http://adam.about.net/reports/000061_10.htm.  Accessed 3/28/2012

[2] “Shoe Fit Guide”: http://www.zappos.com/running-shoe-fit-guide.  Accessed 3/28/2012

Video: http://bcove.me/00szycs3.  Accessed 3/28/2012

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