Fallen arches

Fallen arches are a common problem. They give rise to a number of other common, and painful problems like arthritis, plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, bunions and ankle, knee, hip and back pain.

 

No straight lines

The inner side of your foot is supposed to have an arch in it. There are no straight lines in organic nature and the human foot is no exception.

Curves are cool

Curves dissipate energy very efficiently and that is exactly what your feet need to do.

Jarring

As your arch slowly drops or collapses, your foot (and the rest of you), gets more jarred and therefore strained with every step you take. Instead of rolling your weight onto the ground, fallen arches create a slap. When you slap, you jar your foot, leg, low back and indeed the whole rest of your body.

Rolling is good  Slapping is bad.

Pay attention to how you walk. Check out how your feet make contact with the ground. If you slap, even a little, practice rolling your weight down the outer side of the bottom of your foot. Don’t go too far over, just enough so you get a nice smooth roll.

Heel strike

Our feet naturally turn out a little. When your heel strikes the ground as you walk, it makes first contact with the outside (lateral) part of the heel. Your weight is then supposed to roll up the outer 1/3 of the middle of the sole and swing across in a smooth arc to the big toe.

The further your arch falls the more your weight is transferred along the inside of your foot and straight up to the toes, particularly the big toe.

Try this

Take the heel of your hand and lightly impact a desk or table with it then drop your fingers straight onto it.Repeat it a few times. Pay attention to how it feels. One impact followed by another. It’s a bit jarring.

Now try this

Now try rolling onto the outside of your hand, as soon as you make contact. Keep rolling as you make contact with your fingertips, one at a time. It’s much smoother. Lightly slapping your hand on a desk a few times won’t hurt you but slap your foot on the ground 100 million times and it’s going to cause problems.

Pay attention

There’s really not much difference between a slap and a roll. Whenever you think of it, pay attention to how you walk. As you bring the weight over your foot, lift the inside arch of your foot just enough to make your weight travel along the outside 1/3 of your foot.

New normal

Try and make this your normal way of walking. It takes effort at first but it does eventually become second nature.

Down and in

If your arch does drop as you step, your ankle, indeed your whole foot, moves (or falls) towards the midline and the ground. That is, your right foot and ankle moves to the left and down, and your left foot and ankle move to the right and down, as your weight moves over the top of them as you walk.

It is only a slight movement but if you pay attention, it is noticeable.

Give yourself a raise

The trick is to not let that happen. It is possible to raise your arches by thinking about it as you walk. When you walk, consciously roll your weight down the outer 1/3 of your foot. Do not let the arch drop down. It is only a subtle difference. If someone is watching you, they should not be able to tell the difference – don’t curl your feet as you walk.

A bit sore

If you are doing this properly, it won’t be long before you get sore in the muscles in the outside front of your lower leg, (the anterior compartment muscles). These are the muscles that hold your arches up, and they are the ones that have gotten lazy if your arches are falling.

A good sign

If they start to hurt, that’s good, it means they are doing their job. Don’t worry the pain will soon subside as they get used to doing what they are supposed to. It will take weeks or months to train them so they are doing what they should without you thinking about it much at all.

Diligent

This way of correcting falling arches requires substantial diligence and effort. If you don’t master it just do it whenever you think about it.

Arch Supports

Arch supports are a much easier and lazier option. You probably don’t need to have arch supports custom made. This is an expensive exercise. Ready made, out of the packet arch supports are brilliant and are relatively cheap. They provide comfort and support for your arches. They are especially useful if you are on your feet a lot or work on a hard surface, like concrete.

They are made of high density foam that act as shock absorbers as well as arch supports.

They work

I wear them and they really make a difference. The best way to use them is think of them as arch reminders. When you feel your arches dropping onto them, lift them up. Just letting your arches collapse onto them is the lazy way of using them. If you lift your arches up, you are training the very muscles that you need to, to correct the problem.