How Do My Foot Arches Affect Me?

Blogs, Ankle, Foot, / By Winsen Citra

There are different types of foot arches. Depending on which type you have, some types of shoes may be better for you than other types. It is, therefore, important for you to identify which one you have so that you can select better shoes for when you walk or do sporting  activities.

What are the different types of Foot Arches?

There are three main types. They are:

  1. Normal Arches – The normal arch has the middle part of the arch slightly raised from the ground when weight bearing. This provides you with good shock absorption everytime your foot bears weight.
  2. Flat feet – This is often cited as a problematic foot posture which causes other issues such as knee pain. It is also often referred to as pronated feet. Pronation is how much of an inward leaning motion the ankles and foot have towards the arch. The more pronated you are, the flatter your arches are.
  3. High arches – This is when there is significantly more space between your foot and the floor when you weight bear.

Here’s a picture of what it looks like

Arch Types
How to KNOW which foot arch you have?

There is a simple test called the home water test. You simply wet your foot and then step onto a paper or a dry absorbent mat. The resulting pattern left on the surface will tell you which of the foot arches you have. Here’s a quick video of it.

How do my foot arches affect me?

Normal arch – as the name suggest, this is the natural posture that your foot should have. It allows for even pressure distribution and minimises faulty biomechanics that may affect other body parts like the knee, hip, or lower back.

Flat foot – This foot posture allows our foot to collapse affecting our gait and posture, which can lead to a tremendous amount of stress not only to the foot but to the rest of the body. This imbalance may increase the progression of underlying foot deformities such as bunions and hammertoes and lead to other conditions such as shin splints, tendonitis, or even back pain. It should be noted that many people with this foot posture do not experience any symptoms. Only when you do experience some symptoms do flat footedness become a problem. You should seek a professional to see what the cause of the reduced arch is because the treatment if it is an adult acquired one may be different than if it is genetic.

High arch – this don’t usually cause pain by itself. It does, however, cause you to have a tough time balancing as most of your weight rests on the heel and the ball of the foot. You may also be more likely to experience ankle sprains due to the natural tendency of the ankle to roll out.

What kind of shoe should i wear?

People with reduced foot arches should look for:

  • Shoes with a deep heel cup
  • Shoes that have an anatomical arch shape that supports the foot arches and prevents the arch to collapse

People with high foot arches should look for:

  • Rigid show shank to hold up and support the arch
  • High arch support to help prop the arch up
  • Rigid cushioning to prevent excessive rolling when the heel contacts the ground

Winsen Citra
Principal Physiotherapist

Winsen is graduated from University of Melbourne in 2012. He worked in organisations of various sizes such as Singapore General Hospital, Pain Relief Practice, and Physioclinic before working at Elevate Physiotherapy. He specialises in sports and musculoskeletal injuries and has worked with athletes of various sports such as fencing, dancing, dragon boating, and cycling.

In his spare time he enjoys singing and playing chess.