Flat feet, a common deformity found in adults, has been shown to diminish a person’s quality of life by exposing them to further foot damage, poor body stability, and how those factors impact daily activities. For most people, having flat feet doesn’t bother them, as the most symptoms they cause come with discomfort and a lack of support. However, flat feet can be more predisposed towards more foot injuries, and one of the ways podiatrists attempt to resolve this condition is through artificial insoles.
How Artificial Insoles Help Flat Feet
The arches play a vital role in cushioning the impact generated from the pressure we exert walking, running, standing, and so on. Our body weight has a distinct connection with the soles of our feet. Still, for those with pediatric or adult versions of flat feet, the plantar muscle, which helps to support the sole, lacks the internal structure to maintain that weight, thus redistributing bodyweight towards other areas of the feet not made for such force. People with flat feet tend to become more vulnerable to medical conditions such as Achilles tendonitis, hallux valgus, plantar fasciitis, and other conditions affecting the foot’s ligaments and tendons.
One of the ways to correct these issues with textured insoles and artificial arches, which are a successful treatment for flat feet, but according to a study conducted by the Sensors peer-reviewed journal, the texturing, height, and shape of the device can have a drastic impact on the balance and weight distribution achieved while walking. By comparing those with flat feet versus one flat foot, the study also found that subjects with fallen arches tend to lean forward, placing pressure along the front of their feet, and experience it more so than people with only one flat foot. Once gathered, after studying the textured insoles of different heights and shapes using foot sensor devices, the study concluded that while textured insoles did not show a comparable difference in weight distribution, artificial arches improved poor body balance and foot pressure.
Flat Feet and Artificial Arches
For those with either one flat foot or flat feet, artificial arches present an astounding improvement in the foot’s weight distribution and balance than textured insoles. As podiatrists, our goals for caring for our patients involve using technologies like foot pressure sensing devices and customized textured insoles to improve the arch and prevent it from collapsing. As of current, these treatments provide the best alternatives for patients:
- Arch Supports – Custom-designed arches can help improve balance and mold to the feet’ countors and help reduce painful symptoms associated with the condition.
- Stretching exercises – Exercises that work on the plantar muscle can help strengthen it as it attempts to support the foot arch.
- Physical Therapy – Practicing physical therapy can help athletes recover from flat feet injuries and improve walking form and technique.
- Supportive shoes – Like diabetic shoes, shoes made with custom supports can be a more comfortable form of treatment for patients.
For researchers and design engineers, the potential to involve working with footwear manufacturers and develop customization footwear can make great strides in podiatric foot care. However, while studies continue to develop research into better treatment methods, our practice can provide low-cost tools to help patients manage their flat feet and have a better quality of life.