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FLAT FEET vs. HIGH ARCHES

Meta description: This post compares the foot conditions of Flat Feet vs. High-Arch arches. It also gives an award-winning solution to manage both of these conditions.


As a runner for more than three decades, you can say I certainly have experienced my share of foot ailments. Now that I'm in my early 40's, I've come to realize that I want to stay active as long as possible. There is some good news. Runners or anyone else who is flatfooted or has high-arch arches can run free of pain if they follow certain strategies.

Let's compare the differences between being flat-footed and having a high-arch condition. You might identify with any one of them. Next, we can review a proven solution, the one that worked for me.

Flat Feet

Mayo Clinic defines someone who is flat-footed as one who has flat arches. Upon standing, your whole feet touch the floor. Flat-footedness is a common condition. During childhood, the arches may not have developed. Injuries to the area could have also occurred at some point in life.

According to a study conducted by the
Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research, flatfootedness is a condition which impacts our quality of life as the 40+ crowd ages. Many times people do not report feeling any pain at all when they are flat-footed.

Symptoms include:

  • Heel or arch pain that increases during physical activity
  • Swollen ankles

High Arches

According to MedlinePlus.gov a high arch area is from the toes to the heel. If you don't have flat soles, you may have a high arch. This condition is rarer than being flatfooted. They're also more painful because the discomfort is in the middle of the foot. This is the part of the foot where the bones join the toes and ankle are called metatarsals. Higher than average arches are caused by a bone or nerve condition.

Symptoms include:

  • Length of the foot is shorter than average
  • Pain while running, standing, or walking
  • A struggle to fit into shoes


I have a high arch condition with occasional Morton's neuroma flare-ups. My high arch condition used to exasperate when I ran long distances. I said "used to" for a reason. Since I found a SelectFlex, I can say that I am happily running again pain-free.

An Effective Solution

The safest remedy for me was and still is SelectFlex Arch control insoles. A high-arch or flat-footed condition can be debilitating. But I always seem to find comfort when I wear my SelectFlex. Matter of fact, it feels like something is missing when I don't have them on throughout the day.

Here's what I like best about these specific orthotic insoles:

Fast and simple customizable arch support - The unique, proprietary arch control adjuster allows me to quickly modify the support. No need to drop the shoe inserts off to a specialist every time I need an adjustment. I can get running again without interruption or having to wait to receive my insoles back from an ortho facility.

Fits my shoe collection - My sneakers and boots are more comfortable. They require medium to thick socks and this works fine with the SelectFlex inserts. Thin socks nor loose type footwear are not recommended for insoles, and understandably so. I want my feet to stay secure, not wobble.

Provides long-lasting wear - I run daily. I can get a good six months of wear out of one pair. They'll last up to a year if I were to stop running and resume "normal" activity. Not a chance!

It's an award-winning solution- SelectFlex won the Industrial Safety and Hygiene News Best Foot Protection Product of 2020 Award. I must say for me, it's also the best non-surgical solution.

SelectFlex brings comfort for those with:

  • flat-feet conditons - having entirely flat soles
  • high arches - having higher than average arches
  • Morton's Nueroma - experiencing nerve pain near the toes
  • plantar fasciitis - feeling a sharp foot pain caused by inflamed tissue near the heel
  • And a host of other foot conditions

SelectFlex is changing lives for people who run like I do, walk, or just stay active in completing their daily chores. You can take control of your foot condition today! Find out more about this special arch support that is working for me. I bet it will do wonders for you too.


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SUPPORT FOR SOLDIERS WHO CARRY HEAVY LOADS

 May is Military Appreciation Month and May 16th is National Armed Forces Day. SelectFlex dedicates this Blog Article to all active and retired military personnel who have protected us and made our country great. 

PROBLEM – Soldier Injuries Caused by Carrying Excessive Rucksack Loads

When Soldiers and other Service Members are deployed, they not only risk injury and death from combat, but are also exposed to a range of other health threats that may have a negative impact on the mission performance and readiness. (WRAIR: Soldier Health)


Soldiers and Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan routinely carry between 60 and 100 pounds of gear including body armor, weapons and batteries. The heavy loads shouldered over months of duty contribute to the chronic pain soldiers suffer. Muscle strain is a short-term condition that has always been prevalent among soldiers but, after years of war, the number of acute injuries that have progressed to the level of chronic pain has grown significantly.
(NPR: The Weight of War)

A regular rucksack may look similar to a tactical rucksack but they serve two very distinct purposes. The daily rucksack may carry anything from 50 pounds of rocks on a hike to clothes and camping equipment for survival training drills. On the other extreme, tactical backpacks used in combat or simulation exercises average roughly 100 pounds and can get as heavy as 175 pounds. Because the excessive weight compresses or stretches the nerves to the arm, backpack palsy is an increasing problem among military soldiers, who report numbness, weakness, and even paralysis.

Soldiers Foot Related Over-Use Problems Decrease Combat Readiness

  • 80% of soldier’s feet roll inward or pronate, creating painful misalignment and overuse injuries overtime, exacerbated by Rucksack loading.
  • Varying and excessive pack-weight loads cause substantial pain and impair function, reducing mobility and survivability while in combat1.
  • Load related injuries and chronic conditions of the lower extremities (feet /ankles / lower back) hinder mission effectiveness for recruits during basic training and soldiers in infantry units.
  • Supporting Variable Rucksack loads puts enormous strain on the arch of the foot and plantar fascia tendon group, that must unload and absorb compressive pack-weight loads, negatively affecting gait and diminishing mission readiness.
  • Acute and chronic injuries to feet, knees, hips and lower back occur due to the imbalance and misalignment of the musculoskeletal structure, when the foot arch fails to support lower extremities, especially under excessive load.
OBJECTIVE – Reduce Long Term Injuries and Increase Combat Readiness

 

There is an African proverb that states, “It takes a village ...” This maxim also holds true for the holistic approach required for soldiers who are ready, lethal and able to meet the Army’s needs. (AUSA – Health Soldier, Ready Soldier)


There is an African proverb that states, “It takes a village ...” This maxim also holds true for the holistic approach required for soldiers who are ready, lethal and able to meet the Army’s needs.
(AUSA – Health Soldier, Ready Soldier)

Soldier’s feet and lower extremities endure significant hardship due to excessive pack weight carried in the field. Alliance Design & Development Group (ADDG), the designers of SelectFlex, have undertaken the challenge of building a Military-grade insole to support the unique requirements of soldiers. Our patented Variable Resistance Beam (VRB) technology provides selectable levels of suspension to augment and support natural body movement, particularly under load.

The SelectFlex Military version will maintain up to 25 pounds per step, or up to 50,000 pounds per mile of vertical lifting arch support. To put that into perspective, our SelectFlex retail insole provides 3 selectable support settings, with a range of 11 to 17 pounds per step, or 20,000 to 30,0000 pounds of arch lifting support per mile. For the average person, this amount of arch support surpasses the needs of the daily grind of civilian life.

The strain and stress of extreme loads can cause acute and chronic foot injuries, which ultimately leads to diminished combat readiness. Promoting proper pronation and arch deformation control improves balance, ankle stability, and proprioception in the lower extremities under load, regardless of terrain, environment or variable pack weights.

The SelectFlex Military-grade insole will be the only fully adjustable, customizable on demand in-field, all terrain orthotic that’s built for soldier’s boots. They will preserve energy consumption, optimize effectiveness, and help keep warriors in the highest state of readiness.

SOLUTION – Protecting Soldier’s Feet Under Heavy Pack Weight Load

SelectFlex is engineered to provide adjustable dynamic support to meet the variable compressive pack weight load demands on the foot arch of the modern soldier, where the vast majority of injuries originate. It can also provide the warfighter selectable suspension technology to customize and dynamically correct imbalances of the foot and ankle on the move in theater.

The SelectFlex arch suspension system for civilian retail is currently marketed as the PowerLift Arch™, but the same principal applies to military use. Studies have shown that SelectFlex delivers up to 52% increased arch support to help protect feet under heavy pack weight loads. Additional insole benefits for personnel include:

  • Lifts the foot into correct comforting alignment with 3 Selectable Arch Deformation Control Settings providing continuous, Anti-Pronating, Dynamic Alignment and Energy Return to the lower extremities under load
  • Allows for dynamic proportional support to the variable loads placed upon the foot arch throughout the entire gait cycle, custom conforming to each unique arch shape
  • Reduces pronation, aversion and knee deviation under load
  • Improves balance and proprioception in the lower extremities
  • Provides optimal mobility by improving gait under load

ADDG is looking forward to introducing its military version of SelectFlex, which will provide soldiers with dynamic arch support to help relieve the pressures of variable compressive pack weights and alleviate over-use injuries. Our mission is to support our soldiers and keep them battlefield ready.

  1. Dean C. The Modern Warrior’s Combat Load, Washington D.C. Department of the Army, Army Center for Lessons Learned, 2003
  2. George SZ Childs JD, Teyhen DS, et al. Rationale, design and protocol for the prevention of low back pain in the military (POLM) trial (NCT00373009) BMC Musculoskeletal, 2007)
  3. Quinnipiac Motion Analysis Lab Study Phase 1 completed in Jan 2020

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DO I NEED ARCH SUPPORT?

person tying shoes

Your feet are the foundation of your everyday life whether you are casually walking around town, moving about at work, or out for a long run. The human foot is a very complex body part incorporating 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments, and 19 muscles and tendons. Did you know that the average person walks 100,000 miles in a lifetime and your feet sustain roughly 300,000 pounds of downward force for each mile you walk? The arches of your feet bear the brunt of these harmful forces. Getting insoles for your running shoes or other footwear is critical to proper arch support and overall foot health.

WHAT’S YOUR ARCH-TYPE?

The foot arch is the curved portion of the foot that starts just below the ball of the foot and extends to the heel. Foot arches are all unique, but there are three basic types of arch:

  • high, also called a cavus foot
  • low, often called flat feet or fallen arches
  • normal

It is relatively easy to determine your arch type. Simple wet your feet and look at the wet imprint of your foot. A low arch imprint will show the entire bottom of your foot. Low arches are more flexible and tend to roll inward and over-pronate.

low arch

A high arch imprint will only show your heel and the top part of your foot near your toes. High arches are more rigid and are usually classified as supinated.

high arch

A normal arch imprint will show the inside curve of your foot missing. Normal arches are often biomechanically efficient but still can be susceptible to common foot problems like heel pain or ball-of-foot pain.

normal arch

The arches of your feet can change over time as the body grows, as you gain weight, or due to a lack of proper arch support or improper foot alignment. Improper arch support and alignment can cause a chain reaction leading to ankle, knee, hip, and lower back pain. If unaddressed these conditions can lead to other harmful foot or foot-related problems.

PROPER ARCH SUPPORT FOR AN ACTIVE LIFESTYLE

If you lead an active lifestyle, your feet are exposed to even more stress than the average person. If you’re a runner, the gravitational force absorbed by your feet increases to between 3x and 7x your body weight. The foot of a 150-pound runner absorbs 1,000 pounds or more of force for each foot strike. Proper footwear and running insoles, especially for athletic activities, is essential.

Low arches are often biomechanically imbalanced and can lead to common foot problems such as heel pain, arch pain, and plantar fasciitis. Orthotics should provide rearfoot posting and arch support to keep the foot properly aligned and control over-pronation. With high arches, less of the foot surface is absorbing impact placing excessive pressure on your forefoot and rearfoot areas. This may cause foot conditions such as heel pain, ball-of-foot pain, or plantar fasciitis. The use of metatarsal pads in conjunction with an orthotic insole for running is often recommended to provide additional forefoot cushioning. Normal arches, while often more efficient, can still benefit from orthotics insoles with proper arch support, cushioning, and shock absorbing materials for added comfort and foot pain prevention, especially for runners and other active people.

learn more about selectFlex adjustable insoles

BETTER ARCH SUPPORT WITH SELECTFLEX®

Most shoes, including athletic shoes, are designed with very neutral factory insoles that provide minimal arch support and virtually no alignment improvement. Shoe manufacturers realize that everyone’s foot and arch condition are unique and assume that most wearers will replace the factory insole with a proper orthotic insert.

Ever foot arch is unique, so why would you use a one-size-fits-all insole to get the comfort and support you need? The good news is that with the right footwear and foot orthotics you can help to achieve proper body alignment, prevent injuries and maintain a healthy and active lifestyle.

Opting for a customizable solution, like SelectFlex™ Orthotic Insoles [ADD CTA], gives the wearer the ability to choose from three dynamic arch support settings–Medium, Firm, and X-Firm–based on your unique arch condition and level of activity. The adjustable arch feature in SelectFlex provides dynamic support throughout your gait cycle, delivering your chosen level of arch support on every down-step and lifting and releasing energy back on every up-step. And the proprietary heel cup in SelectFlex absorbs impact with up to 50% increased ankle stability and alignment making SelectFlex a perfect choice for anyone who leads a very active lifestyle. Designed in partnership with one of the world’s leading custom medical orthotics companies, SelectFlex offers all the benefits, and arch support, of expensive medical orthotics at a fraction of the cost.

increase energy and shorten recovery time