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Footwear & Footcare

Your footwear directly impacts the overall health of your feet. It is important that your shoes contour to your feet and match with the overall width and shape of your foot (WebMD). If you notice that your feet are sore and frequently tired you may need to start with better shoes. If you are wearing the wrong shoes, foot pain and other issues can result. Learning more about your feet, the right and wrong shoes and general footcare can help to ensure that your feet are healthier. However, if you've tried new footwear and are still having pain, your footcare routine may need work and understanding your arch type is an excellent first step.

Foot Arch Types
There are three primary types of foot arches and knowing the type that you have plays an important role in helping you choose the best type of footwear. The three types include:
(Medline Plus) 

  • Flat feet: With this type of arch, your foot tends to over-pronate and roll inward when you are walking. This makes you more vulnerable to arch pain, heel pain and plantar fasciitis. An estimated eight percent of adults in the US have flat feet.
  • Medium arch: This type of arch is moderately flexible and biomechanically efficient. However, you may still be prone to discomfort in the balls of your feet and heels.
  • High arch: This arch type causes a lot of pressure on your forefoot and rearfoot. Your arch sits high, and your foot tends to be very rigid. Pain in the balls of your feet and heels, and plantar fasciitis, are possible with a high arch.

Shoes to Avoid
Your shoes can either help or hurt your feet. It is important to choose shoes with adequate support for the type of arch that you have. Certain shoes are not ideal no matter your type of arch:

  • Flip flops: These shoes offer little to no support for your feet and may increase your risk of plantar fasciitis.
  • Worn-out shoes: If your shoes are worn out, they lack the arch support that your feet need. They are also not ideal for orthotic insoles.
  • High heels: These shoes can lead to foot pain and issues like bunions due to lack of support and forcing your feet into an unnatural position when you are wearing them.
  • Pointed shoes: Since these shoes squish your toes, they may cause structural damage and pain over time.

Taking Good Care of Your Feet
Before you spend a great deal of money on new shoes, consider the addition of an arch support insole to your existing shoe. If your shoes are in need of replacing, make sure to get a pair that offers space in the toe box. If you do choose to add an arch support, you want to keep pressure off the end of the foot and avoid pushing down on the tops or ends of your toenails
(Better Health). The right orthotic insoles can ensure proper footcare and better comfort.

They can also be beneficial for the following conditions:

  • Arthritis
  • Bursitis
  • Flat feet
  • Heel spurs
  • Injuries
  • Back pain
  • Bunions
  • Diabetes
  • Hammer toes
  • High arches
  • Plantar fasciitis

In addition to considering your arch type, you need to figure out what you will be doing in your shoes to pick the right inserts. For example, will you be using your shoes to run or engage in moderate to vigorous exercise? If so, you will need more support than if you just use your shoes for casual walking. It is also important to think about how often you will wear your shoes since you want a sturdier insert if you wear them daily and for extended periods of time.

All of these factors will help determine which inserts are the right choice for you. One of the best options includes customizable arch support shoe inserts like SelectFlex. These orthotic insoles are not typical shoe inserts, as they offer customizeable arch support through their patented PowerLift Arch® suspension system.

Now is time to make sure that you are doing everything that you can for your feet with SelectFlex Arch Control Insoles. These shoe inserts offer customizable arch support due to their adjustable technology. This allows for optimal support and comfort with every step that you take. Along with good routine footcare, you can significantly reduce your risk of foot problems. Take control of your Footcare today! Find out more about this special Arch-Control Insole.



Characteristics & Anatomy Of The Foot

The feet are the foundation of support for the pelvis, spine and lower body. They provide the necessary stability to perform daily activities. The foot and ankle form a complex system which consists of 28 bones, 33 joints, 112 ligaments, controlled by 13 extrinsic and 21 intrinsic muscles. The foot is subdivided into the rear-foot, mid-foot & fore-foot and central to the success of the pedal foundation is its “arched structure”. The Arched Structure is a complex of three bony arches: the medial longitudinal arch, the lateral longitudinal arch and the anterior transverse (metatarsal) arch.(Physio-Pedia)

Arches of Foot

The 3 arches of the foot allow the foot to absorb downward forces and act as a rigid lever during gait propulsion:

  • Medial Longitudinal Arch: The most obvious arch is seen along the medial aspect of the foot. The navicular bone forms the "keystone" of this large and long arch, which is supported primarily by the plantar fascia and spring ligament. The muscles of the foot and lower leg do not provide support for the medial arch, except during toe-off when walking or while standing on tip-toe.
  • Lateral Longitudinal Arch (LLA): This arch is located along the outside of each foot and relies much less on connective tissues for its support. For this reason, proper function of the lateral arch is extremely dependent on the alignment of the cuboid bone, which is frequently found to be in need of adjustment. Proper support for this arch is at least as important as for the other two, but is surprisingly absent in many orthotics.
  • Transverse (Metatarsal) Arch: This arch extends from the metatarsal heads back to the tarsal bones, and runs from the medial to the lateral sides of the foot. At its most anterior portion, the metatarsal heads contact the ground. Poor function and loss of this arch will often result in a build-up of thick callus underneath the metatarsal heads. Recurrent "dropped" metatarsal heads and/or irritation of one of the interdigital nerves (a "Morton's neuroma") is also a good indications that this arch is not being supported properly by the plantar fascia(Dynamic Chiropractic)

Static and Dynamic Support With Orthotics

The structural design of the three-arched plantar vault is very good at supporting weight and carrying heavy loads, while remaining flexible. During normal standing, the load of the body is balanced over the center of the foot, anterior to the ankle. This places the greatest amount of load at the apex of the three arches. This force is then distributed along the "buttresses" of the arches to the heel (which bears 50 percent to 60 percent of body weight) and the metatarsal heads (which bear 40 percent to 50 percent of body weight). Loss of this configuration will result in abnormal force concentrations, which will eventually cause degenerative and symptomatic clinical conditions. (Foot Education) 

During gait, the foot undergoes substantial changes. The arches and connective tissues must sustain the stress of heel strike, then adapt to the ground during stance phase, and finally become a rigid lever to provide an efficient push-off. This must all occur in a coordinated manner, with no glitches or hang-ups. The foot must permit a smooth transfer of the body's center of mass over the leg to conserve energy and keep the work expenditure to a minimum. The heavier a patient is, the greater the stresses on the feet and ankles.

Collapse or dysfunction of any of the arches needs to be addressed with flexible yet stabilizing orthotics that will support the patient's foot both during standing (static support) and throughout the gait cycle (dynamic support), while controlling the impact forces. There is one actual insole that provides “Dynamic” support called SelectFlex which uses a patented arch lifting technology called the PowerLift Arch. The PowerLift Arch provides the wearer with 3 levels to support the arch with dynamic alignment with every step. This unique arch technology dynamically lifts your arch into a comforting sine wave motion that provides up to 89% more arch support with every step.


How is Energy Return Important? [StatIc vs. Dynamic Insoles]

Energy Return is important for foot health and mobility. There are many types of Energy Return provided by footwear and insoles.

Most footwear and insoles are basically static, absorb and cushion energy but do not return significant energy nor dynamic alignment.

The best footwear and insoles generate greater alignment with the body, joint health and more energy at the end of the day from easier movement and less pain from their support of the body.

The most competitive footwear will propel or push you forward more efficiently when running, while the best insoles create and maintain support for your lower extremities.

The Holy Grail for marquee footwear manufacturers is to provide quantifiable energy return for their customers feet that produce quicker running times and higher performance.

NIKE React Foam technology was recently used in their marathon running shoe soles with a carbon fiber footpad. Nike achieved the Holy Grail of true 13% energy return while providing 4% propulsion for faster marathon times. Nikes high performance foam uniquely absorbs foot strike energy on the down step and releases it during toe-off with marathon setting results.

Conversely, soft materials are great at absorbing energy but are very inefficient at returning energy. This is often found in insoles that use foam to absorb impact, cushion and support the foot but are unable to return meaningful energy.

Protalus foam insoles do a good job of stabilizing the heel with their triplanar technology but do NOT return energy to the foot. Dr. Scholls inserts has the same foam limitation without the stabilising heel.

Foam is comprised of a matrix of thin walled air cells packed together within a polymer form, that individually begin to break down and compress over time, reducing the impact, cushioning and support they were originally designed to provide.

SelectFlex is an entirely new type of dynamic energy returning insole on the market that just won the ISHN Best Protective Footwear category for 2020.

SelectFlex insoles use a patented energy returning arch lifting technology called the PowerLift Arch. The PowerLift Arch provides the wearer with 3 energy return levels to support the arch with dynamic alignment with every step.

This unique arch technology dynamically lifts your arch into a comforting sine wave motion that provides up to 89% more arch support with every step. SelectFlex recently completed an in depth study at a major University. The revolutionary Certified Lab Tests & Performance Benefits measured, sets SelectFlex apart from static footwear and insoles.

For the first time, there is finally an insole that dynamically returns energy to the foot and the arch by lifting it into comforting re-alignment!