Hi, I’m Herman and I’ve put together a definitive guide to buying the best insoles for flat feet.
Isaac Newton once said that ‘what goes up must come down’, and he clearly knew what he was on about as he had a long and illustrious career as a physicist, mathematician and astronomer. Of course, his now famous quote was referring to gravity but has been used to describe a plethora of different situations, so it makes sense to use it when describing flat feet.
When it comes to fallen arches, there is absolutely nothing mysterious about the condition. Every single one of us is born into the world with flat feet, but as the body begins to grow and develop, rapidly begin to get tighter. This means that by the time a child reaches toddler age, they are better able to be mobile. The arches of the foot naturally develop during growth, but there will always be certain instances when the arches don’t develop in the way that they should. In other cases, certain individuals fail to develop arches at all while for some a can develop because of advanced age, injury or illness.
While flat feet are rarely painful, but they can at times, cause issues for those who are on their feet for longer periods of time. This is especially true for athletes who perform there exercises on tracks and paths design for those who run recreationally.
Flat feet are nothing new and have been around since humans took their first steps on this planet. Throughout time, there have been attempts to correct the condition using many different methods, which include the very first insoles ever to be made to be constructed from animal hair collected from barns. With medical advances progressing rapidly, a fallen arch is now taken so seriously that they can be treated on an individual basis, there are no more ‘one size fits all treatments.’
What exactly are insoles for flat feet?
Insoles are used to help correct various foot issues in circumstances where surgery is not a necessity, but comfort can be improved. They are sometimes known as our supports, but in actuality, the large range of orthotics available provide much more than just support to the arches. They are also able to help with an individual’s gait with the use shoe inserts, ankle braces and foot pads. In the past, the only way that in search could be acquired was by visiting the doctor, which would result in a prescription being issued for custom-made inserts created by prosthetic makers. Today, the best insoles for flat feet are readily available in retail outlets, such as Target, Kmart, and Walmart coming along with being available in pharmacies over the counter.
Regardless as to whether you feel more confident purchasing your insoles over the counter or in a supermarket or having them made by a professional, neither product can promise absolute perfection. One way to guarantee the best result is to see your doctor to get a proper diagnosis. This way you are better able to find relief from your symptoms, be it by using economical over the counter products or more expensive custom molded inserts.
The types of orthotics available on the market
The American Podiatric Medical Association states that there are two broad categories of prescription insoles, which are accommodative and functional. Accommodative Orthotics are designed to treat conditions such as fallen arches by providing support and cushioning to the foot that provides comfort. Functional Orthotics help with controlling abnormal motions but don’t work on treating the main problem of fallen arches.
Simply receiving a flat feet diagnosis from your doctor with an accompanying prescription for orthotics does not mean that you need to go to the expense and trouble of custom insoles being made to help correct the condition. Many of the over the counter Orthotics are extremely reliable and are perfect for those who won’t or can’t go down the custom-made route. While over the counter products are more economical, they will provide approximately 6 months of continuous use. Custom made products are much more expensive but will last approximately 1 year.
Considerations to make when shopping for insoles
• The reputation of the brand: many people are inclined to buy a certain brand based on its reputation, which is influenced by advertisements throughout the media or because it is a brand that they have known since childhood. However, you should not allow your preference for a certain brand prevents you from trying out over the counter products from a competitor.
• Price: if you have health insurance that covers the purchase of Orthotics, then the overall price may not be much of a concern to you. However, for many price plays an important role in the product that they will purchase, so understanding what it is that you require from insoles is imperative before purchasing. Always check the small print off your insurance policy as it may well cover Orthotics without you even realizing.
• Returns policy: it has happened to the best of us, we have read favorable reviews online of a product and gone on to purchase it only to find that we cannot make a return afterward. Unfortunately, even the best insoles for flat feet are one of many products that typically cannot be returned due to restrictions surrounding hygiene. This is especially true when purchasing from the internet, so it is recommended to purchase your insoles from a local retailer initially, and if it works out for you, then you will have more confidence when purchasing the second set online.
• Customer reviews: you should always have a long and hard look at the reviews left by customers regarding certain products. While manufacturer reviews are useful, they will always be biased toward the product that they are trying to sell. Customer reviews are one of the most important considerations to make. After all, they have gone through the process of trying and testing the products themselves and have nothing to lose or gain by leaving an honest review.
• Doctor recommendations: your doctor will be able to offer you relevant advice and information regarding the best type of insoles for your problem. Many people appreciate the advice and opinion of their doctor and with good reason. However, this does not mean that you should discredit the opinions of friends and relatives who wear insoles, they definitely have nothing to gain by recommending certain products to you (other than your gratitude).
What are the advantages of wearing insoles?
Insoles offer the individual many benefits, regardless of whether you are wearing custom-made insoles or purchasing over the counter products. Some of the beneficial aspects of the best insoles for flat feet are:
• An Improvement of motion issues.
• Improved posture due to muscle and joint function.
• Can help prevent hairline fractures and stress.
• Less pain and more comfort when on your feet for extended periods of time.
• An Improved social life due to better mobility.
• A return to previously abandoned recreational activities.
• Can help remedy alignment issues of the body.
• Provide relief to joints and limbs of the skeletal system.
• Improved alignment of the feet, reducing pain and discomfort.
• Better support while standing and walking.
Are insoles able to prevent injury?
Unfortunately, it is highly unlikely that insoles are able to prevent injury. They help in many different ways to lift the arches and minimize any pain or discomfort that the individual may be experiencing. However, no insole be they custom made or over the counter can guarantee injury prevention. In fact, if a product promises to be able to do this, then you should move in the opposite direction as fast as you can. It is an unfortunate truth that the majority of manufacturers only care about the bottom line and their profit margins.
Can insoles cause injury?
Various over the counter insoles can worsen certain pre-existing conditions. This places individuals who experience pain of the Achilles tendon, heel pain, knee or back problems, or who have flat feet with a high arch type. Some over the counter products may make false claims that their products can prevent injury as a way to justify a sale price. If you encounter a product that makes these kinds of promises, you should always remain a skeptic.
The best way to look at insoles is as if they were prescription medications. When prescribed and indicated correctly, they provide maximum benefit to the individual. However, if incorrectly prescribed, they can potentially be dangerous. You should never wear insoles if you do not have fallen arches.
Taking care of your orthotics
Take care of your orthotics will ensure that you get maximum use and life out of them. You should get into the habit of regular cleaning with lukewarm water and a mild soap solution. You may think that the hotter the water, the better but Orthotics do not respond well to heat and can easily be damaged by it.
You should also ensure that your insoles are always dry to help prevent the development of athlete’s foot, which can leave you in more pain and discomfort. Taking out your insoles and allowing them to sun dry in UV light can eliminate the bacteria that lead to unpleasant odors.
Best insoles for flat feet
These are the most popular options on the market today:
• Stride Insoles by Tread Labs
• Dr. Scholl’s Pain Relief
• Superfeet Black
• Sof Sole Fit Series
• Powerstep Pinnacle
• Sole Insoles
When it comes to selecting the best insoles for flat feet, you should carefully consider all of the above-mentioned points. When you combine this with your allotted budget, you will be able to find insoles fit-for-purpose. You should aim to slowly break them in when first using them to avoid experiencing blisters.
There are now many different manufacturers on the market who produced orthotic aids, which can help you regain your mobility and improve your overall quality of life. If fallen arches are causing you issues with comfort, then orthotic insoles may just be the best choice that you have made since having them diagnosed by your doctor.