An estimated 20 to 30 percent of the population suffers from foot conditions such as flat feet or fallen arches. Below, Daniel L. Wiernik, D.P.M., of Orlando Orthopaedic Center answers the more common questions he hears regarding foot health and choosing the right insoles.
Q: What’s the purpose of an insole? What should I know above all else when choosing an insole?
A: Insoles aid in controlling the way your foot functions. They can provide added support and protection for your feet, as well as increase comfort by accommodating the shape of your foot. When choosing an insole, the most important thing to keep in mind is the type of arch your foot has, low or high. Above all, they should feel very comfortable and supportive to you when you try them on.
Q: How can I tell if the insole I’m using is working? Is it possible it might make me feel better but be causing damage?
A: You’ll know your insole is a good match for you if you feel relief or improvement in your condition. Your insole wouldn’t cause you damage without you noticing. If your insole were causing damage, you would feel your condition getting worse.
Q: What are the different types of insoles I should use for conditions like flat feet, low arches, and high arches? Also, what’s the difference between a full-length and a ¾ length insole?
A: Flat feet to medium-arch conditions benefit from more rigid inserts that will help your foot with control. I would recommend more flexible orthotics with more cushion for high arches. A ¾ length insole is used more commonly to help control your foot. Full length insoles have additional padding in the forefoot and can be modified to help specific forefoot conditions.
Q: What are the most common foot injuries you see and how do they occur?
A: Heel pain is one of the most common injuries I see, sometimes called Heel Spur Syndrome. This is an overuse condition commonly found in people who are becoming more active and may be carrying a little too much weight and wearing non-supportive shoes.
Appropriate treatment would be a lot of calf stretching and choose a good walking athletic shoe with arch support. If pain continues, you may want to seek consultation for X-rays to rule out underlying stress reactions.