According to the National Foot Health Assessment, 8 percent of U.S. adults ages 21 and older (about 18 million people) have flat feet. Another 4 percent, or about 8 million U.S. adults, have fallen arches.
What are Flat Feet?
People who have flat feet have a very low arch and one or both of their feet lie flat on the ground. The arches help distribute the body weight evenly across the feet and legs. The arches need to be sturdy as well as flexible to accommodate a wide variety of surfaces. For people with flat feet, their feet may roll over to the inner side when they are standing and/or walking. This is called overpronation, and it may lead to the feet pointing outward. Flat feet can also occur as normal arches “fall” over time. Many years of standing, walking and running can significantly weaken the arches.
Flat Feet in the Work Environment
Quite often workers have to stand and/or walk for long periods of time on hard flooring with poorly fitted footwear. Workers in certain industries like manufacturing, construction, warehousing, logistics etc. are at a higher risk of foot injuries due to the physical demands of their work and obligatory footwear requirements which may include heavy steel toe or ESD Boots. This can often lead to blisters, malformations of toes, fallen arches (flat feet), bunions etc.
Many people with flat feet do not face any problems and need no treatment. However, others may experience symptoms like tired and achy feet, specifically around the arches and heels, swollen feet, difficulty in standing on toes, back and leg pain etc. For these people it is advised to take proper care by using ergonomic insoles or orthotics made for flat feet.
Benefit of Insoles for flat feet
Convenience – Foot therapists can help relieve the pain, however they are both time-consuming and expensive. Insoles can be bought over the counter, inserted into shoes, and they provide instant relief.
Affordable – Custom made orthotics are quite expensive and may/ may not be covered by insurance. Insoles are more affordable.
Effective – Treatments and therapy can take multiple sessions before there is any relief, and even then, the patient has to continue with the exercises. Insoles are the most effective way to experience relief quickly. They can be used all day without taking up extra time and effort.
Which insoles to use for flat feet?
There are a lot of over-the-counter insoles that you can buy for flat feet. How to decide which one is right for you? Look for insoles that offer these features:
- Right amount of structure, flexibility and stability
- Provides adaptable comfort and shock absorption
- Allows variable arch-support and motion-control
- Lightweight with breathable materials
- Can be trimmed
- Washable and odor resistant
In terms of material, consider insoles made with high density memory foam (for optimum cushioning and comfort) and medical-grade Polyplastic (for arch support).
The MEGAComfort Multi-Thotic insoles, that come with re-attachable orthotic arch-supports, are a good choice for flat feet. These insoles are ergonomically designed by a Doctor, using a patented combination of dual-layer 100% memory foam. The light-green flexible arch-support is recommended for medium/regular arch and the dark-green rigid arch-support is recommended for low arch/pronation support.
The MultiThotic insoles provide adaptable comfort and shock absorption while allowing one to vary the degree of heel, arch-support and motion-control. Made with medical-grade Polyplastic, it is a cost-effective initial replacement to custom-made orthotics. Disclaimer – This article is not a replacement for medical advice.
Here’s what people say about the MEGAComfort MultiThotic insoles: “This is my third pair, over the past five years. The flexible arch works the best for my flat feet. Very good comfort for me.”