High arched feet, are, unfortunately, among the most misunderstood foot problems. Health and lifestyle magazines, online media, shoe stores and some unscrupulous medical personnel will have you believe that high arched feet always behave in a very specific way. A popular method of “diagnosis” is to perform the wet foot on floor or paper test. If the footprint shows high arched feet then your foot will naturally be supinated and that you should wear shoes suitable for this. This is scientifically incorrect and a failed attempt in trying to simplify foot function for the purpose of selling shoes and related products
Happily, many people with high arched feet go on throughout their life without having any foot problems. For others however, the high arched foot can cause a wide variety of problems. High arched feet have been associated with lower back pain, knee osteoarthritis, Achilles tendon problems, metatarsalgia, ankle injuries, toe deformities and corns. A very high arched foot makes very little contact with the ground which makes it unstable, and this can make the foot either supinate or pronate excessively leading to pain and other issues.
There is a very important bone in the foot known as the talus. This bone sits at the top of the medial longitudinal arch. Contrary to popular belief, this arch does not resemble a man-made arch as seen in buildings or bridges. Its highest point is not situated in the middle of your foot but is instead located under the ankle where the talus sits. The talus, therefore, dictates the shape of the foot.
The normal position of the talus is almost horizontal, at around 18 to 25 degrees. When it points slightly upwards from its correct position then it creates high arched feet. Other nerve and musculoskeletal diseases can affect the talus position and create high arched feet too. Some people inherit high arched feet and so it is also more frequent in some parts of world than in others.
If you have a high arched foot then unfortunately, it is likely permanent. However, the excessive supination or pronation caused by it can be treated. Given its complexities, if you have a high arched foot we recommend that you seek the help of a qualified podiatrist.
We can control the movement of a high arched foot using custom made orthotics and exercises based on a clinical evaluation and gait analyses. Not all high arched feet need arch support or foot arch pain treatment, however. This is another common misconception and can cause many complications down the line, especially if your treatment isn’t customized to your specific situation.