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Don’t Float Away!

Picture of pez cavus deformity in the foot

Most people think of a flat arch when thinking of a poor foot type. However in the performance physical therapy world I commonly see the complete opposite extreme in a very high arch, known as a supinated foot. This is a foot that is extremely rigid and cannot shock absorb well. As a result more force is placed onto the lower back, hips and knees, just to name a few areas.

Furthermore, this high arch shifts the majority of the bodyweight laterally, onto the outside of the foot as this is what is mostly in contact with the ground. The body is essentially floating away as less of the foot is in contact with the ground and we will eventually compensate in an attempt to find the ground. These compensations can occur in the foot/ankle, knees or higher up leading to future ailments.

A good pair of shoes is paramount in this situation to provide an arch for the foot to press down on and feel. As the brain senses the arch of the foot it will feel more centered on the ground and the need to compensate will immediately decrease. Furthermore the heel of the foot should be secure within the shoe so that a stable foundation is created for the mid and forefoot (located further down the foot) can function appropriately.

For this reason I recommend a good pair of running shoes to these patients regardless of whether or not they are runners. A good running shoe can reinforce optimal walking/running mechanics, while a bad shoe (running or training) can force the body to compensate, eventually leading to injury. An example of one shoe that I like is the New Balance 1080v6.

Therefore if you have a very high arch, take a look at the shoes you are wearing and check to see if your heel feels secure and you can feel the arch of your foot. If not then you may be floating away!

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