Identifying Your Foot Arch Type

Sohail Siddiqui
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Dr. Sohail Siddiqui provides the best possible foot and ankle care with conservative therapy and treatment.

FootprintsThere is a saying that goes, variety is the spice of life. This certainly applies to a wide range of areas, including our choices in food. We have many dining options in Florida, which means you can always find something new and delicious to try at Cuban, Italian, or Thai restaurants. It is easy to think of variety in terms of food. But do you know that there is also variety when it comes to foot structures, including the different types of foot arches?

There are essentially three inherent arch types – normal (or “medium”), high (cavus foot), or low (flat feet). A normal arch is the most biomechanically efficient style and is found in roughly 60% of the population. Low arches may cause issues due to excessive pronation, and can sometimes contribute to the development of plantar fasciitis and heel pain. High arches are the opposite in the fact they often cause supination (not enough pronation), along with potentially leading to various ailments.

Since foot arches can play a role in various painful conditions, it’s helpful to know which kind of arch you have. In order to figure out your type, you can follow these simple steps:

  1. Grab a shallow pan—a cookie sheet with a raised edge works well—and gently pour in a thin layer of water to completely cover the bottom of the pan.
  2. Place your pan (or cookie sheet) on the ground.
  3. Place a blank, heavy sheet of paper or a paper shopping bag on the ground in front of the pan.
  4. Step into the water, getting the sole of your foot wet.
  5. Record your wet footprint on the paper or bag by taking a normal step on and off it.

Take a look at the print your foot left on the paper. If you see about half the width of your foot at the midpoint, you likely have normal arches. Should you see a full print, your arches are low. When you only observe a thin line connecting the heel to the ball of the foot—or no connection at all—your arches are high.

Another way to identify your particular foot arch type is to examine the bottoms of your shoes. If the wear along the soles is pretty even across the entire foot, your arches are likely moderately high. Excessive wear along the outer edge can be an indication of high arches. Conversely, excessive wear on the inner edge likely means your arches are low.

When you have either high or low arches, you may experience pain or discomfort in your feet, ankles, knees, and even your hips or back. If this is the case, come in and see us. Foot & Ankle Associates of Florida is proud to provide exceptional foot care at our Orlando, Lake Mary, Mt. Dora, Altamonte Springs, and Kissimmee offices. We can help you with any foot condition that is causing you pain. Call us at 407-339-7759 (or 352-589-9550 if you call from Lake County) or use our online form to request an appointment today.
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