No one wants to live in pain or discomfort. Particularly when it comes to one of the most essential, human life skills; walking.
If you suffer from flat feet, then you understand.
Beyond discomfort, flat feet affect the rest of your body too. Not only can flat feet cause skeletal misalignment, but they can exacerbate existing foot conditions including inflammation of your heel.
Enough is enough! It's time for a solution, and nothing is better than the best shoe inserts. Continue reading to learn more, and how to decide which will work best for your lifestyle.
How Do I Tell If I Have Flat Feet?
Flat feet isn't the only reason why you could be having foot pain. If you are genuinely confused about what it could be, seeing a medical professional is always your best bet.
However, there is a quick test you can try at home if you suspect you suffer from flat feet.
1. Go to a location where you would be able to see your wet footprint easily and bring a something filled with water to dip your bare foot in.
2. Dip one of your bare feet in the water.
3. Take a full step on the concrete with your wet, bare foot. Look at the wet footprint. Is there a curve present? Or is the entire bottom of your foot present? If it's totally present, then it's a good chance you suffer from flat feet.
How Do Shoe Inserts Work?
A shoe insert (or insole) is the padding within your shoe, directly underneath your foot. They are used for a variety of reasons; they can help neutralize unwanted odors, add greater comfort and balance to those who are on their feet all day, and yes, offer greater arch support.
For whatever reason you find yourself purchasing insoles, the goal is always the same; to bring your foot back to its natural alignment and bolster the health of your overall skeletal system.
With arch support specifically, it's to help fix over-pronation in your gait. Pronation is the normal movement of the foot which occurs when it lands. Over-pronation happens when the arch is lessened, and the foot tilts inward as it lands.
You don't want this to happen, as this can lead to a whole host of health problems.
Choosing the Best Shoe Inserts For You
It is of paramount importance you find the right shoe insert for you. If you don't, you could do just as much damage to your body as not even having it at all. If you're going to put money and time into this, then do it right and find the best.
The metric of finding the best shoe inserts which are right for you are based on three basic components: fit, durability, and arch support.
Finding the Right Amount of Arch
Ultimately, this is what you're looking for more than anything. You're hoping the insole will raise your arch in order to help absorb the shock of impact every time your feet hit the ground.
Insoles will come in various sizes regarding arch support, and it's your job to know which is going to work best for you. Having an insole lift your arch too high can end up being just as destructive to your foot as having not enough arch support.
Like Goldilocks, you want your arch support to be "just right" otherwise it won't be beneficial to you at all.
Make it Fit Like a Glove
This next point is almost as important as the first. If the insole doesn't fit properly within the shoe, then the arch support will not line up with the arch of your foot and the shoe insert is pointless.
Also, having gaps between the insert and the ends of your inner shoe can lead to potential discomfort and balance issues as well.
While you may be able to trim an insert to better fit inside your shoe if it's overlarge, it's always best to simply find a company which makes well-fitting inserts.
The Best Shoe Inserts Should Go the Distance
In deciding the needed durability of your shoe inserts, ask yourself, what activity will I be doing most often in this shoe?
Will you simply be standing for prolonged periods of time? You'll be looking for a more flexible insert for that added cushion.
Will you be running or performing other aerobic activity? You'll be looking for a more rigid insole which can keep the arch supported through more intense impact.
Whatever activity you're doing, be sure the insole is made from the best material. A good insole should last 1 to 2 years, but some of the cheaper ones will last only a few months.
It may cost more in the short term to dish out cash for the best shoe inserts, but in the long run, your bank account (and your feet) will thank you.
Caring for Your Insoles
Once you find a pair of well-fitted inserts, you need to know how to take care of them so they last the long haul. Here are a few tips to keep them in peak condition:
1. Let them Dry
This is especially for those of you with sweaty feet or those prone to splash around in puddles; don't let your inserts dry in your shoes. It can shorten their life and lower their performance. Remove them, pat them gently with a paper towel to remove excess moisture, and set them out to dry.
2. Keep them Clean
Feet are not always the cleanest parts of our bodies (let's be honest), and since insoles make regular contact with them it's good to wash them every once in a while. When you do, be sure to wash them with lukewarm water and a mild soap or detergent. After you're done, leave them out to air dry.
3. Look them Over
Be sure to remove the inserts regularly and inspect them. Check the rate of deterioration and replace the insoles as needed. There's nothing worse than keeping an insert in your shoes that is no longer doing its job.
Don't let discomfort stop you from taking an active part in your own life. Flat feet is not something to take lightly as it can lead to some very serious health problems.
If you or someone you know suffers from flat feet, don't hesitate to contact a local health care professional and find the best shoe inserts out there.
Are your feet in pain and curious if this is the reason? Take the water test and begin the journey to healthy feet.