How To Choose Proper Shoe Insoles And Maintenance Tips

You may be a fan of outdoor activities and enjoy being engaged in activities which keep you on your feet for long periods of time. But due to some physical conditions there may be pain caused which hinders your ability to stay lead the active lifestyle you desire. There may be various reasons causing discomfort but there are many insoles which provide relief to such painful conditions and sometime provide therapeutic benefits. There are various types of shoe inserts which range from arch support insoles to heel inserts but choosing the right support is key to getting the relief you need.

Types Of Shoe Insoles

Firstly, there are comfort insoles which have shock-absorbing properties designed to provide relief when standing or walking on hard surfaces for prolonged periods of time. The sizes range from full length, ¾ length, or separate arch or heel inserts. Most basic types of discomfort generally find relief with this variety but if the pain still persists it would be ideal to consider support type insoles. They are made of harder material and are designed to provide structural support and more stability. Support insoles are recommended for conditions such as structural misalignment, plantar fasciitis, and supination or over-pronation.

Another type of insert is that for those suffering from low or collapsed arches. These individuals generally require arch support insoles. In some occasions a supportive insole would also be helpful. This works by stimulating the foot arch muscles to become active. By stabilizing the heel area it distributes pressure across the foot without allowing it to be concentrated at the foot arch. This is an alternative method used when direct arch support adds more discomfort by inhibiting normal flexing movements of the foot.

Caring For Your Shoe Inserts

The following steps are recommended to ensure you shoe inserts are properly maintained and avoid any unwanted side effects from occurring.

The normal lifespan of insoles are about 12 month following daily or regular use. It is important to follow the prescribed use time by manufacturers. If you use them rarely or alternating with other pairs this duration may increase.

Remove shoe inserts regularly from shoes and dry them out if you experience sweaty or wet feet.

Washing insoles with mild detergents and air drying completely before use is also recommended for hygienic purposes.

Inspect your insoles on a regular basis for signs of wear and tear and replace accordingly.

How to Fix Flat Feet

Flat feet. Fallen Arches. You definitely know if you have it and if you suspect you do, one very simple way to tell is to press your bare foot into an area of damp grass or on a wet paper towel and then step onto a dry spot on the sidewalk. If you see the entire bottom of your foot in the footprint, it’s a pretty good indicator that you have flat feet. There should be an open area in the inner foot print between the base of your toes and heel.

Flat feet affects all ages – even babies who are just learning to walk. But in the case of young children, the issue will usually correct itself as the child grown and the bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles strengthen with use and walking. For adults, however, no matter what the reason for the flat feet, some work is needed to fix the problem.

Here are 5 things you can do daily to strengthen and ultimately help to fix your flat feet.

Keep them straight. Take a minute to evaluate your standing position. Stand up and walk around the room for a minute. Stop and look straight ahead. Now, without changing the position of your feet, look down and see which way your feet are pointing. For most people, if they were to draw an imaginary straight line out of their pinky toe they would find their feet are pointing outward – almost to the point of “duck feet”. If that’s the case with you, turn your foot at the ankle so that the imaginary line goes straight out in front of you – so that the lines from both feet are parallel and headed toward any object in the distance in front of you. Remember that position. Every time you stop to stand still take notice of your foot position and adjust accordingly.

Roll the knees out. Once your feet are in the straight position mentioned above, try to bounce your knee caps up and down. Can you? Most people can’t. Keep trying. Usually it’s easiest to try to raise them up and then let them go. Once you’ve bounced them up and down a few times try to roll your knees open without lifting your feet or bending your knees. Be patient, this isn’t easy! Imagine trying to get your knees to look at each side wall. What you should notice is that your feet miraculously “get” an arch. Again, every time you stop to stand still, get those feet in position and try the knee roll.

Lift up your toes. This one you can do while you are standing (hold on to a chair if needed) or while you’re sitting. With your feet on the ground, spread your toes wide and then lift your toes into the air while keeping the ball of your foot and your heel on the ground. Drop them to the ground again. Now the next time try lifting each toe up in a wave starting with the big toe over to the pinky toe until they’re all up again. Put them back down in opposite order. This helps to strengthen the individual muscles in the foot. If you’re standing while trying this exercise, remember your foot position and try to keep those knees rolled.

Massage the arch. Using a tennis ball or similar child’s play ball, massage the arch of your foot daily by rolling your foot back and forth on the ball. Stand and sink into the ball with your foot but don’t put your full body weight on the ball. Switch to the other foot.

Stretch your calves. One of foot guru, body alignment expert and biomechanist, Katy Bowman’s go to exercises for any type of foot problem is a calf stretch. Put the ball of your foot on the top of a rolled up towel and drop your heel to the ground. Keeping the weight in the heel of that foot, slowly try to inch your free foot forward. Switch to the other side.

If you’re experiencing pain from your flat feet, wear a shoe with arch support occasionally to help with the pain. Make sure to see your podiatrist if the pain persists or if you know you’ve had an injury or experienced trauma to the foot.

Over time, as you strengthen and stretch your foot muscles you’ll find that your flat feet will no longer be flat! Try the water test again and see if there’s a change! Either way, your feet will be healthier and happier after some focused work and exercise.