The Ultimate Guide To Foot Types
Different Foot Types
Get a group of people together without shoes and socks. You’ll be staring down at a bunch of bare feet, all considerably different from the other. Even on the same person, you may see differences between the left and right foot.
Take another closer look at the various feet in front of you and you may notice something quite significant about how much contact the actual foot has with the ground. This is one of the factors that determines different foot types. Look at the arches of the feet. Is it low, high or practically non-existent? At this point you are probably wondering if foot types play any significance in the role of our feet. Consider this, your feet support your entire body. Not only that, the shape of your feet, and your arches can determine how well you stay balanced when you’re upright and how well you maintain your body’s alignment.
When we get to the gist of foot types, they most commonly come in 3 types. A normal foot has a bit of an arch. Then there are also feet with high arches and those completely devoid of arches are referred to as flat feet.
Does any of this mean anything? Absolutely! For one, your foot type should play a key role in how you select your shoes. The different foot types also come with different problems. When you understand your foot type, you can also address any foot issues before they become a problem. This ultimate guide to foot types will help you discover your foot type (if you don’t know it already) and know how to best take care of your foot health.
Know Your Foot Type
To determine which foot type category your feet belong in, you need to make an imprint of your foot. You can smear dye or ink on the bottom of your feet and then take a step or two on some paper or cardboard. Effective, but messy. It’s much simpler to wet your feet and stand on a piece of flat cardboard. Your feet should leave a decent print. Look at how your foot prints look on the cardboard. You will see one of the three main types of foot and it mainly has to do with the arches.
A neutral or normal foot has a medium arch. If you have a neutral foot type your foot print will show your toes, the ball of your foot and the heel. There should only be an indentation or blank space in the middle of the print along your instep. This is the most common foot type and it is considered to be the one that has the least risk of many foot problems.
You can wear almost any type of shoes or boots with a neutral foot, however, there are a number of points to consider. Regardless of the type of shoes you wish to purchase, the main consideration should always be a good fit. That means your shoes should neither be too loose or too tight. If you are a runner or have a job where you spend many hours on your feet, choose comfortable shoes with an arch support that will contour to the natural shape of your foot type.
If your foot type is flat foot you have relatively low arches. On a footprint, you will see your entire foot, or most of it. Flat feet, or fallen arches as they are commonly referred to, have a tendency to lean inwards, or pronate. This can adversely affect the stability of your feet and cause a number of issues. Many people with flat feet suffer from pain in their heels and the area where the arch should be. The pain tends to be worse during periods of extended activity and it can be quite an obstacle for people who need to spend a lot of time on their feet.
Flat feet can also cause problems in the knees, hips and even the spine, especially when running with flat feet. Because the instep does lean inwards, it changes the alignment of your legs, which in turn can cause pain to radiate to higher parts of your body. This problem can become worse with age and includes problems such as heel spurs, tendonitis and stiffness or swelling along the entire length of the leg.
Fortunately, having flat feet doesn’t automatically mean you will have problems and many flat foots go through life without any problems at all. For those that do exhibit symptoms, help is at hand. You can have insoles for your shoes with corrective arches. These are usually custom made and do much in offering comfort and support.
If you have high arches, or pes cavus, your footprint will show your toes, heels and most of the balls of your feet, but there will be a considerable gap in the arch region. People with high arches tend to have a pronounced outer step, or excessive supination. This foot type seems to have the most problems with sufferers seeming to put most of their weight and balance on the balls of the foot and the heel. The problems with high arches can be numerous. The ankles seem to suffer most of the strain and as a result, bone damage is often a factor, with susceptibility to stress fractures being a major complication.
Other problems with pes cavus include inflamed heels, resulting in severe pain. Pain is also common in the tendons and the ankle itself has limited flexibility. This problem can be corrected with orthotics but the process can take years to correct. This includes regular visits to podiatrists and orthopedic specialists. As the foot starts to correct, new orthotics may need to be made as part of continued treatment. In worse case scenarios, surgery may be needed to correct excessively high arches.
Just like minor cases of low arches, those with minor cases of high arches may also be fortunate enough to not suffer from pain or any of the other symptoms. However, the sooner the problem is detected and treated, the better.
Before you start getting anxious about your personal foot type, relax. If you have or had problems, you’re probably already aware of them and, as we’ve mentioned earlier, not all low or high arches cause problems. Other factors also come into foot related problems, regardless of their type and they include things like age, weight, genetics and lifestyle.
Your foot problems could also be related to choosing the wrong footwear. Perhaps you have a habit of choosing shoes based on price or style without considering your comfort. Style shouldn’t be a problem because shoe manufacturers often feature a range of trendy orthotic shoes that look great and take care of your feet. Then comes price. Pinching pennies has become a necessity for many people but shoes are the one item of clothing you don’t want to skimp on. That doesn’t mean you need to go for the most expensive, but keep in mind that cheap shoes are often made with inferior quality materials and the workmanship leaves a lot to be desired as well. Instead of having a wardrobe full of cheap, uncomfortable shoes, opt for two or three that are well made with quality materials. Yes, they will cost you more, but they are definitely worth the expense.
As you’ve probably noticed, we all have different feet. Even your own two feet most likely do not mirror each other and one is likely to be slightly longer than the other. Apart from arches determining your foot type, the width of your feet are also likely to be very different from those of the people around you. Some people have seemingly long and narrow feet, while others have relatively wide feet, particularly around the toes and balls of the feet. That is why many people do not like sharing their shoes or letting family or friends borrow them. They aren’t being selfish or stingy, they just don’t like the idea of their shoes losing their custom shape.
If you are suffering from frequently painful feet, and you’re not sure why, find out your foot type and check your shoes. If you’re not sure of what you should be doing, you really should get your feet looked at by podiatrist. A podiatrist will look at how you stand, how you walk and any other activity that involves you being on your feet. Once a diagnosis is made, your foot care specialist can advise you on the best types of shoes to wear, arrange for custom orthotics or give you exercises to alleviate your symptoms naturally.
Pay attention to your feet and, in particular, your foot type. The most important thing to remember is that any symptoms or pain you feel in your feet can cause problems in your ankles, knees, hips and all the way up your spine. Correcting your stance and natural alignment is crucial no matter what foot type you have.