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Are Orthotics Good or Bad For Flat Feet?

A question we are often asked in our podiatry practice is “Would orthotics be good for my flat feet?

The short answer is “Yes” but like any good consumer, you should understand why.

Flat Feet and Fallen Arches

The terms “flat feet” and “fallen arches” are used to describe the same problem. They are often used interchangeably but for the sake of this article I’ll just be using Flat Feet.

I instruct my patient to remember that flat feet are caused by the foot not functioning properly. A flat foot has an arch that has collapsed due to the collapse of different bones in the foot.

There are two types of Flat Feet

Rigid Flat Feet (RFF) – someone with RFF has an almost solid foot with no arch. So, if someone with RFF were to put their foot in cement while they were sitting or while they were standing, the imprint would be the same.

Flexibile Flat Feet (FFF) – this type of flatfoot is the more common one. Someone with FFF has an arch while they are sitting, but when they put weight on the foot by standing, the foot becomes flat.

Custom Orthotics For Flat Feet

Do custom orthotics work? Well, now that you are aware that there are different types of flat feet you can see that having custom orthotics vs. over the counter ones would be more beneficial in the long run.

With differences in the type of flat feet problems you may have and the differences in the overall structure of your feet, a custom orthotic would be the best product for the best results.

A good orthotic (we recommend Full Contact orthotics) is supportive enough to control the body weight and as a result are excellent for flat feet.

The material in the Full Contact orthotics will give you the support that you need.

You may be tempted to use a soft, cushiony foot orthotic but these types cannot support the body weight so they cannot give you the full support you need. They may feel good temporarily, but in the long run, will stop working and can actually contribute to back pain.

Patients also need to remember that if they are casted for orthotics and they are standing during the casting then the cast is giving the lab an impression of a flat foot not an impression of a corrected foot.

When I take an impression for foot orthotics, the patient is sitting down and the foot is put through a simulated gait cycle allowing for correction of the foot which is then captured in the impression. When it’s done in this manner the lab is getting a corrected foot to make the orthotic from.

In our opinion, Full Contact orthotics are the best orthotics made.