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Tale of Two Feet part 1

Tale of Two Feet part 1

There are two distinct types of structures when it comes to feet. First the high arched (supinated foot/ankle) and second the flat foot (low arched pronated foot/ankle). Each type of foot structure has it’s own strengths and weakness’.

The tale of two feet is such a detailed and important story that we’re going to break it up into two parts. One of these stories is sure to be the right fit for your sore foot.


If your foot leaves that perfect tri-pod impression in the sand, your arch never touches the ground, you have that bump on the top of your foot and back of your heel that rubs on your shoe, you love to go barefoot and your shoes and slippers wear on the outside of your heel, then Congrats You Have a High Arched Foot.

The good news is that generally, people with high arched feet tend to have a stronger, more stable joint and ligamentous supportive structure. The bad news is that what you gain in strength and stability you loose in flexibility.

The primary function of the foot and ankle is to absorb and attenuate shock when the foot hits the ground. The high arched foot tends to be stiff and because your heel(rear foot) strikes on the outside, the torque conversion that normally happens at the ankle is diminished. This lack of shock absorbtion creates a gradual increasing stiffness in the foot and ankle making you more prone to a multitude of painful problems.

Some of the most common complaints we see with people who have high arches is heel pain, heel spurs and plantar fascitis (pain in the arch of the foot). Because the heel, foot and ankle are stiff you can also develop that bump on the back of the heel over your achilles tendon (nodular/insertional achilles tendinitis) that becomes inflammed and painful. The big toe is also prone to pain and stiffness (hallux rigidus) limiting your ability to push off when walking, running or jumping. The high in-step and stiffness of the big toe and 1st ray add to the development of that bump (exostosis)at the top of your foot that becomes painful as it rubs against your shoe. The general stiffness of the high arched foot and ankle also makes you more prone to ankle sprains and developing problems upstream in the knee and hip. As the foot and ankle roll outward it takes the knee with it causing strain to the outside structures of the knee and hip (illiotibial band sydrome) and contributes to patellar (knee-cap) malalignment and tracking problems known to cause knee pain and inflammation.

The good news is that all of these painful foot and ankle conditions are completely treatable by the therapists at MCOPT.

We will identify and treat painful pressure points in the calf, achilles tendon, ankle, heel and plantar fascia to eliminate soft tissue restrictions that are contributing to the stiffness and lack of shock absorbtion in your foot and ankle. We will also use hands-on techniques to mobilize the stiff joints in your ankle, heel, mid-foot, 1st ray and big toe facilitating a return of normal mechanics to increase efficient shock absorbtion.

Wearing proper shoes with running, jumping and sports related activities is a must. Generally speaking, the high arched foot performs better with a more flexible or free type running shoe. Custom orthotics (shoe insoles) may also be recommended to get you off the outside of your heel and increase efficient shock absorbtion of your foot and ankle.

Activity modification during the painful stage is essential. Cross training methods such as cycling, swimming and eliptical use will allow you to stay active while eliminating excessive impact activities that are contributing to your ongoing foot, ankle and achilles pain. Once the pain stabilizes you’ll be instructed in a comprehensive program to safely return you to full activity levels including distance running, jogging and sports activities.

If your high arched, stiff feet are causing you pain and restricting your sports and exercise activities the P.T.'s at MCOPT can help. “You can get better and stay better.”

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