"What are the best shoes for foot arch pain and heel pain?"
That was the number one question put to me as a certified foot specialist in an orthotics store. I custom fit and sold approximately a quarter of a million dollars of plantar fasciitis (the most common cause of foot arch pain) items and I'm very familiar with the condition myself because I've had it.
Why do people ask that question first and foremost? Because arch pain is one of the most common foot ailments causing pain at the heel and sole of the foot and it is often excruciating.
There's a common misconception that we can alleviate plantar fasciitis and our heel and arch pain by buying a new pair of shoes. It's intuitive because we realize that we may not have been wearing proper footwear when we injured our foot.
Now, our foot hurts and we just want to stop the misery. We're ready to do whatever it takes to stop the foot pain.
However, we may be asking the wrong question.
Everyone's arch needs aren't that much different as far as the arch itself, no matter what shape the arch is in at the moment (flat, high or in between). In fact, we don't have an "arch." We have four arches.
We have an arch right under the toe area (called the metatarsal or distal transverse arch), one right above the heel (proximal transverse arch) and one on either side of the foot (the medial (inner) and lateral (outer) arches).
All four of these arches interconnect and form a bridge which we call our arch. (Some researchers don't recognize the arch right above the heel. These folks say we only have three arches, considering it an obsolete term.)
However, while the arches' needs aren't that different, the placement of the arches are different for every person. I could see three people with the same size shoe and custom fit three different orthotics.
The truth is, while many shoe manufacturers try, try as they might, even the best shoes are catered to an average arch and your arch may not be in the average position.
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