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  • Writer's pictureFoot Theory Arch Supports

How Arch Supports May Help Relieve Your Foot Pain

Key Takeaways:

Benefits of Using Arch Supports:

  • Improves Posture: Properly fitted arch supports align the body and correct the foot position.

  • Reduces Foot Stress: They serve as shock absorbers, reducing the pressure on feet and ankles during movement.

  • Increases Stability: Enhanced balance and coordination are side benefits of using arch supports, aiding in daily activities and sports.

Choosing the Right Arch Support:

  • Foam Inserts: Ideal for short-term relief from temporary foot pain.

  • Plastic or Graphite: These materials offer durable, long-term comfort for chronic foot pain.

  • Custom vs OTC Supports: Custom orthotics are made-to-measure for your feet, while over-the-counter options provide a general fit for common foot shapes.


Foot pain is a common problem

Foot Pain can affect people of all ages. From athletes to office workers, many individuals experience aches and pains in their feet on a regular basis. While there are many potential causes of foot discomfort, one solution that can provide relief is arch support. In this article, we’ll explore how arch supports work and their benefits for reducing foot pain.

Illustration of a side view of a foot radiating red to illustrate foot pain.
Foot pain may present as a shooting, stabbing sensation, a dull ache, or a burning feeling.

What Causes Foot Pain?

Sources of foot pain include injuries, muscle strains, arthritis, nerve problems, and structural issues in the foot itself. Some common areas prone to pain are the arch, heel, ball of the foot, and toes. Foot pain may present as a shooting, stabbing sensation, a dull ache, or a burning feeling. No matter the location or type of pain, it can make standing, walking, running or other activities difficult and uncomfortable.


What are Arch Supports?

Arch supports are devices that are designed to support the arches of the feet. By providing stability and promoting proper alignment, arch supports can be an effective way to minimize many types of foot pain. They work by reducing stress on the plantar fascia (ligament along the bottom of the foot) and take pressure off sensitive areas. Continue reading to learn more about how arch supports can bring relief to tired, sore feet.

Arch supports, also sometimes called orthotics, are devices placed inside shoes to support the arches of the feet. They are designed to improve foot function and alignment by providing a firm base. Custom orthotics are specially molded supports made from impressions of an individual’s feet. However, there are also effective over-the-counter arch supports available in pre-fabricated sizes.

An image illustrating a person stepping on an arch support orthotic and getting relief.
Arch supports require a precision fit in order to be affective. Incorrectly fitted Arch Supports may do more harm than good.

Arch supports can be made from a variety of materials, including:

  • Foam - lightweight and affordable option good for temporary pain relief

  • Plastic - firm and durable, better for long-term wear

  • Graphite - thin and rigid for optimum control and stability

  • Metal - strong and supportive but not usually recommended for long periods

In addition to standalone inserts, arch supports can also be built directly into shoes. Many athletic shoes are constructed with added arch reinforcement. Sandals, slippers, and specialty footwear like work boots may also integrate contoured arch support.

How Arch Supports Reduce Foot Pain

There are several ways that arch supports help minimize foot discomfort:

Improve Body Alignment

Arch supports bring the feet into proper alignment, which takes the pressure off areas prone to pain. When arches are unsupported, the feet can excessively roll inward or flatten out, placing strain on the plantar fascia and joints. By supporting the arches, foot function normalizes. This improves posture and alignment of the ankles, knees, hips, and back as well.

Reduce Stress on Feet and Ankles

The arches of the feet serve as shock absorbers. However, when arches are flat or high-arched, impact from walking and running can affect joints, tendons, and ligaments in the feet and ankles. Arch supports provide stability to decrease the stress on these structures. The improved distribution of force can relieve associated pain.

Enhance Balance and Stability

The foot’s arch structure plays an important role in balance and coordination. When arches are unsupported, it can throw off the body’s equilibrium. Arch supports help restore optimal arch form to enhance stability. This is especially beneficial for older adults concerned about fall prevention.



Improve Alignment

Guide feet into the proper position

Reduce Joint Stress

Decrease impact on feet/ankles

Enhance Stability

Improve balance/coordination

Types of Arch Supports

There are two main categories of arch supports:

General Support

  • Provide cushioning and mildly reinforce arches

  • Help with temporary pain or mild issues

  • Often made of soft, accommodating materials like foam

  • Good for short-term wear or recovery from injury/strain

Support for Specific Conditions

  • Tailored to certain foot types and arch problems

  • Made of firmer, more rigid materials

  • For issues like plantar fasciitis or chronic pain


  • High arch support - reinforce high, rigid arches

  • Flat feet support - lift collapsed arches

  • Metatarsal support - ease forefoot pain

  • Heel support - cushion heels and ankles

Choosing the Right Arch Support

There are a few factors to keep in mind when selecting arch supports:

  • Activity - Choose appropriate support for sport versus everyday shoes. Athletic arch supports have more impact absorption.

  • Severity of pain - Mild vs. intense and chronic pain determines if specialized orthotics are needed.

  • Budget - Custom orthotics are more expensive than generic supports. Check if covered by insurance when prescribed.

It’s advisable to replace arch supports every 6-12 months depending on wear. Visit a podiatrist if pain persists with the use of over-the-counter supports. They can evaluate your feet and determine if custom orthotics are required.


For those suffering from foot pain, arch supports can provide an effective solution. By supporting the arches and promoting proper foot alignment, arch supports reduce strain on joints and tissues. This alleviates pain associated with impact and overuse. Arch supports also enhance stability for better balance and coordination.

When selecting arch supports, consider factors like activity, severity of pain, and budget. Replace supports periodically as needed. See an arch support specialist at Foot Theory if over-the-counter options do not adequately control discomfort. With the right arch support, you can step out with comfort and confidence.


Still unsure which type of support is best for you?

Schedule a free arch support fitting with Foot Theory Orthotics in Raleigh, North Carolina. Their experts can analyze your feet, walking patterns, and needs to find the optimal orthotics to relieve foot pain.

Frequently Asked Questions about Arch Supports

Q: What purpose do arch supports serve for foot health?

A: Arch supports are designed to provide support to the natural arches of your feet, leading to improved posture, reduced pain, and better overall foot health.

Q: How effective are arch supports for conditions like plantar fasciitis?

Q: When should I consider custom-made arch supports over pre-made ones?

Q: Can the right arch support boost athletic performance?

Q: Are there arch supports available for different types of shoes?

Q: Can arch supports alone resolve my foot issues?

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