Arch supports, or foot orthotics, come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and you can improve poor foot function with arch supports. According to the Sports Medicine Patient Advisor, "Your arch needs extra support. Taping your arch or using an extra arch support in your shoe may give you the support you need." Since arch supports can be relatively inexpensive and easy to use, they often represent the best place to begin.
Find the Right Support
Determine what type of arch you have. Whether you have a low, medium or high arch depends on the arch of your foot when it is not bearing weight. A foot may appear flat when it bears weight but will have some arch when pressing the heel and the toes inward.
Identify what type of arch support you need. Insoles cover the entire length of the shoe, and heel supports focus on the mid-foot to the back. Ball supports go in the front, keeping high heels from slipping.
Decide how many you need. Determine which shoes will require their own pair of supports. Arch supports come designed to fit specific shoe types, including boots, tennis shoes, dress shoes or high heels.
Insert the Supports
Remove arch supports built into the shoes that might interfere with the effectiveness of the new support. Use scissors, but take care so as not to affect any other part of the shoe.
Insert the arch support according to the specific directions, using glue when recommended.
Make sure the shoe with the added arch support fits comfortably before trying to wear it for any length of time.
Wear the Supports
Wear arch supports for short periods, allowing your feet to become accustomed to them, which will minimize the chance of foot pain.
Increase the time daily until you can wear them all day without foot pain.
Replace arch supports as recommended or when you notice they no longer add support.
June Beck holds an M.A. in English studies and teaches English at a community college. In her spare time she's a writer for hire. She has been published in "Ascent Aspirations" and "The Women's Press;" she also writes for The Union Advocate, a quarterly newsletter, and has completed her first novel, "The Possibility of Justine."