Foot pain happens to everyone once in a while – particularly if you suddenly increase your aerobic exercise or spend a long, long day at the mall doing Christmas shopping – but recurring foot pain tends to indicate that something's a bit amiss when it comes to the health of your feet. Fallen arches are one of the more common causes of this kind of pain, with about 10% of people experiencing it at one point or another in their lives. So if you want to know how you know if you may have arches that are falling down – and how to fix them – then here's what you need to know.
One of the largest indicators of having fallen or falling arches is the heel pain that tends to accompany it. You can have heel pain from walking around in a pair of un-broken-in shoes quite easily, or from being on your feet too long, but when the heel pain is constant, that's a sure sign that there's a problem – this is especially true if your heel pain is (as commonly happens with falling or fallen arches) accompanied by the swelling, be it minor or major, of the bottom of your foot.
Another signifier of fallen arches is the stretched out, sore feeling that your feet might have. Because your foot isn't functioning properly, it causes undue stress on parts of the foot that shouldn't be stressed (like your Achilles' tendon) and make your feet feel stretched and sore in a way that even frequent foot massages can't quite cure. If your feet constantly feel like they've been put through the wringer with little to no change in your daily walking habits (and especially if you notice that you're walking more on the inside of your foot than usual), it's probably a safe bet that your arches are in need of some structural support.
Here's the Remedy
No, having fallen (or currently falling) arches doesn't mean that you're doomed to a lifetime of unfashionable orthopedic shoes that look more like clogs than actual shoes – quite the opposite, in fact. So long as your shoe has room for an arch supporting shoe insert, you can wear whatever shoes you please. Arch supporting inserts help to lift and maintain your arches at a normal level, reducing pain and stress on the foot. They come in a variety of sizes so as to fit feet of any size, from small children's sizes to adult feet that are larger than average, and are usually as small as possible (and in a discreet black color) to prevent people from seeing them in your shoe. If you have problems with fallen arches, check with your local shoe supplier and see if arch supports are right for you.