There are 3 main types of feet: flatfeet (planus), high arched feet (cavus) and normal. That is a very general way of looking at feet.  Understand, there are differences in each category that makes each foot unique. Most patients are surprised that each foot needs to be looked at separately because they can be different from each other. So do you need to jump on a scanner at the local Walmart and grocery store to determine your foot type? What does it mean if you don’t have a normal foot? Do you need orthotics? What are orthotics? The experts at Podiatry Care Specialists, PC can help answer these questions and more.

No Foot Pain, No Worries

Foot with SpotlightFirst, just because you don’t have a normal arch does not mean you are going to have foot problems. Most often it is the extreme flatfoot or extreme high arched foot that causes pain. You do not have to run out and scan your foot or buy orthotics just because you think you may have a flatfoot. Also, while the foot scanners are useful, you must realize they give you a picture of what your foot is doing in that moment only. This may not be how your foot looks when you are walking or standing. For that moment in time, anyone of us may appear to have a high arched foot or flatfoot depending on how we are distributing our weight across our feet. Many people believe they have a high arched foot because it appears that way when they are sitting, but it’s what your arch and back of the foot (rearfoot) looks like when you stand and walk that indicates your arch type.


The most common foot type is a mild flatfoot. A flatfoot occurs from multiple reasons including genetics (how your foot was shaped in the womb), injuries, tendon problems, shoe gear, and systemic diseases (i.e. rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, etc.). When a patient with a flatfoot stands, the rearfoot rolls in and if severe, the ankle, knee, and hip can also start to rotate inward. In some cases, this type of foot can result in bunions, hammertoes, Achilles tendinitis, inside ankle pain, arch pain, and plantar fasciitis. If you have any of these problems, they can typically be addressed by a supportive orthotic (a removable arch support that fits into your shoes).

High Arched Feet

A high arched foot also can be genetic, a result of neuromuscular diseases (i.e. Charcot Marie Tooth), or trauma. This type of foot can also result in hammertoes, painful calluses, ball of foot pain, and recurrent ankle sprains. An orthotic will be used to cushion and reduce the pressure on the outside of the ankle to prevent further ankle sprains.

The Benefits of Orthotics

An orthotic is a removable foot insole. These can easily be moved from shoe to shoe. They are made and prescribed based on your individual needs and foot type. There are 2 major varieties: custom and pre-fabricated. The custom orthotics are made from impressions of your feet that are sent to a laboratory and made specifically for you and your individual needs. The pre-fabricated are medical grade orthotics that are pre-made to address specific conditions. We can modify them for you, but they cannot be completely customized to your feet as they are designed based on general foot types. We will help you to determine which type is required for your specific symptoms and needs. 

If you are experiencing foot pain, call us at Podiatry Care Specialists, PC in southeastern PA.  We can determine if your arch type is to blame, and begin treatment to ease your discomfort as promptly as possible. Make an appointment at a convenient location near you by calling us at (877) 905-5907.

Photo Credit: Alexis VIA