Foot Arches & Types
The arches of the foot, formed by the tarsal & metatarsal bones, strengthened by ligaments and tendons, allow the foot to support the weight of the body in the erect posture with the least weight.
The bone structure of foot forms four natural arches in the foot, which runs in length (Longitudinal arch) & width wise ( Transverse arch) of foot. The arches are not rigid, as they do not anchored to permanent, immovable abutments. The arches give support to the foot and helps in lots of functions.
1.Longitudanal arch: There are two types of longitudinal
a). Inner/medial longitudinal arch: The medial longitudinal arch is composed by the calcaneum (Oscalcis), Astragalus (talus), Navicular (Scaphoid) navicular, 3 cuneiforms and medial 3 ™metatarsals. It is the highest arch in the foot. This has flexibility and provides shock absorption and propulsion.
b).Outer/lateral longitudinal arch: This is formed by Oscalsis, cuboid and two metatarsals (4th & 5th). This arch is nearly flat and lacks mobility.It’s involved in receiving and supporting the body weight during walking and running.
Difference between Medial and Lateral arches
|Medial longitudinal arch||Lateral longitudinal arch|
|Formed by more bones and more joints||Formed by less bones and less joints|
|Characteristic feature is resiliency||Characteristic feature is rigidity|
|Higher and more mobile||Lower and less mobile|
|Involved in propulsion (i.e., initiating the next step during walking)||Involved in receiving and supporting the body weight|
|Summit is formed by the talus||Summit is formed by the calcaneum|
|Main joint is talocalcaneonavicular joint (the most vulnerable part of the arch)||Main joint is calcaneocuboid (the most vulnerable part of the arch|
2. Posterior Transverse arch: It creates only half of the dome in a single foot. The entire dome is composed when both feet are brought together. It forms by the both the feet through the base of 5th metatarsals, cuboid, and cuneiform. It is more rigid than longitudinal arches and protects the main blood vessels and nerves supporting the sole.
3. Anterior metatarsal arch: This arch is visible only when the weight is off. This is absent when the weight is on. The heads of the metatarsals create the anterior transverse arch. This arch helps to distribute the body weight thus allowing the elastic properties of the foot. The strong ligaments in this metatarsals which joins them together prevents the arch spreading too much and a disproportionate amount of pressure going on to the middle metatarsals heads when the foot bears the weight of the body.
a. Low arch Foot: Very flexible foot with an arch that sits low to the ground.
Low arches are more flexible and tend to roll inwards and over-pronate. Low arches are often biomechanically imbalanced and can make your feet more susceptible to common foot problems such as heel pain, arch pain and plantar fasciitis.
The right footwear and foot orthotics can help you achieve proper body alignment, prevent injuries and maintain a healthy and active lifestyle. Approximately 20% of the population has low arches.
Potential Problems: Over-pronation, plantar fasciitis, post-tibial tendonitis, heel spurs, medial knee problems, bunions
Orthotics: Orthotics should incorporate medial rearfoot posting and arch support to keep the foot aligned and help control over-pronation
b. Medium Arch : Biomechanically efficient foot. Moderately flexible foot. Defined arch.
Approximately 60% of the population has medium arches.
Medium arches are often biomechanically efficient but still can be susceptible to common foot problems such as heel pain or ball-of-foot discomfort.
Your feet are always on the go and will greatly benefit from some extra cushioning, shock absorption and support. The right footwear and foot orthotics can help you achieve proper body alignment, prevent injuries and maintain a healthy and active lifestyle.
Potential Problems: Susceptible to common foot problems such as heel pain and metatarsalgia from repetitive stress and improper fitting footwear.
Orthotics: Orthotics should have arch support, cushioning and shock absorbing materials for comfort and foot pain prevention.
c. High Arch : Very rigid foot with an arch that sits higher from the ground. Well defined arch. Gives excessive pressure to rearfoot and forefoot.
Approximately 20% of the population has high arches. High arches are usually classified as supinated and are more rigid than other feet. When we walk or run, our feet absorb most of the impact and shock. With high arches you have less surface area for absorbing impact and you place excessive pressure on your rearfoot and forefoot areas. This can make you susceptible to foot conditions such as heel pain, ball-of-foot pain or plantar fasciitis.
Right orthotics can help fill in your arch cavity to disperse the shock, and provide the cushioning and alignment needed for you to prevent injuries and maintain a healthy and active lifestyle.
Potential Problems: Plantar fasciitis, heel pain syndrome, arch strain, metatarsalgia, calluses, claw toes
Orthotics: Orthotics should have proper arch support, metatarsal pads for forefoot relief, and strong cushioning properties.
- Part of the article and “Art types” and few images has taken from https://www.foot.com/arch-types/
- Manual of Shoemaking- Clarks