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Why Arch Supports Hurt Flat Feet and How to Relieve the Pain

If your arch supports cause you pain then it's a sign that they are causing you more harm than good. Find out what to look out for and what to do about them here.

Joel Taylor
By Joel Taylor
a woman wearing a red sweater and a necklace
Edited by Taj Schlebusch

Updated March 29, 2023.

Many foot conditions require the use of insoles or extra arch support to manage symptoms such as pain. Although they usually take some getting used to in the beginning, there is a golden rule of new insoles that states that your level of pain should never be worse than it was before you'd ever worn insoles.

If your feet hurt more after adding some arch support insoles to your shoes, then it may be a dangerous sign that needs to be evaluated.

» Looking for high-quality orthotics? Take a look at the best insoles for flat feet

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Painful Insoles Are Not Made Correctly

Correctly designed insoles are meant to support the foot's arch, which is especially true in individuals who suffer from fallen or collapsed arches. Adding extra support to the foot's arch may feel a little uncomfortable at first, but, at the very least, it will redistribute pressure enough to reduce some degree of pain.

If the insoles actually cause you more pain, then there is something about them that isn't meant for your feet.

Although there are many potential errors in design, some of the main ones are listed below:

  • Arch supports that are too high will push your foot from overpronation to supination and cause extra pressure and pain in a different area of your foot.
  • Incorrectly sized arch supports can cause restrictions in your foot's movement and force them to readjust to accommodate the awkward position, putting extra pressure on the midsole and causing more pain.
  • Worn-out insoles will no longer provide the correct support to your feet and could cause more harm than good.

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What Can You Do About Painful Insoles?

If your insoles are hurting after the normal 3-week break-in period, then it's clear that they aren't made for your specifications. If they are a general pair of over-the-counter insoles, then it's a sign that you may require a pair of custom orthotics, whereas if they are already a pair of custom orthotics, then it's a sign that they were not made correctly and will need to be reevaluated by a podiatrist.

» Still not sure if orthotics are the right choice for you? Learn more about their benefits in our Custom Orthotics for Flat Feet Review