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Foot Health Blog

Find expert articles from physical therapists and podiatrists to help understand, diagnose, and treat different foot health issues such as plantar fasciitis, bunions, flat feet, and more.
A person fitting an insole to the base of their foot. preview image

A pair of insoles placed next to a pair of bright blue running shoes, against a blue background.
Orthotics6 Best Basketball Shoe Insoles for Flat Feet—Boost Your GameActions commonly associated with playing basketball, like running, jumping, and changing direction quickly, can lead to foot problems and injuries. These include plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, ankle sprains, joint fractures, etc. Players with flat feet are more susceptible to injury because, without foot arches, the natural shock-absorbing qualities of their feet are reduced. But by wearing the correct insoles, your feet receive proper arch support and heel cushioning, reducing foot pain and improving natural balance. Below we've listed the best basketball insoles for flat feet to boost your performance during your game. Top 6 Basketball Shoe Insoles for Flat Feet as Recommended by Experts Best Overall Insoles: Upstep Basketball Custom OrthoticsBest Cork Insoles: SOLE Performance MediumBest Pain-Relieving Insoles: Superfeet Run Pain ReliefBest Thick Insoles: Protalus M-75Best Short Insoles: Tread Labs Pace Short Best Shock-Absorbing Insoles: URthotics Active/Sports 1. Best Overall Basketball Shoe Insoles for Flat Feet ProsTailor-madeLightweight and durableCompatible with any sneakerFSA and HSA eligible180-day money-back guaranteeConsShort waiting period before receiving your insoles Upstep’s Basketball Custom Orthotics are custom-made to suit the exact shape of your flat feet, ensuring maximum comfort and support. This lightweight custom insole is designed to absorb shocks and maximize energy return without dragging you down. The top layer of the insole absorbs moisture, helping to control odor and making sure your feet don't slip. They'll easily fit within low-, mid-, or high-top sneakers for on-the-court comfort. These custom orthotics are affordable, with different payment options, including FSA and HSA cards. Each pair becomes cheaper as you purchase more. Upstep has a 180-day money-back guarantee on all orthotics and offers free shipping and returns (including adjustments). 2. Best Cork Insoles for Basketball Shoes ProsSustainableBuilt-in metatarsal padAffordable90-day guaranteeConsMolding process may cause incorrect fit and supportNot specifically designed for basketball shoes SOLE Performance Medium Insoles With Met Pad offer optimal comfort through a built-in metatarsal pad, designed to support your forefoot. The insoles support your feet in their natural position, while providing good arch support and cushioning for flat feet. Additionally, these insoles are affordable and have a 90-day guarantee, reducing your risk when making a purchase. The insoles are bought standard and require you to heat up and mold the insole to the shape of your feet. This process does leave room for error to provide an improper fit and support. Also, these insoles are not specifically designed for basketball players and may be better suited for other activities. 3. Best Pain-Relieving Insoles for Basketball Shoes ProsRemovable shoe stabilizerOdor controlTherapeutic foamAffordableConsOwn trimming can result in an uncomfortable fitMore suited toward running and walking Superfeet Run Pain Relief Insoles are designed for those with an active lifestyle and include a removable shoe stabilizer to increase structure and support. Its durable design further includes a moisture wick for odor control and therapeutic foam that reduces friction while protecting and cushioning your feet. These insoles are affordable and available in multiple sizes. You're required to trim the insole to fit in your shoes. However, if done incorrectly, this can result in an uncomfortable fit and diminished support. These insoles are also more suited for running and walking. 4. Best Thick Insoles for Basketball Shoes ProsSuitable for full-volume shoesTri-planar alignment systemHigher sides to reduce pressure90-day money-back guaranteeConsNot custom-madeMay provide insufficient support Protalus M-75 Insoles boast maximum comfort and support (including your arches) at an affordable price. Ideal for full-volume shoes, like basketball shoes, these insoles can be placed straight inside your shoes if you can't remove the factory insoles. The higher sides aim to reduce pressure placed on your feet while Protalus's signature tri-planar alignment system moves your body into its proper position. These insoles can be bought over the counter and come with a 90-day money-back guarantee. However, the M-75 insoles are not custom-made and may possibly not provide you with the same support as custom orthotics. 5. Best Short Insoles for Basketball Shoes ProsMedical-gradeExtra firm supportDeep heel cupConsNot custom-madeBetter suited for tight-fitting shoes Tread Labs Pace Short Insoles are medical-grade insoles designed to give extra firm support, perfect for those with plantar fasciitis or overpronation. The insoles don't run the length of the shoe, instead focusing mostly on the heel and arch area. The deep heel cup aims to reduce impact, improve balance, and reduce foot pain. The insoles have a choice of four different arch heights. However, they're not designed specifically for basketball, nor are they custom-made to the exact shape of your feet. These insoles are better suited for tight-fitting shoes like ballet flats, dress shoes, and other footwear without a removable insert. 6. Best Shock-Absorbing Insoles for Basketball Shoes ProsCustom-madeCustom arch supportComfortableFSA and HSA eligible6-months money-back guaranteeConsWaiting period before receiving your insolesNot specifically designed for basketball URthotics Active/Sports Insoles are custom-made insoles designed for those who have an active lifestyle and partake in sports. These durable insoles provide custom arch support based on your foot shape while their impact-absorbing qualities maximize comfort during all your sporting activities. Affordable and FSA/HSA eligible, URthotics insoles also come with a 6-month money-back guarantee. While these insoles can improve your overall comfort and stability on the court, they are not designed specifically for basketball. Custom Orthotics Slam Dunk Custom orthotics that are professionally manufactured are the best option to provide your feet with sufficient cushioning and support in the long term. Custom orthotics will ensure maximum comfort from the get-go and improve your efficiency on the court while preventing injuries or foot pain. » Not convinced yet? Discover more benefits of orthotics for basketball players
 A pair of hiking boots with insoles standing upright inside of them, placed next to an orange tent on a patch of grass.
Arch7 Best Insoles for Hiking Boots—Get Arch Support for Long WalksWhile many people aren't bothered about the insoles in their shoes, athletes, runners, and hikers need all the extra support and comfort they can get. The average hiker wants a firm, supporting insole in their hiking boots to guarantee a pain-free experience during and after hiking. When you're faced with many choices, you may choose the wrong insole on a whim. To avoid such an uninformed guess, we have carefully selected seven insoles for you to consider. Let’s look at their benefits and differences. Top 7 Hiking Boots Insoles Recommended by Expert Hikers Best Overall Insoles: Upstep Fitness Walking & Hiking Custom OrthoticsBest Stabilizing Insoles: Superfeet Trailblazer ComfortBest Thick Insoles: SOLE Active ThickBest Firm Insoles: Protalus M-100 EliteBest Shock-Absorbing Insoles: Tread Labs PaceBest Pain-Relieving Insoles: URthotics Comfort Best Foam Insoles: FitMyFoot Black Full-Length 1. Best Overall Insoles for Hiking Boots ProsCustom-made by top podiatristsComfort and extra cushioningFSA and HSA Eligible180-day money-back guarantee ConsShort waiting period Upstep Fitness Walking and Hiking Custom Orthotics are custom-made to fit your feet for the utmost in comfort and support. Professional podiatrists custom-make each set of insoles with the help of customer-supplied foot impression kits, premium materials, and state-of-the-art machinery. If you put Upstep insoles in your hiking boots, you won't have to worry about blisters or sore feet no matter how rough the terrain gets. Furthermore, what's the deal here? If you try Upstep insoles and aren't completely satisfied with the results, you can get your money back within 180 days. Buying a pair of Upstep insoles is a win-win proposition. 2. Best Stabilizing Insoles for Hiking Boots ProsMedium to high arch supportStabilize foot on different terrainsHeel impact technologyConsNeeds to be trimmed to fit shoesShifts around causing hot spotsSqueaky noiseCostly compared to alternatives Superfeet Trailblazer Comfort insoles often have a deep heel cup and medium to high arch support to stabilize the foot on different terrain. Invariably, this reduces the stress on the feet, ankles, knees, and lower back. Superfeet insoles are cushioned well enough to make the foot comfortable. They also have heel impact technology for optimal energy transfer during difficult ascents and descents. Unfortunately, they sometimes squeak and shift around in the boots as they may not fit properly, causing hot spots and blisters. However, they are trimmable to achieve fitting. » Do you need insoles for other sporting activities? Discover the best arch support insoles for running and cycling shoes 3. Best Thick Insoles for Hiking Boots ProsCushioned footbedBuilt-in metatarsal padDifferent sizes available ConsToo thick for other shoesNot custom-madeDoes not fit all foot arches SOLE Insoles have been clinically proven to be effective store-bought insoles, reducing the loading of the foot. Apart from a well-cushioned footbed, SOLE Active Thick insoles have a built-in metatarsal pad to increase the cushioning of the feet and forefoot comfort. SOLE Insoles come in varying sizes and are suitable for most arch heights, ensuring one with a natural foot arch. They also fit well in hiking boots and are an affordable option. 4. Best Firm Insoles for Hiking Boots ProsFirm insole for pain relief and comfortMaximum alignmentDifferent sizes availableConsShort-lived usage Flatten out after regular useMay not find the correct size While not specific for hiking, the Protalus M-100 Elite insole provides maximum alignment and support for all kinds of activities. It has a firm insole that guarantees pain relief and comfort. Protalus insoles come in varying sizes so that you can get something as close to your foot size as possible. But they're not very durable as they flatten out within 4 to 6 months, compared to others that last as long as 12 months. 5. Best Shock-Absorbing Insoles for Hiking Boots ProsDifferent arch support heightsVarying sizes availableExtra firm medical-grade supportCons Rigid support may not be for everyoneMust trim them to fit shoesCustomer responsible for shippingLonger waiting time Tread Lab Pace insoles are one of the easiest insoles to accommodate. They provide arch support and improve foot alignment, thus relieving pain and making hiking more comfortable. Tread Lab insoles come in four different arch heights: low, medium, high, and extra high arch height. They also come in different sizes, so you can find the best fit possible. However, this isn't as effective as custom orthotics that are made for your feet specifically. » How beneficial are arch supports? Arch supports are beneficial to your feet and ankles 6. Best Pain-Relieving Insoles for Hiking Boots ProsCustom-made insolesMade for sensitive feetExtra cushion supportConsPricey compared to alternativesLong waiting periodVery noisy when placed in shoes URthotics insoles are excellent for hiking boots despite being more expensive. Those who hike frequently and have feet that are particularly sensitive may benefit from URthotics Comfort insoles. These insoles provide a lot of cushion and support, making them ideal for relieving foot pain. Using 3D imaging technology, they are tailored to each person's unique requirements, foot shape, and activity level. 7. Best Foam Insoles for Hiking Boots ProsCustom-fit insoleFlexible and provides arch supportFirm supportConsCustomer has to pay for shipping30-day product guaranteeNarrow widthHas to be trimmed to fit shoes FitMyFoot Black Full-Length insoles are comfortable because they're custom-fit to give you the best arch support and flexibility possible when you perform your daily activities. This means they're firm enough to support you while hiking, but also flexible enough so your muscles can move appropriately in response to changing terrain. Barring its sub-par returns policy that only lasts 30 days and requires you to pay for your shipping when returning an item, FitMyFoot insoles are a good choice for hiking boots. Hike With Confidence and Comfort Now that we’ve done all the hard work, you can weigh up your options and make an informed choice. While your decision is based on your specific needs, we recommend custom orthotics as the best choice. As the most accommodating and durable option, custom orthotics will provide the most support while hiking. » How do you know if you need arch support? These factors can indicate you need arch support
A fit woman performing side leg raises for peripheral neuropathy relief
Foot exercises5 Daily Exercises for Peripheral Neuropathy ReliefAre you among the 20 million Americans dealing with peripheral neuropathy? If so, you're all too familiar with the muscle weakness, coordination issues, and abnormal sensations it can cause in the hands and feet. While there's no definitive cure, you can still take steps to manage symptoms and improve your quality of life. The impact of this condition is considerable: individuals often experience abnormal sensations in their hands and feet, muscle weakness, and difficulty coordinating movements. While there is currently no definitive cure for peripheral neuropathy, there are numerous ways to manage its symptoms and improve quality of life. These include medication, lifestyle changes, physical therapy, and—perhaps surprisingly—daily exercises. Let's explore five daily exercises for foot neuropathy that can provide relief from the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy. 5 Exercises for Peripheral Neuropathy Calf RaisesChair SquatsSeated Hamstring StretchSide Leg RaisePlantar Fascia Stretch 1. Calf Raises Calf raises may seem simple, but they can be very effective at relieving the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy. By lifting the heel off the ground, you engage and strengthen the calf muscles. This action improves blood flow to the feet, a critical aspect for individuals with peripheral neuropathy who often experience reduced circulation. Additionally, calf raises can enhance balance and stability, aiding those struggling with coordination issues due to nerve damage. Performing calf raises is straightforward and can be done almost anywhere. Stand with your feet hip-distance apart, slowly lift your heels off the ground while keeping your toes planted, and then lower yourself back down. Aim for ten to fifteen repetitions, increasing the number as you become more comfortable. Did You Know?Peripheral neuropathy refers to the range of conditions that occur when the peripheral nervous system—the network of nerves outside the brain and spinal cord—is damaged. » Learn more about Baxter's nerve entrapment 2. Chair Squats Chair squats are a low-impact exercise that targets the leg muscles, promoting better balance and increased circulation. With regular practice, these exercises can mitigate the impact of muscle weakness often seen in peripheral neuropathy. Stand in front of a chair, facing away from it while your feet are shoulder-width apart and your toes are pointing straight ahead.Bend your knees by engaging your core. Ensure your spine remains neutrally aligned.Tap the chair with your butt, but do not sit down. Lift your arms out in front if you need extra balance.Squeeze your glutes and hamstrings to drive your hips forward and up, and return to the starting position.Repeat the squat about five times, gradually increasing the number of repetitions as you become more comfortable. 3. Seated Hamstring Stretch The seated hamstring stretch is an excellent exercise for reducing tension and increasing flexibility in your legs—crucial for preventing potential injuries from lack of coordination or muscle weakness caused by peripheral neuropathy. Sit on the edge of a chair with your back straight and your feet flat on the ground.Extend one leg out in front of you with your heel on the ground and your toes pointing upward.Bend your other leg so the sole of your foot rests against your mid-thigh.Slowly lean forward from your hips, keeping your back straight, and reach your hands towards your toes. Hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds, feeling the stretch in the back of your thigh. Repeat it 2- 3 times per day. Did You Know?Peripheral neuropathy can come about due to numerous factors, including diabetes, autoimmune diseases, infections, exposure to toxins, and certain medications 4. Side Leg Raise Side leg raises target the muscles of the hips and outer thighs, which play a significant role in maintaining balance and stability. For those experiencing coordination issues due to peripheral neuropathy, this exercise can be invaluable. To perform side leg raises, lie on your side on an exercise mat and lift your top leg to a 45-degree angle, hold for a few seconds, then lower your leg. Repeat this on the other side, alternating for several repetitions. 5. Plantar Fascia Stretch A crucial aspect of managing peripheral neuropathy symptoms is improving blood flow. The plantar fascia stretch does just that, targeting the foot's arch and thereby improving circulation. Sit on the floor or on a mat and extend your leg so that only your heel is on the floor.Bend down, hold your big toe, and attempt to bend it backward. Flex your ankle up so that it pulls away from the floor, and hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds. Repeat the exercise on the foot two to four times, gradually increasing the duration and intensity as you become more comfortable. Listen to Your BodyRemember, everyone’s body is different. When exercising, it’s essential to listen to your body and modify movements as necessary. If you feel any pain or discomfort during an exercise, stop and consult with your healthcare provider or a fitness professional. They can help modify the exercise to suit your needs and ensure you're performing it correctly to avoid injury. » Here's how you can strengthen your ankles to prevent further injury Beyond Exercise Exercises serve as a powerful tool for managing peripheral neuropathy. These five activities—calf raises, chair squats, seated hamstring stretches, side leg raises, and plantar fascia stretches—can lead to significant improvements in your flexibility, strength, balance, and circulation, reducing the risk of injury. Supplementing your exercise regimen with custom orthotics can provide additional support. Consider products like Upstep Normal Everyday Activity Custom Orthotics, which are specifically designed for individuals with peripheral neuropathy. They offer shock absorption, enhanced stability, and improved comfort. » Check out these treatments for reversible neuropathy A Proactive Approach Living with peripheral neuropathy is challenging, but remember, you have tools at your disposal. Through a blend of daily exercises and supportive aids like custom orthotics, you can manage your peripheral neuropathy symptoms effectively and lead a fulfilling life with minimal discomfort. The key lies in taking a proactive approach to manage your condition.
A man on the gym floor, sitting and holding his foot in pain due to stress fracture
Foot painExercising with Stress Fractures in the Foot: Dos and Don'tsDid you know that stress fractures account for over 10% of all injuries in sports medicine? These tiny, painful cracks in the bones pose a unique challenge to maintaining an active lifestyle. For those bravely facing this hurdle, we've got your back. Let's dive into understanding stress fractures and exploring how you can remain active without worsening your condition. Understanding Stress Fractures Stress fractures are micro-cracks in your bones, often resulting from repetitive force activities, such as jumping or long-distance running. They are most commonly found in the lower leg or foot, resulting in painful swelling that can make even routine tasks like walking a test of endurance. But what exactly causes these fractures? It boils down to overuse, muscle tightness, and weakness. A sudden surge in activity duration or intensity also ups the risk of developing stress fractures. » Learn about the possible causes of forefoot pain Recovery Timeline and Precautions Typically, a foot stress fracture will have you on a recovery path for around 6-8 weeks. During this period, you'll need to tread lightly to prevent further injury. But don't worry—staying active and nursing your fracture aren't mutually exclusive. Let's explore some safe exercises and those you're better off avoiding during recovery. Vitamin D and Calcium: Key to Bone HealthDid you know that adequate Vitamin D and Calcium intake is essential for bone health? These nutrients help your bones to heal faster from stress fractures. Incorporating foods rich in Vitamin D (like fatty fish, fortified dairy products, and egg yolks) and Calcium (like dairy products, green leafy vegetables, and tofu) into your diet can aid recovery. » Struggling with flat feet? Check out the best insoles for that condition How to Exercise with a Stress Fracture? Exercising with stress fractures requires caution. Aim for activities that sidestep exerting stress on your lower legs (especially repetitive impact), and consult your doctor before introducing any new exercise routine. Always prioritize comfort and safety. If you feel any discomfort or pain, it's time to hit the brakes. Cycling: A Low-Impact Solution Cycling, particularly stationary cycling, is a great way to maintain fitness when dealing with a foot stress fracture. This low-impact activity ensures you aren't further straining your foot. If you're experiencing severe pain, a walking boot can offer added support. Remember, start slow and gradually increase your intensity to ensure safety. Swimming: Let Water Aid Your Recovery Swimming and other water exercises are excellent low-impact choices for those with foot stress fractures. Performing your exercise routine in water alleviates weight from your lower legs while providing resistance, giving you a solid workout without worsening your injury. From swimming for cardiovascular fitness to water-based strength training, the pool can be your best friend during recovery. Lifting Weights: Strengthening More Than Legs While recovering from a stress fracture, seated weightlifting exercises can help keep you in shape and allow you to work your upper body muscles, all while sparing your affected lower leg. This approach ensures that you continue to strengthen your body without risking further injury. Be careful to avoid exercises that could put unnecessary pressure on your lower leg. As with any exercise regimen, stop immediately if you feel discomfort or pain. Activities to Avoid with a Stress Fracture While recovering, aim to limit activities that increase the load on your lower leg. Walking and running are top culprits to avoid as they might hinder healing or even reopen a partially healed fracture. Crutches can be a practical solution to minimize weight-bearing during this time. Did You Know?Stress fractures often heal without any visible signs. The pain may decrease long before the fracture has fully healed. Just because the pain has diminished doesn't mean you can return to high-impact activities. Always follow your healthcare provider's advice. Leveraging Orthotics for Prevention Orthotics, like the ones offered by Upstep, can be your trusty sidekick in preventing stress fractures. How? They absorb shock and lessen the impact of repetitive force on your feet. Upstep’s custom orthotics are designed to provide the support and cushioning your feet need. They prevent foot pronation, a known risk factor for medial stress syndrome, allowing you to push your limits without the fear of shin pain. Your Route to Healthier Training High-quality custom orthotics from Upstep are tailored to meet your unique needs. With their shock-absorbing capabilities, you can train longer, harder, and smarter. They are a valuable addition to anyone's arsenal, whether you're looking to prevent stress fractures or recover from them. Don't let stress fractures keep you on the sidelines. Enhance your training, protect your feet, and step up your game with Upstep's custom orthotics. Take the first step towards a pain-free life—try Upstep's custom orthotics today!
A person holding an ice pack against a sprained ankle
Foot painEasy and Effective Ways to Treat a Sprained FootA sprained foot is an all-too-common inconvenience that results from the stretching or tearing of ligaments around your foot. Often caused by an ankle twist, fall, or any forceful impact that twists your foot in an unnatural way, this injury spares no one, affecting individuals of all ages. Let's first understand what puts you at risk for a foot sprain. Foot Sprain Risk Factors Injury risks elevate with involvement in high-impact sports, being overweight, prior ankle injuries, or possessing weak muscles in your feet or legs. Improper footwear can also significantly contribute to the risk. Symptoms of a sprained foot range from pain, swelling, and bruising to difficulty walking. Severe cases may involve weight-bearing challenges on the affected foot. » Protect your feet from sprains on long walks with best insoles for hiking boots Preventing Foot Sprains Prevention is always better than cure. Here are some measures you can take to avoid foot injuries: Warm-up: An essential prelude to any physical activity, warming up prepares your muscles for action, enhances flexibility and range of motion, and reduces injury risks. While stretching, avoid any movements that cause pain to your foot or ankle.Wear the Right Shoes: Footwear is not just about fashion; it's about foot health. Always ensure your shoes fit well and offer the right support. Additionally, the shoe's sole should match the surface of your activity to prevent slips and falls.Maintain Proper Form and Technique: Whether it's running, jumping, landing, or even diving, the correct form and technique can minimize injury risk by reducing stress on your feet and ankles.Custom Orthotics: These specialized inserts provide additional support and cushioning to your feet. Designed to correct any structural issues contributing to your risk of foot sprains, orthotics help redistribute pressure evenly across your feet. Consider using Upstep Normal Everyday Activity Custom Orthotics that are tailored to your unique foot shape and specific foot concerns. » Did you know that arch supports can be great for your feet and ankles? Sprained Foot Treatment at Home While the severity of the sprain influences the healing time, the right treatment can expedite the recovery process. Mild sprains may heal within a week or two, while severe ones might take several weeks. Here are some home remedies to help you manage your symptoms: Rest: Cease any physical activities causing pain, swelling, or discomfort. This rest period helps prevent further ligament damage and promotes healing.Icing: Ice can effectively reduce pain and swelling when applied within the first seventy-two hours post-injury. Ensure to wrap the ice in a towel or cloth before applying it to your foot for 20 minutes, repeating 2-3 times daily. Direct application of ice on the skin can lead to frostbite.Elevation: Raising your foot above your heart level can help drain excess fluid from the injury site, reducing pain and speeding up recovery.Medication: Over-the-counter pain medications like acetaminophen or ibuprofen can aid in pain management and inflammation reduction. If at-home treatments don't alleviate your symptoms, consider seeking medical attention. Healthcare providers may recommend physical therapy, brace or crutches for support during the healing phase, and in some situations, surgical repair of damaged ligaments might be necessary. Step Confidently Towards a Sprain-Free Future Sprained foot injuries are not just painful, they can significantly disrupt your daily activities. From incorporating preventative measures to using customized orthotics like Upstep, you can mitigate these injuries and promote optimal foot health. Alongside other treatment modalities, the right footwear and orthotics can help you take confident steps towards pain-free feet and a return to your favorite activities. Order your custom orthotics today and take a stride towards healthier feet.
Focus on a man's foot performing toe curl exercise for hallux rigidus
Joint issues4 Exercises to Combat Big Toe Arthritis (Hallux Rigidus)Living with hallux rigidus, more commonly known as big toe arthritis, can be challenging. This common condition targets the joint at the base of your big toe, causing discomfort, stiffness, and reduced mobility. As a degenerative joint disease, it stems from the wear and tear of the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint cartilage, which can result in bone-on-bone friction and inflammation. It's often seen in women, middle-aged or older people, and those with a family history of the condition. But fear not—hallux rigidus, while painful and debilitating, is treatable. Rest, physical therapy, and custom orthotics are some conservative measures for managing this condition. In addition, regular exercise can be incredibly beneficial in reducing further joint damage. Here are four exercises that can help you regain strength and mobility in your big toe. 4 Exercises for Big Toe Arthritis Toe SplayToe PullsHallux Flexion And ExtensionTowel Curls 1. Improve Flexibility with Toe Splay Toe splay is an easy yet effective exercise to improve flexibility and strength in your toes, including the big toe affected by hallux rigidus. Stretching the muscles and ligaments in your foot can reduce stiffness and pain in the joint, enhance your balance and foot stability, and lessen the risk of future injury. How to do it: Sit on a chair or the edge of a bed with your feet flat on the ground and your back straight. Then, spread your toes apart as far as you can comfortably manage, hold the position for about five seconds, then relax. Repeat this exercise several times, gradually increasing the duration and frequency as your foot becomes more flexible. You can add a challenge by placing a towel or small ball between your toes and squeezing it gently. Did You Know?Hallux rigidus may be genetic, or it can develop from repetitive stress, joint trauma, structural factors, and inflammatory foot conditions. If you're experiencing pain, stiffness, swelling, and tenderness around the MTP joint, these could be symptoms of hallux rigidus. In severe cases, the joint may become deformed. » Find out if walking is good for foot arthritis 2. Strengthen Muscles with Toe Pulls Also known as towel pulls, this exercise can improve the strength and flexibility of your toes. It stretches the muscles and tendons in your foot, reducing stiffness and enhancing mobility in the affected joint. Plus, it can improve your foot's overall stability to help prevent further injury. How to do it: Place a towel or small cloth under your foot while sitting with your feet flat on the ground. Use your toes to pull the towel towards you, curling your toes as you do. Hold for a few seconds, then release and repeat. For added resistance, you can place a weight or object on top of the towel. » Learn about the possible causes of midfoot pain 3. Enhance Range of Motion with Hallux Flexion and Extension The hallux flexion and extension exercise can boost the flexibility and range of motion of the affected big toe. It stretches the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in your foot, reducing joint stiffness and pain while enhancing foot strength and stability. How to do it: Bend the big toe towards or away from the sole, then stretch it into both flexion and extension using a hand or an exercise band. While the normal range of motion for big toe extension is approximately 70 degrees, and for flexion, it's approximately 45 degrees, try to reach these ranges of motion as your comfort allows. Hold each position for a few seconds before releasing. Remember to perform this exercise gently to prevent exacerbating the condition. » Spend a lot of time on your feet? Check out the best insoles for walking all day 4. Boost Balance and Stability with Towel Curls Also known as scrunches, towel curls are designed to improve the strength and flexibility of your big toe. They stretch and strengthen your foot's muscles and tendons and improve your balance and foot stability. How to do it: Place a small towel under your toes and use your toes to grip the towel, scrunching it towards you and then pushing it away. Hold for a few seconds, then release. For an added challenge, place an object on the towel to increase the scrunching effort. ReminderAlways start any new exercise regimen slowly and gently, and remember to listen to your body. If any exercise causes pain, stop and consult with a healthcare professional. Marching Towards a Pain-Free Future Managing hallux rigidus isn't just about managing pain—it's about regaining your foot's strength and flexibility. Regular exercise, including toe splay, toe pulls, hallux flexion and extension, and towel curls, can help reduce joint pain and stiffness and improve overall foot health. But why stop there? Augment your progress with Upstep's custom insoles designed specifically for hallux rigidus. The Upstep Normal Everyday Activity insoles provide targeted cushioning and support to your affected joint, reducing pressure and discomfort and allowing you to enjoy your daily activities with less pain.
A backshot of a woman balancing on a log in nature, showing good walking posture
TreatmentsStop Your Walking Posture From Hurting YouHave you ever considered how your walking style might be affecting your health? The truth is, the way we walk, or our gait, plays a significant role in our overall well-being. An improper alignment of the body while walking, often referred to as poor walking posture, can lead to a myriad of health issues, including muscle imbalances, joint pain, and postural misalignment. Identifying the Signs of Poor Walking Posture Poor walking posture can be a result of various factors such as sedentary lifestyles, weak core muscles, improper footwear, or past injuries. Common signs include rounded shoulders, forward head position, uneven weight distribution, excessive arm swinging, and dragging or shuffling feet. If you're experiencing discomfort like lower back pain, knee pain, or foot pain while walking, it's time to take a closer look at your posture. Did You Know?Your walking speed can influence your posture. Walking too fast can cause you to lean forward, while walking too slowly can lead to slouching." » Check out our selection of the best insoles for walking all day Why Is Your Gait Important Your gait, or the way you walk, is a crucial factor in maintaining a healthy walking posture. The gait cycle describes the cyclic pattern of movement that occurs during walking. It consists of two phases: the stance phase and the swing phase. The stance phase constitutes approximately 60% of the total gait cycle. It begins when your foot first touches the ground and ends when the same foot leaves the ground.The swing phase makes up around 40% of the gait cycle. It begins when the foot first leaves the ground and ends when the same foot touches the ground again. A walking gait analysis can help identify any asymmetries or unique movements that may be causing discomfort. Addressing these issues promptly is essential to prevent them from worsening over time and leading to serious complications. Improve Your Walking Posture Ready to improve your walking posture? Here are some practical tips to help you achieve a more comfortable and healthier walking experience: Choose the Right Footwear: Shoes with inadequate arch support can strain your knees, back, and neck. Opt for shoes with lower heels and a spacious toe-box for everyday wear. They help maintain neutral foot alignment and reduce discomfort.Incorporate Exercise into Your Routine: Stability, strengthening, and core training exercises, along with specific physiotherapy exercises, can enhance your stability and correct posture. Strengthening exercises target the muscles of the legs, core, and back, enabling them to better support your body.Consider Using Insoles: Insoles can correct abnormal walking patterns by aligning the feet in a normal position during standing, walking, or running. They also improve gait symmetry and provide additional support and cushioning.Take smaller steps: A longer stride length can throw you off balance and affect your walking posture. Taking shorter, controlled steps allows for better balance and stability and reduces the impact on your joints.Engage your arms: Proper arm movement is a part of good posture. Bend your elbows at a 90-degree angle and allow your arms to swing naturally. This should coordinate with the opposite leg swing, helping to maintain balance and rhythm. Quick Tip: Try to keep your head up and look forward while walking. This simple adjustment can help align your neck and spine, improving your walking posture. » Is Morton's neuroma giving you trouble? Check out the exercises that can alleviate foot pain The Path to Pain-Free Walking Improving your walking posture is essential for maintaining overall musculoskeletal health. By making these changes, you can enhance your walking posture and reduce discomfort. Custom orthotics, such as those offered by Upstep, can provide an ideal way to ease pain while walking. Don't let pain hinder your enjoyment and mobility. Take the first step towards pain-free walking and improved posture with Upstep's custom orthotics today!
A cyclist seated in the side of the road, holding the top of their bare foot, with their one shoe and bicycle visible in the background.
Arch7 Best Cycling Shoe Insoles to Provide Arch SupportCompared to standard running insoles, cycling shoe insoles offer superior arch support, metatarsal padding, and deep heel cups, reducing foot strain during cycling. With the wrong insole, you risk underperforming and developing musculoskeletal problems that may hinder your cycling in the future. Choosing the right insole can help you avoid this. That’s why we’ve sifted through the market to help you identify the best insoles for your cycling shoes. Here are our top seven picks and why they qualify. » Will cycling orthotics help your performance? See the benefits of cycling orthotics Top 7 Insoles for Cycling Shoes with Arch Support Best Overall Cycling Insoles: Upstep Cycling Custom OrthoticsBest Firm Fit Insoles: Tread Labs Lael WilcoxBest for Comfort Insoles: Superfeet TrailblazerBest Cork Insoles: SOLE Performance MediumBest Thin Insoles: Protalus T-100 EliteBest Shock-Absorbing Insoles: URthotics Sports Best Foam Insoles: FitMyFoot Red Hexagon 1. Best Overall Cycling Insoles ProsCustom-made by top podiatristsOptimal support and cushioning180-day money-back guaranteeFSA and HSA eligibleFree shipping and returnsConsShort waiting period before receiving orthotics When it comes to finding the best insoles for cycling, Upstep is the clear winner. Their custom cycling insoles are made with the highest quality and most durable materials, providing optimal support and cushioning during cycling. But what sets Upstep apart from the rest is its commitment to affordability. These insoles are reasonably priced, making them an excellent choice for cycling enthusiasts on a budget. What's more, Upstep offers a 100% money-back guarantee on their product for 120 days, with free shipping and returns. And for those who have a Health Savings Account (HSA) or Flexible Spending Account (FSA), Upstep insoles are eligible for reimbursement, making them an even more attractive option for those looking for quality and affordability. With Upstep, you can be sure that you're getting the best cycling insoles for your money. 2. Best Firm Cycling Shoe Insoles ProsMade from carbon fiber Firm arch supportThin ventilated top coverConsNot customizedDifferent arch heights Narrow heel fitShipping fees are not included For cyclists who prioritize firm arch support, Tread Labs Lael Wilcox insoles are an excellent option. These insoles are crafted from 100% carbon fiber arch support, making them incredibly rigid and efficient at returning energy during each pedal stroke. Ideal for cycling shoes with thin or no inserts, Tread Labs offers four different arch heights to accommodate varying support requirements. While they may not offer a perfect fit for all users since they're one-size-fits-all insoles, they are still a viable choice for cyclists seeking high-quality arch support in their cycling shoes. » Read more: explore the best cycling shoes for flat feet 3. Best Comfort Insoles for Cycling Shoes ProsWide forefoot designDeep heel cup60-day money-back guaranteeConsMade for medium to high arch heightNeed to trim insole to fit shoeTakes up a lot of space in shoesNot custom-made The Superfeet Trailblazer insoles are an excellent choice for cyclists experiencing back and hip pain. These insoles have been designed to improve power transfer and reduce internal knee rotation, which can alleviate discomfort in the hip and lower back. The wide forefoot and deep heel cup are also ideal for those with wider cycling shoes. While these insoles do not have a specific arch height in mind, they can still provide overall comfort and support to the foot during cycling. It's worth noting that these insoles may not be suitable for those with specific foot problems requiring customized arch support. 4. Best Cork Insoles for Cycling Shoes ProsMade with ReCORK recycled wine corksShock absorbingMoldable orthopedic baseConsTakes time to get the perfect fitBest suited for medium-fitting shoesMust be trimmed to fit shoesMedium cushioning SOLE performance medium insoles are an eco-friendly option made from recycled wine corks, which offer excellent shock absorption for cycling shoes. These insoles come with metatarsal pads that improve forefoot comfort, making them an ideal choice for cyclists who experience discomfort in this area. However, wear-moldable design means they may take some time to adjust to the shape of your feet, unlike custom-made orthotics that offer immediate support and comfort. Overall, these cork insoles are a great option for cyclists looking for an environmentally-friendly and shock-absorbing solution for their cycling shoes. 5. Best Thin Insoles for Cycling Shoes ProsDifferent sizes availableThinner than other insolesMoisture-wicking materialsConsDifficulty fitting to shoeTrimming may impact performanceNot custom-madeHigher heel arching The Protalus T-100 Elite insoles are designed specifically for low-volume cycling shoes with removable inserts and provide excellent arch support with a thin and lightweight design. These insoles are available in various sizes, making it easier for users to find a perfect fit. Protalus insoles offer both cushioning and alignment support to help reduce foot fatigue and discomfort during long rides. However, due to their slim profile, these insoles may not fit perfectly in all shoes, even with trimming, which may impact their effectiveness as cycling insoles. 6. Best Shock-Absorbing Insoles for Cycling Shoes ProsCustom-made orthoticsFSA and HSA eligibleLightweight and durableConsMore expensive than alternativesLonger waiting periodThicker insole base URthotics Active Insoles are a top choice for cycling enthusiasts who desire shock absorption and durability. These insoles are designed with custom arch support that follows the natural contours of your foot, providing excellent comfort and stability. The top layer of the insole is made from high-quality EVA material, which is known for its durability and long-lasting performance. The deep heel cup design maximizes protection and helps to alleviate pain. Although these insoles are pricier than some other options on the market, they are eligible for HSA and FSA plans, making them a great investment for those looking for a durable and effective cycling insole. 7. Best Foam Insoles for Cycling Shoes ProsPrevents foot and leg fatigueMade through 3D technologyImproves body alignmentConsNot specifically made for cyclingSmooth insole coveringCannot be trimmed to fit shoeMore costly than alternatives FitMyFoot's Custom Arch Support Insoles are one of the best foam insoles for cycling shoes, specifically designed for athletic use. These insoles are custom-made to fit your feet perfectly, using state-of-the-art 3D printing technology to ensure a snug fit. The dynamic tuned arch design provides custom-positioned support in specific areas of the foot while remaining flexible in others, allowing for optimal energy transfer during cycling. Additionally, these insoles come with a deep contoured heel cushion that provides all-day shock absorption and cushioning, relieving heel discomfort and preventing foot fatigue. The breathable fabric helps to keep your feet cool and sweat-free, making them perfect for intense cycling sessions. Overall, these durable and comfortable insoles are a great investment for any cycling enthusiast. » Considering over-the-counter insoles? Compare custom orthotics vs OTC insoles Transform Your Cycling Experience If you're looking to enhance your performance, reduce your risk of injury, and transform your cycling experience from just an activity to something you truly enjoy, investing in custom orthotics is the way to go. With custom orthotics, the insoles are molded to fit your feet perfectly, providing the optimal support and cushioning you need to reach your potential on the bike. So why settle for generic insoles when you can have a personalized solution that's tailored to your unique needs? Upgrade your cycling game with custom orthotics and see the difference for yourself.
Anatomical representation of a foot highlighting areas affected by Morton's Neuroma.
Foot exercises5 Exercises for Morton's Neuroma: Alleviate Your Foot PainHave you ever felt like there's a pebble in your shoe when there's nothing there? This could be a symptom of Morton's Neuroma, a common foot condition that results in a thickening of the tissue around one of the nerves leading to your toes. This thickening can cause sharp, burning pain on the ball of your foot. Morton’s Neuroma is typically caused by entrapment of the common digital plantar nerves as they pass between the long bones of the foot. This entrapment may be due to wearing narrow shoes or high heels, or engaging in repetitive activities like running and jumping that put pressure on the forefoot. While treatment options for Morton's Neuroma range from activity modification and anti-inflammatory medications to more severe interventions such as corticosteroid injections or even surgery, there are exercises you can try at home that could help alleviate the pain. 5 Exercises for Morton's Neuroma Standing Calf StretchFoot RollTowel CurlsPlantar Fascia StretchSeated Soleus Stretch 1. Standing Calf Stretch The standing calf stretch exercise is designed to stretch and strengthen the muscles in your calf and foot. This improves foot mechanics and reduces stress on the ball of your foot. Here's how to perform the standing calf stretch: Stand facing a wall with your feet shoulder-width apart.Step forward with one foot and place it flat on the ground, keeping your other foot back.Lean forward slightly and place your hands on the wall at shoulder height.Keeping your back leg straight and your heel on the ground, bend your front knee and lean forward until you feel a stretch in your calf.Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds, then release and repeat on the other side.Repeat this exercise several times a day, especially before and after any activities that put stress on the ball of your foot. » Wondering what's causing forefoot pain? Find out here 2. Foot Roll The foot roll exercise helps reduce foot pain and tension in the plantar fascia. Here's how to do it: Sit in a chair and place a small ball, such as a tennis or golf ball, on the ground in front of you.Place your foot on top of the ball and gently roll the ball back and forth along the arch of your foot, applying as much pressure as you can tolerate.Roll the ball under your foot for 2-3 minutes, focusing on the arch and ball of your foot.Repeat the exercise with your other foot. Did You Know?Morton's Neuroma commonly affects middle-aged women, and it is estimated that it occurs 8 to 10 times more often in women than in men. It is often associated with wearing high-heeled or tight shoes. » Learn about the differences between Metatarsalgia and Morton's neuroma 3. Towel Curls Towel Curls can strengthen the toe muscles and improve foot flexibility and balance. Here's how to do this exercise: Sit in a chair with your toes pointing forwards and place a small towel on the ground in front of you.Place your foot on top of the towel and use your toes to pull the towel up towards you.Hold the position for a few seconds before releasing the towel.Repeat the exercise for a total of 10-15 repetitions. Switch to the other foot if necessary. 4. Plantar Fascia Stretch This exercise reduces tension in the foot and alleviates pressure on the ball of the foot. Here's how to perform the plantar fascia stretch: Sit in a chair and cross your affected foot over your other knee.Use your hand to pull your toes back towards your shin until you feel a stretch in the bottom of your foot.Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds, then release.Repeat the stretch 2-3 times, then switch to your other foot. 5. Seated Soleus Stretch The Seated Soleus Stretch is designed to alleviate pressure on the ball of your foot by stretching the soleus muscle in the calf. Here's how to perform it: Sit in a chair and extend one leg out in front of you with the heel on the ground.Keeping your other foot flat on the floor, lean forward until you feel a stretch in the back of your calf.Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds, then release and repeat on the other leg. You can perform this stretch several times a day, especially before and after any activities that put stress on the ball of your foot. Remember to Stretch!Before starting any exercise routine, it's essential to warm up. A good warm-up increases your heart rate, warms your muscles, and increases joint flexibility. This prepares your body for exercise and helps prevent injuries. Ease Morton's Neuroma Pain While Morton's neuroma can cause significant foot pain, there are a variety of exercises and treatments available to alleviate its symptoms. By incorporating these exercises into your daily routine, you could help reduce tension in your foot and alleviate pressure on the ball of the foot. For additional support in managing Morton's neuroma, consider using products such as Upstep's custom orthotics. These provide customized support, shock absorption, and foot cushioning, reducing pressure on the ball of the foot and improving foot mechanics. If you're dealing with Morton's neuroma pain, exploring these orthotics could be a beneficial step in managing your foot pain.