Foot on orthotic

Orthotics for Fallen Arches

Orthotics are a common treatment for fallen arches and for the pain that develops from it.

First, it’s important to determine what it means to have a fallen arch, also known as a collapsed arch. A fallen arch is when the arch on the inside of the foot is lower than normal. This can be present only when standing, but in some cases, it can be present when sitting as well.

A flat foot or collapsed archCauses of a Fallen Arch

A fallen arch can develop as a child or later in life. When the fallen arch has been there since childhood, it’s usually related to genetics.

Later in life, a fallen arch can develop for a few different reasons. Age, pregnancy, and injuries/surgeries are a few reasons that lead to a fallen arch.


As we age, our ligaments stretch out and our muscles become less strong. When this happens, the feet spread out and the arch gradually starts to fall.

Sometimes, the fallen arch can come on suddenly. This may be a condition called adult acquired flat foot. This is when one of the muscles supporting the arch stops working properly, and the arch completely falls. It’s more commonly seen on one side only.


In pregnancy, the combination of the hormone relaxin and the rapid weight gain can lead to a fallen arch, or at least a change in the feet. Relaxin loosens up the ligaments and muscles, causing the feet to spread out. The rapid weight gain further exaggerates the pressure on the feet.

Some will notice these changes after their first pregnancy, and some won’t notice it until after subsequent pregnancies.

Injuries and surgeries

Injuries and surgeries to the feet and ankle can have a direct or indirect affect to the arches. If the injury or surgery changes the structure of the feet, this will directly affect the shape of the arch. When the injury or surgery doesn’t affect the structure of the feet, the feet can compensate for the injury or surgery, and eventually affect the arches.

Knee and hip injuries and surgeries can lead to a change in the way the legs move. Over time, the feet may respond and lead to a fallen arch.

Risk factors for a fallen arch

A fallen arch can lead to pain in the feet, ankle, knees, hips and lower back. When the arch has fallen, the structures in the bottom of the feet and inside of the ankle become stretched and overworked. The structures on the outside of the feet and ankle can become compressed.

A fallen arch affects the structures higher up because when the arch falls inwards, the lower and upper legs rotate inwards as well. Once the joints have rotated inwards, the structures around these joints are not working efficiently, leading to strain and compression.

There are many conditions that arise from a fallen arch, but a few examples are plantar fasciitis, shin splints and patellofemoral pain syndrome.

Foot on orthoticHow Orthotics Help with Fallen Arches

Orthotics support the fallen arch to deal with pain, or prevent pain from developing. When the arch is supported, it prevents stress in the feet, ankles, knees, hips and lower back. At the feet and ankles, the support reduces the strain under the foot and on the side of the ankle. It also opens up the outside of the foot and ankle to reduce the compression. The arch support realigns the knees and hip, which reduces excessive strain at these joints.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out or book an appointment!

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