Our feet are remarkably complex structures. Containing over one-quarter of all the bones in your body and more than 100 different muscles, tendons, and ligaments, there is certainly a lot of room for variance. Whereas the inherent foot structure is similar for most people, one of those areas of variance can be found in the height of your foot arches.
Before jumping into structural differences, it should be noted that we often refer to the “foot arch” in a fairly general sense, but there are actually three different arches—medial, lateral, and transverse—in each foot. When patients ask about the different types of foot arches, though, they are often looking to learn more about flat feet or cavus foot.
Types of Foot Arches
There are essentially three different types of varying foot arches – low, moderate, and high. Knowing these types, which kind you have, and how they affect the way your feet move are all important for both understanding common medical conditions and choosing shoes that are appropriate for the feet you have.
Moderate arches – This type of arch is the most biomechanically efficient, but individuals with moderate arches can still potentially develop common foot conditions like heel pain or ball-of-foot issues.
Low arches –These foot arches can be either flexible or rigid in nature, and they often cause overpronation. This biomechanical abnormality places feet at greater risk for bunions, plantar fasciitis, and other sources of heel pain.
High arches –Also known as cavus foot, this arch style is typically more rigid than the other types. With this particular structure, almost all of the force loads that come from walking, running, and jumping are absorbed by the forefoot and heel areas, instead of being distributed equitably across the foot.