Heel Lifts to Control Pronation: Neigh! Those High Arches
Updated: May 11
Product Spotlight: Adjust-A-Heel heel lifts
What do horses and humans have in common? An equinus(derived from latin for horse) alignment of the foot. Some people refer to this as a high arch foot. Fortunately, our equinus alignment is much less than that of a horse, although one with congenitally shortened calf muscles can look very horshish. Most human feet are aligned with the heel higher than the forefoot (when viewed from the side and not weight bearing). This alignment can vary from mild to severe. Those with a marked Equinus alignment tend to hyperextend their knees, hips and back when standing(Bare foot picture). As we load weight onto the foot the toes touch first and the heel drops the distance of the equinus. This causes the foot to pronate(flatten) as well. The flattening of the feet is more pronounced with joint hypermobility. This heel drop and foot pronation are controlled by action of the calf muscles. Seldom does one have sufficient calf strength to actively support the Equinus Feet. Placing a heel wedge in the shoe eases the workload on these muscles. The heel wedge also diminishes the stress upon the plantar fascia, a ligamentous structure that spans and supports the arches of the feet. This is our number one go to for treatment for plantarfaciitis, hyperextended knees, and back pain. Heel lifts are much more comfortable than orthotics(and less expensive). Orthotics tend to push up into the already stretched plantarfascia which is painful for most people.
We custom fabricate heel lifts in our clinic from a synthetic cork but a good off the shelf version is available from Warwick Enterprises: https://www.sourceortho.net/brands/Warwick-Enterprises.html