Does A Foot Arch Brace Work-

Does A Foot Arch Brace Work?

One of the products that are quite popular in the area of treating plantar fasciitis, is the foot arch brace or drop foot brace.  This small piece of equipment is strapped to your foot and is designed to relieve the stress on your plantar fascia tissue, therefore relieving pain.

But – do these products work and live up to claims that they will prevent you from suffering from foot pain.

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How does an arch brace work?

Put simply, you are buying a product that is designed to sit in the arch of your foot, between your toes and heel and is strapped over the top with a velcro fastener.  The idea is that the padded area in your arch will stop your foot from flattening out when you walk, therefore putting less stress on your fascia tissue.  This should, in theory, stop further inflammation or damage to that area and help reduce any pain you are getting.

The padded area underneath can be made from thick latex foam or even a gel type substance – but the general idea is that it provides a snug and comfortable barrier between your sole and shoe, so that your foot does not become over-flexed.

I have never used one myself to help my PF problems, but I know that they are a popular product and are often touted as being a very effective treatment.

Do they work in practice?

If you look at the reviews of these products on Amazon, you can see that the majority of the purchasers have given them quite low ratings and there are complaints that they just don’t work at all.  However, as you can imagine, these reviews are right across the board from people who have received faulty items, through to people who cannot read instructions – so you might have to take them with a pinch of salt.

However, the general thread running through the reviews is that the foot arch brace products do not really deliver much relief from foot problems such as heel spurs or plantar fasciitis.  Many people have found that the fasteners that go across the top of your foot are very uncomfortable and are likely to rub, causing more pain from blisters and sores.

Many other people have found that the foot arch braces do not stay in the correct position long enough to deliver any benefits or that the product itself is flimsy or badly made.  One reviewer suggested that the brace he ordered offered not much more support than a band-aid would.  Although, like I said earlier, you have to take some of these reviews with a pinch of salt.

What do podiatrists think of a foot arch brace?

I reached out on Twitter to a few of my podiatrist followers but was not able to get a response as to whether they think that these arch braces are worthwhile or not.  However, my feeling is that in all of the documentation, websites, videos and books I have used to research the articles on this website, I have never come across any medical practitioner recommending a foot arch brace.

When I visited a podiatrist for my own foot problems, I was measured for a custom orthotic, which is specially designed to provide the support for my foot in exactly the right places and correct any problems with the way I walk or stand.  If it were as simple as using one of these cheap braces, I am sure I would have been offered that as an option too.

My conclusion.

Based on the social proof of the Amazon reviews, I feel that using a foot arch brace is probably a waste of time for the following reasons:

  • They don’t provide any physical benefit other than cushioning.
  • Many of the products are cheap, which to me equals low medical value.
  • I have not seen any podiatrists recommending them.
  • There are no companies like Orthaheel or Scholl making them.

I would be interested to hear from you if you have used one of these arch supports before and what you thought of it and whether it worked for you.

Please leave a comment below and I will try to reply to everyone if possible.

Tao
 

Hi, my name is Tao and I suffer from Plantar Fasciitis in both of my feet. My goal is to share information, tips, symptoms, exercises and remedies on this website for others. I am not a doctor or podiatrist, so make sure to read my medical disclaimer page.

  • JS says:

    I have used Arch Huggers foot sleeves from Foot Smart for many years and have found them an essential component of my plantar faschiitis prevention program. At this time the Foot Smart site shows them as unavailable, but Amazon carries them (sold by Foot Smart, oddly enough). I have high arches and significant pronation and had acute PF about 20 years ago. Physical therapy. SAS-brand all-leather, American-made oxford shoes and custom orthotics (thru a podiatrist) keep me pain-free, along with the arch sleeves. There is no reason why an inexpensive item such as this cannot be a very good “medical value” — like baby aspirin for heart attack prevention!

    For me, the ideal foot sleeve is flesh-color (because it is partly visible at the throat of some shoes), and is made of a very strong elastic with only one seam where the ends of the strip are sewn together to form a circle. No Velcro, no snaps or straps, and no hem along the side edges. I’ve tried other brands but the fabric was too soft to be very supportive, and there were side-edge seams. With my high instep and wide foot, there is zero space for extra fastenings or seams.

    I especially appreciate foot sleeves for wearing around the house, because they give me enough support that I can get away with flip-flops for a while. I also find them helpful with firm-soled slippers (Foam Treds being the best!). I do have to wear the SAS oxford, orthotics and sleeves if I’m “going for a walk” or otherwise going to be on my feet for more than a couple hours or so. But, the arch sleeves make it possible for me to wear conventional women’s shoes without the orthotics for some outings.

    I’m very sorry to see the online reviews that mention them fraying quickly, and other quality problems. For the life of me I don’t understand why manufacturers cut quality to the quick, when it’s going to cost them the same for packaging, shipping, marketing, sales, company administration etc. — and we poor helpless consumers pay the price for what might as well be an empty box.

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