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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Archy Sandals:The arch support myth exposed

Moszkito Inc. sell sandals with a built in arch support called Archy. Founders Laurin and Sandy Fox hope their new range of contoured footbeds will give the wearer’s feet the same support independent foot orthoses provide. The company built a database with thousands of foot measurements and have catagorised 73 size fittings with three levels of footbed. The Moszkito® Footbed Selection System helps match the level of arch support required. The Archy sandal is both functional and fashionable and made under licence in China. Men's Archy sandals come in browns, blacks and grays, while women's choices include pink and orange, zebra and leopard patterns, even a diamond-studded version. The idea of a built in foot orthoses is not new but it is note worthy. Biomechanics of the foot prefer a balance between the rearfoot and forefoot during midstance. This was optimally achieved by kinetic wedges (orthotic posts) strategically placed under the heel and under ball of the foot. Tradionally arch supports were used to resist compression of the inner arch of the foot however a disadvantage was ground reaction force adversely affected the joints of the foot causing asymptomatic (no pain) osteoarthrosis. Many people became depended upon their arch supports for comfort and could not walk without them. Rather than overcoming pathomechanics (disease process) of the foot they were accelerating it and assuring complete dependence upon arch supports. The best way to raise the medial arch is to have the heel bone (calcanium) tilted medially by approximately 5 degrees to the ground. Wedges made from resistant material are used to tilt the ground surface and this help keep the arch as high as it needs to be to complete efficient function of the foot during walking. Manufacturers still use raised arches in removable footbeds but this is only to remind the wearer which shoe (right or left) they belong to.In the vast majority of cases arch supports cause little discomfort and provided the feet do not become dependent upon them, then no long term adversity is likely to arise. Although, as always conditons do apply. If in any doubt consult your foot physician for advice.

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