Plantar Fasciitis Insoles: How They Help and Where to Find the Right Fit

by Mark Paigen

Plantar Fasciitis Insoles

People who suffer from plantar fasciitis always want to know what they did to trigger it so they can avoid the pain it causes in the future. Understanding how to care for your feet will go a long way toward keeping you pain-free and enjoying your active life.

Read on to learn how shoe inserts for plantar fasciitis can relieve pain by adding arch support. Discover why choosing the right insoles is counter-intuitive; the soft pillowy insoles that appear to cushion best can actually prolong your discomfort.

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Your plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue that connects your heel bone to the base of your toes. You can feel your own plantar fascia by pulling your big toe towards your ankle and feeling the pronounced ridge that runs down the middle of your arch.

Plantar fasciitis (fashy-EYE-tis) is an inflammation of this band of connective tissue. When the band is overstretched, tears occur on the surface of the fibrous tissue. Inflammation and pain follow. Pain usually occurs where the plantar fascia attaches at the center/bottom of your heel bone. 

Plantar Fasciitis is the most common foot condition in the USA. 1 in 10 people will experience this painful ailment at some point in their lifetime. The most common symptom is a stabbing pain on the bottom of your heel. The pain is often worse in the morning or after standing for an extended period.

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Who Gets Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is an overuse injury. It is a chronic irritation of the foot due to excessive strain. With this in mind, some people are more prone to developing the condition than others

  • Runners and ballet dancers - High stress activities put more stress on the plantar fascia
  • People who are overweight - More weight = more stress on your feet.
  • Those who stand on hard surfaces all day - We were not designed to stand on concrete all day.
  • People with flat feet –When you have flat feet or fallen arches, your plantar fascia overstretches every time you take a step.
  • People with High arches– The opposite can occur when you have high, inflexible arches. When you walk, your plantar fascia remains rigid, absorbing too much weight too quickly. 

What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?

The plantar fascia, in addition to other muscles and tendons in the foot and lower leg, supports your arch. When excessive forces collapse the arch, plantar fasciitis can occur. 

Basic Foot Bio-Mechanics

Here is how your weight should transfer through your foot as you take a normal step:

  1. Your foot strikes the ground at the outside corner of the heel. Wear on your shoe at a 45 degree angle is completely normal.
  2. Your weight moves to the center of your heel, making use of the body's natural fatty pad, located beneath the heel bone.
  3. As the foot rolls forward, your weight transfers along the outside of your foot until it reaches the ball of your foot.
  4. The center of weight then moves inward, across the ball of your foot. This inward rolling motion absorbs some of the shock of the step and is called pronation.
  5. When your center of weight has moved to a spot just behind the 2nd toe, you push off onto the other foot.

Unfortunately, most people's bio-mechanics are not perfect. Most steps actually end more like this:

  1. As the weight shifts inward across the ball of the foot, it continues past the area behind the second toe. This excessive rolling motion is called over-pronation.
  2. When this happens, the arch of the foot stretches, putting stress on the plantar fascia. In addition, the ankle, knee and hip rotate inward, compromising the alignment of your bones and joints.

This video explains pronation and over pronation.


Curing Plantar Fasciitis

A 3-prong approach works best:

  • Reduce inflammation  using ice and ibuprofen
  • Stretch and strengthen the ankle, foot, and calf muscles
  • Use orthotic insoles with plantar fasciitis arch support to addres the cause as well as the symptoms.

How To Choose the Best Insoles For Plantar Fasciitis

Shoe inserts for plantar fasciitis relieve pain by limiting pronation (the foot rolling inward). To be effective, the best insoles for plantar fasciitis should have the following characteristics.

  • Firm, Medical Grade Foot Support - Firm support is necessary to support the arch and limit pronation. Insoles with arches that deflect easily or those made from soft foam will not be effective.
  • Precision Fit - Firm support and a precision fit go hand and glove. Orthotic inserts for plantar fasciitis that accurately match the contours of the bottom of your foot can provide firm support without compromising comfort.
  • A Deep Heel Cup - The fatty pad beneath your heel bone is natures way of decreasing the impact of each step. A deep heel cup on an orthotic keeps the fatty pad centered beneath the heel where it absorbs shock effectively. In addition, deep heel cups add to the stability of the foot, improving balance as well as performance in sports related activities.
  • Durable, Resilient Cushioning - The natural shock absorbing pads in our heel help tremendously, but they are not enough. We were not meant to walk on concrete and other hard surfaces all day. A great plantar fasciitis insole has a layer of foam on top of the arch support to add cushioning for additional comfort.

Tread Labs Plantar Fasciitis Insoles

 

The key to finding the right insole to alleviating your plantar fasciitis pain starts with determining your arch height. You'll want to make sure you're giving your aches the full support they need. Once you know your arch height, you can choose your plantar fasciitis inserts based on the shoes in which you'll wear them. We make it easy with our Find Your Fit tool. Start by clicking the button below. 

FIND YOUR FIT

Mark Paigen
Mark Paigen


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