You have plantar fasciitis and you've heard that insoles can help heal it. You buy a pair of soft, pillowy insoles but find the pain only gets worse. So, can insoles really help heal plantar fasciitis?
THE BASICS ---
Will adding insoles to your footwear heal your plantar fasciitis? The short answer is yes, but only if you buy the right kind.
Certain people are more prone to developing plantar fasciitis than others, including people with flat feet and high arches.
The most effective way to relieve plantar fasciitis pain (and prevent recurrence) is to keep your arches from flattening by adding firm arch support to your footwear.
We recommend Tread Labs Pace insoles for people with plantar fasciitis. They offer the firm, medical grade support needed to support your plantar fascia, a precise fit that mimics the contours of your foot, and a deep heel cup.
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.
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 including athletes, people who stand on concrete all day, and people with flat feet or high arches.
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:
Your foot strikes the ground at the outside corner of the heel. Wear on your shoe at a 45 degree angle is completely normal.
Your weight moves to the center of your heel, making use of the body's natural fatty pad, located beneath the heel bone.
As the foot rolls forward, your weight transfers along the outside of your foot until it reaches the ball of your foot.
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.
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:
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.
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.
Relieving Pain From Plantar Fasciitis
To relieve pain from plantar fasciitis and keep it from coming back, a 3-prong approach works best:
Reduce inflammation using ice and ibuprofen
Stretch and strengthen the ankle, foot, and calf muscles
Use orthotic for plantar fasciitis to address the cause as well as the symptoms.
What Are 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 these features: firm support, a precise fit that mimics the contours of your arch, a deep heel cup and resilient cushioning.
Firm, Medical Grade Arch Support - Firm support is necessary to properly support the arch and limit pronation. Insoles with arches that deflect easily or those made from soft foam will not do the job.
Precision Fit-In order for firm support to do its job effectively, it needs to fit the contours of your arch like a glove. Orthotic inserts for plantar fasciitis that accurately match your foot can provide firm support without compromising comfort.
A Deep Heel Cup - The fatty pad beneath your heel bone is nature's 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're not enough. We were not meant to walk on concrete and other hard surfaces all day. The best insoles for plantar fasciitis have a layer of foam on top of the arch support to add cushioning for additional comfort.
Tread Labs Plantar Fasciitis Insoles
Finding the right insole to address your plantar fasciitis pain starts with determining your arch height. Once you know your arch height, you can choose your plantar fasciitis inserts based on the shoes in which you'll wear them. You'll want different top cover thicknesses depending on whether you shoes have thick full-length removable inserts, thin full-length removable inserts, or no removable inserts at all.
To make sure you're giving your aches the full support they need, find insoles that match your arch height - low, medium, high or extra high. Pain relief insoles for plantar fasciitis work best when they match the contours of our arch, giving you firm support across your foot.
Plantar fasciitis is a pain, but with the right care, you can be back to doing what you love, pain free.
Mark has always believed exceptional footwear can change lives. He's been in the footwear industry for over 30 years, working with podiatrists, pedorthists, foot care experts, and footwear makers. Mark started Chaco sandals in 1989 and developed a game-changing sport sandal that delivered comfort and durability. After Chaco sold in 2009, Mark ultimately started Tread Labs to continue transforming people's footwear so they can walk better, feel better, live better.