The plantar fascia is the long band of ligament that runs from your heel to the ball of the foot and supports the arch. Excessive wear and tear over time can cause this ligament to become weakened, swollen and inflamed. It may even become disconnected at the heel causing the arch to fall and calcium deposits (heel spurs) to form. This is plantar fasciitis.
What Can Be Done?
If you don’t already have this painful condition, there are many ways to avoid having it develop. Foremost is staying in shape and watching your weight with a sensible diet and regular exercise; however, you must also be careful to support your feet properly with the right exercise shoes and insoles when you work out.
If your work requires you to be on your feet for hours at a time, and/or if you must stand and walk on concrete or other hard surfaces, you are at risk for developing plantar fasciitis. Wearing good work or walking shoes and inserts that provide correct support is imperative if you wish to prevent foot injury.
Rest is also very important. You must be sure to put your feet up, massage them, perform foot stretches and exercises and partake of an occasional soak in a foot spa or basin of hot water to relax you muscles, relieve tension and generally pamper your feet.
If your feet are very painful, you may find it helpful to take over-the-counter pain medications and apply ice packs for short-term relief. Be sure to see your doctor for a genuine diagnosis. He or she will probably prescribe exercises, corrective footwear and/or insoles.
What Is Corrective Footwear?
There are a number of good brands of everyday shoes, exercise shoes, work shoes and boots especially designed to help prevent and soothe plantar fasciitis. Sometimes simply purchasing and wearing this type of footwear is enough to solve the problem. Very often, orthotic insoles are also needed to provide a custom fit.
While you could use prescription insoles, you may find that over-the-counter (OTC) models work just as well or better. One of the advantages of using non-prescription insoles is that you can affordably equip all of your footwear with comfortable, healing support.
Using OTC insoles also provides you a great deal of flexibility. You can purchase various styles and brands to suit different purposes and fit different types of footwear.
Very often shoes that are specifically designed for work may lack proper cushioning. This is also true of dress shoes and inexpensive everyday footwear. Wearing shoes or boots that have no padding or support at all is terrible for anyone’s feet and can quickly cause plantar fasciitis and other foot problems and injuries to develop.
Walking, exercising and working without foot support is excruciatingly painful for people suffering from plantar fasciitis. When you are looking for good insoles for your unlined work shoes or boots, formal footwear or inexpensive “fun” shoes, there are a few things that you should seek out especially.
These important qualities are:
1. Support for the Metatarsal Arch
When you must be on your feet for extended periods of time, the balls of your feet are bound to ache. Good support for the secondary arch of the foot will prevent this problem.
2. Soft, Deep Heel Cup
All insoles designed to help with plantar fasciitis should have a good, deep heel cup to provide effective shock absorption. A gel cushion at the bottom of the heel cup is also very helpful in absorbing shock and easing the pain of heel spurs.
3. Layers of Cushioning
Good cushioning helps prevent foot fatigue when you must be on your feet for many hours and/or when you must walk or stand on hard surfaces. Extra cushioning also helps provide stability and alignment for people suffering from plantar fasciitis.
4. Firm Arch Support
Good support for the arch is key in preventing pain in the heel. Arch support designed to prevent or treat plantar fasciitis may feel too high initially, but it is important that the arch support make full, firm contact with the arch of the foot in order to provide relief of pressure on the heel.
Proper heel support is of the utmost importance because a good, deep heel cup provides stability and keeps the bones of your feet aligned. Proper arch support combined with good heel support can help prevent a wide variety of problems including neuromas, bunions and plantar fasciitis. Ball-of-foot support cushions the metatarsals and helps prevent pain in the balls of your feet and your toes.
Here are six good choices in insoles suitable for preventing and treating plantar fasciitis.
1. Orthaheel Relief (Full-Length Orthotic Insole)
Full-Length Relief insoles are especially designed to relieve the pain of existing plantar fasciitis and to help resolve symptoms. Most people find them very effective in footwear that does not have built-in cushioning. They are well-suited for use with work shoes, exercise shoes, hiking boots and other footwear that you plan to wear for extended periods of time in challenging circumstances.
Even though these shoe inserts provide top notch cushioning, support and alignment, they have a slim line that fits well even in slip on shoes such as loafers. Orthaheel Relief insoles are well made, lightweight and provide firm support.
You may find it most effective to use these insoles for a few hours a day at first and work up to wearing them all day because some people find that the arch support feels too high at first and takes some getting used to.
Most wearers report feeling instant relief from foot pain, including pain from bunions. The gel disc in the heel cup provides soothing relief from the pain of heel spurs. For best results, trim the inserts to custom fit your footwear.
2. Powerstep Pinnacle Premium Insoles
These insoles feature a fully cushioned topside that provides a great deal of comfort. They are best used for shoes that do not have much built-in cushioning. Some people report having trouble fitting them into shoes that do have their own padding.
Be advised that Powerstep Pinnacle has a rather extreme arch that is ideal for people who have very high arches. Many people report having to take time to become accustomed to them. The exaggerated arch has the added benefit of providing extra relief for the pain of heel spurs. A supported arch removes pressure from the heel.
Because these inserts are very affordably priced, many people purchase multiple sets for the convenience of adding them to several pairs of shoes. Some users say that if you must switch a single set from one pair of shoes to another daily, the edges of the insoles begin to show wear. For this reason, it’s better to purchase multiple sets of this brand of insole to accommodate all of your shoes and get more value for your money.
3. Superfeet Green Heritage
This insole company makes a range of color coded insoles with varying arch heights. The green Superfeet model is the highest arch and is very advisable for people suffering from or at risk for plantar fasciitis. These insoles are especially good for people with very high arches and are not advisable for people with low arches or flat feet.
The deep heel cup and high arch combine to prevent and relieve plantar fasciitis symptoms. These features together provide a high degree of shock absorption for the heel. Heel pain relief is not instant, but consistent use will eventually resolve pain from heel spurs.
These inserts are extremely durable thanks to a hard, firm plastic underside. The entire insole is covered with dense, durable foam for added comfort. While the cost is a bit higher for Superfeet than for some other brands, you can expect these insoles to last a very long time and endure a great deal of wear.
4. Nazaroo Orthotic Insoles
These insoles provide excellent arch support for people with flat feet and are especially designed to help prevent the development of plantar fasciitis. Extra padding on a rigid sole provides a good, snug fit for very secure support and good balance.
These insoles are especially suited for use with walking shoes and athletic shoes. They are breathable and suitable for shoes that you will wear for extended periods of time. They are not “trim-to-fit” so be sure to choose the right size.
5. Sof Sole Comfort-Gel Insole for Plantar Fascia & Heel Spurs
These insoles are equipped with a very firm and springy arch that is especially helpful for severe plantar fasciitis. The deep, gel-padded heel cup provides a soft surface to help soothe painful heels.
People suffering from severe plantar fasciitis report being able to walk long distances with Sof Sole Insoles. They also say that these insoles support recovery very successfully and that they are symptom-free within a month of consistent use.
Many users say that using these shoe inserts can turn even very inexpensive shoes into comfortable and therapeutic shoes. It is important to order the right size to prevent these insoles from sliding inside the shoe.
6. Profoot Orthotics for Plantar Fasciitis
These affordable inserts provide almost immediate relief from the pain of plantar fasciitis. Because they are available in budget multi-pack’s, it is easy and affordable to equip every pair of shoes you own with a set of Profoot inserts.
Users report that the arch support takes some getting used to, but consistent use in all shoes on a regular daily basis results in freedom from pain within a month or so.
Be advised that these insoles work best when used in boots or in shoes that have a high heel counter. The heel of the insert tends to add a bit of lift, so shoes with a shallow heel counter may lose stability. They are best for use in shoes that have a rigid, non-collapsible back for ankle support, a firm sole and elevated heels to reduce pressure.
Investing In The Right Insoles & Footwear Can Save Your Feet & Your Health
People who must stand for long hours on hard floors can greatly benefit from the use of properly designed work shoe insoles. These insoles have a great deal in common with insoles created to address plantar fasciitis, and consistent use of properly designed insoles can help you avoid or treat this very painful condition.
If you are concerned that you may be developing Plantar Fasciitis or you have been struggling to find some degree of comfort while you work with foot pain, you would be very wise to consult your doctor and to seek out treatments and options in footwear that deliver comfort, support, balance and alignment as you pursue your work, exercise and daily living activities.
When you must stand or walk for long periods a wide variety of undesirable symptoms may result. Use of correct footwear and high quality inserts can help you avoid problems such as:
- Damage to legs, knees, back and hips
- Painful feet and ankles
- Swollen feet
- Foot fatigue
If you are overweight and/or if you are walking on a very hard surface such as concrete, standing for long hours can cause severe damage to your feet. This extra stress can cause the pad of your heel to wear down so you have no shock absorber, and this will surely lead to the development of plantar fasciitis.
If you work as a teacher, server, custodian, law enforcement officer, doctor, nurse or industrial worker, plantar fasciitis can be extremely hard to live with and to overcome. This very painful condition makes walking excruciating and work unpleasant. It can negatively impact your workday and your personal life by impairing your ability to move about and participate in your daily activities. Chronic foot pain drains your energy, dampens your mood and generally destroys your life.
This serious, painful condition can severely impact the quality of your life by making every step a painful chore. High quality shoe inserts designed to address Plantar Fasciitis can help you prevent pain and foot damage while providing cushioning and support for your heels, arches, metatarsal arches and the soles of your feet.
There is a choice for people suffering with foot conditions like Plantar Fasciitis – buy specially designed shoes or put orthotic inserts into your existing ones. The right inserts and insoles can save money and effort, work just as well and are fantastic idea for people with flat feet, fallen arches, posture problems, foot pain and Plantar Fasciitis.