If you suffer from Plantar Fasciitis you are well aware of how extremely uncomfortable this condition can be. Over 2 million people suffer from this injury and are required to get Plantar Fasciitis shoes or inserts. The marketplace offers a variety of treatment options from massaging gel insoles to podiatrist designed orthotics. Making the decision on a product to treat your Plantar Fasciitis is difficult, but we are here to help. We will compare Insoles vs. Orthotics, which is key to understand. But first, let’s discuss how you got this painful condition in the first place.
Your foot not only carries you around but it also carries muscles, tendons and ligaments as well. These allow for the movements needed for you to have motion and balance.
Your Achilles Tendon is what connects your heel to your calf muscle and your plantar fascia is the ligament that holds your heel to the front of your foot.
Now that you know the basics about how your feet are constructed, let’s talk about what Plantar Fasciitis is.
Definition of Plantar Fasciitis:
As you may already know the word “itis” means inflamed. So, what you’ve done is irritated you Plantar Fascia and it’s become inflamed thus the term Plantar Fasciitis.
Plantar Fasciitis is a condition or injury which occurs when you put too much pressure or “over use” the Plantar Fascia. This will result in heel pain and your foot becomes inflamed and irritated.
How does this condition occur?
If you are an athlete or lead a very active lifestyle this puts you at risk. If you are running, jumping or putting repetitive pressure on the Plantar Fascia this will cause it to thicken and lose flexibility and in turn causes the inflammation.
According to experts you might be prone to Plantar Fasciitis If….
If you have flat feet.
If you walk, stand, or run for long periods of time, especially on hard surfaces.
If you are overweight.
If you wear shoes that don't fit well or are worn out.
If you have tight Achilles tendons or calf muscles.
Shoe Inserts, Insoles, Orthotics: Which do you choose?
There are many different foot care products out there to choose from to both prevent and treat Plantar Fasciitis but sometimes it can be a bit confusing. Between metartarsal pads, shoe lifts, orthotic shoes, arch supports, shoe insoles and shoe inserts with all of these to consider it can make your head spin. There are even insoles for flat feet and also orthotics for flat feet but this is a different condition for a different article.
Most Podiatrists will tell you that Plantar Fasciitis insoles are not what you are looking for. The best shoe inserts for this condition would be orthotic inserts. But let’s go over the differences between insoles and orthotics so you are armed with the right information to make the right decision for you.
What is an Insole or Shoe Insert?
Shoe Insoles are a non-prescription foot support designed to be worn inside of your shoe. Also known as shoe inserts or arch supports, insoles provide very minor support. Insoles are perfect for those who want a comfortable stride but if you need to correct anything major in your foot, such as Plantar Fasciitis, you will need something built with this condition in mind.
What are Foot Orthotics?
“Orthotics redistribute weight and relieve pressure on sensitive areas of the feet. They provide cushioning which reduces stress, or biomechanical load, on the lower body, and correct structural abnormalities,” says Marian Hannan, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
An orthotic can also provide better arch support which keeps you from flattening your arch too much with walking or running thus reducing arch strain associated with Plantar Fasciitis.
Please note: When you purchase an orthotic make sure it is the right size for you and that it is Anti-Microbial, which means the fabric naturally repels bacteria allowing for long-term freshness and all-day wear.
If you suffer from Plantar Fasciitis the choice is clear that you will most likely need orthotics which are specifically designed for this condition. You can also tape the bottom of your foot to provide temporary relief from the pain.