Imagine taking your first few steps in the morning only to be greeted by sharp, stabbing pain radiating from your heel to the base of your toes. This is what millions of people wake up to each day who know the sensation all too well as a condition called plantar fasciitis. It’s an inflammation of the thick, fibrous band of tissue, or your “fascia,” that runs along the length of your foot and the great news is insoles can play a pivotal role in abating symptoms with consistent use over time.
Plantar fasciitis is often caused by overuse or excessive stretching of tissue running across your feet while walking, running or engaging in any other physical activity such as dancing or playing sports. Additionally, biomechanical issues such as high arches or flat feet can also trigger it.
Dr. Daniel Pledger, podiatrist and Founder of ePodiatrists, an online resource for podiatrist procedures and services, told SPY that plantar fasciitis is a very common condition with his patients. “It is estimated that 10% of the population will experience plantar fasciitis at some point in their lives,” he said, adding that people with flat feet are more likely to develop plantar fasciitis, as the lack of arch support puts additional stress on the plantar fascia.
Besides the morning pain associated with plantar fasciitis, there is also the possibility for flare-ups. Dr. Pledger explained that activities that can trigger a flare-up include running, jumping or prolonged standing. “The pain tends to be worse with activity and may feel like a dull ache or throbbing sensation.”
With proper treatment, most cases of plantar fasciitis will heal and go away completely. Research has shown that 80% of patients with plantar fasciitis improve within 12 months of treatments, such as stretching of the plantar fascia, icing, wearing supportive footwear like insoles and taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
SPY’s Favorite Insoles for Plantar Fasciitis
Insoles for Plantar Fasciitis Can Help
Insoles can be very helpful for managing plantar fasciitis, especially for people with flat feet. “The effectiveness of insoles can vary from person to person,” Dr. Pledger said. “In some cases, custom orthotics may be necessary to provide the right amount of support.”
Since plantar fasciitis is very common in folks with flat feet, the podiatrists we talked to recommend orthotic insoles that are designed to provide maximum arch support and help manage pain while providing cushioning and shock absorption.
We also talked to Dr. Gregory Alvarez, a podiatrist at Ankle & Foot Centers of America, who said that while there are many insoles on the market that claim to help ease plantar fasciitis pain, it pays to be discerning in the shopping process.
“It is important to find one that offers the right level of support, cushioning and arch support for your foot type,” he said and suggested looking for insoles that provide arch support and cushioning without being too thick or bulky, since large insoles are less likely to fit inside your shoes and more likely to cause injury. More isn’t always better when it comes to insoles, it works best when it’s a perfect fit. “This is important to prevent further damage to the plantar fascia and other structures in your foot,” said Alvarez.
Dr. Scholl’s Plantar Fasciitis Orthotics
When you have a high arch and plantar fasciitis, you need all the support you can get. The high arch puts your plantar fascia under perpetual stretch, so an insole with optimal cushioning, arch support and shock absorption is key. Dr. Scholl’s Plantar Fasciitis Pain Relief Sized to Fit Insoles are made specifically for people who suffer pain from plantar fasciitis. The targeted arch support and foamy comfort provide an ideal environment for your high-arched feet to thrive in and carry you on during the day.
PowerStep Pinnacle Insoles
The Powerstep Pinnacle Insoles provide overarching foot support with dual-layer foam cushioning for shock absorption and arch support for relief should you be having a plantar fasciitis flare-up. They work for various foot types, whether you have high-arch or flat feet and their slim composition fits in trainers, running shoes, work boots and casual footwear.
Walk Hero Insoles
Dr. Alvarez recommended this brand for alleviating pain and providing cushioning and shock absorption. They have 7 millimeters of arch support which is great for those with flat feet or who overpronate. Walk Hero insoles are also one of the most wallet-friendly picks that are still made with high-quality materials like foam and silicone cushioning.
Spenco Polysorb Insoles
Dr. Pledger said that when it comes to good shock absorption, it’s best to look for materials such as gel or foam and ones that are designed specifically for plantar fasciitis. Despite being a lightweight insole, Spenco Polysorb insoles provide heavy-duty support with heel-to-toe cushioning. The extra foam and padding at the heel add additional comfort and soften the impact on your heel. The mid-section of the insoles is a fit for low, normal and high arches as well.
Superfeet Green Insoles
When his patients are experiencing a flare-up of plantar fasciitis symptoms, Dr. Pledger often recommends insoles that provide additional arch support and cushioning, and Superfeet Green is one of his go-to options. The high-density foam provides support and comfortable cushioning while the deep and wide heel feature helps with additional stability and shock absorption. They can also be cut to fit your go-to supportive footwear.
Superfeet Copper Insoles
When choosing insoles for plantar fasciitis, Dr. Pledger said it’s important to look for options that provide good arch support and shock absorption. And, Dr. Alvarez added that those that are adjustable and can be trimmed to fit the specific dimensions of your shoes and the contours of your feet are more desirable. That’s why we picked Superfeet Copper in this category. It’s not only customizable, but it’s an orthotic insole and provides extra cushioned arch support for added relief. Plus, the memory foam material and deep heel cup help to stabilize your feet and ease plantar fasciitis pain while wearing work boots.
Physix Gear Sport Insoles
These orthotic insoles are super thin, so they can easily fit in the slim profile of your workout shoes while providing all the support you need with plantar fasciitis. Plus, they are very affordable, too. The dual-base foam adds a good layer of cushioning; however, because it’s so thin, you won’t get as much as with some of the other thicker insoles. There is also a layer of PU material, which is a type of faux leather, at the heel that ensures shock absorption and stability.
What to Consider When Shopping for Insoles for Plantar Fasciitis
Finding the right insole for plantar fasciitis can make a significant difference in alleviating pain and improving overall foot health, but not all insoles are created equal. Dr. Pledger recommends considering your foot type and shoe options when making a decision on which insole to purchase. Prior to adding any of these to your cart, going through a thorough biomechanical exam to diagnose your plantar fasciitis is a good idea so you know you’re spending money on a pair designed for your feet.
Sometimes, custom orthotics are required to provide adequate support and realignment to properly treat this condition in extreme cases, so it’s best to see a professional who can help you get a pair made or rule it out as a necessity.
“The best solution will depend on the individual’s needs and should be discussed with an experienced podiatrist who can properly assess your foot type,” Dr. Pledger said.
Can Insoles Help With Plantar Fasciitis?
Yes, if you find the right insoles for your foot type they provide additional support and help ease pain and discomfort.
Where Can I Buy Insoles for Plantar Fasciitis?
Insoles for plantar fasciitis can be custom ordered through a licensed podiatrist or purchased online at Amazon, Walmart or another retailer.
How Much Do Insoles for Plantar Fasciitis Cost?
Insoles vary a bit in terms of their cost, but most fall in the range of $20-$40. Custom-fit orthotics will cost a bit more than an over-the-counter brand, and there are affordable options you can try to test the waters before investing in a more expensive pair.
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