Plantar Fasciitis Shoes – What Works

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Plantar fasciitis is a condition that is both encountered in sedentary and active people, causing, among other symptoms, intense pain at the level of the heel. While there are many treatments and therapies recommended for people who suffer from this inflammatory condition, it seems that changing one’s footwear might be among the most efficient solutions to try out.

In this article, we will talk about plantar fasciitis shoes and what are the features you should be on the lookout for. Moreover, we will present desirable features in men’s and women’s footwear, helping you make an informed and useful purchase in the end.

General features required for plantar fasciitis shoes

Running-Shoes-Flat-Feet
First and foremost, your shoes should provide adequate support at the both the level of the arch and the heel, as this will ease the pain you are experiencing. Second, you have to seek out a pair of supportive shoes that also have comfortable insoles or footbed.

The heel counter of the chosen pair of shoes should be firm, while the midsole should be almost rigid (providing very little opportunity of bending or twisting). The toe box should be flexible and wide, so as to guarantee a comfortable wear experience. As already mentioned, the arch support should be strong and you should also seek out a secure closure system, in order to keep the risk of slippage down at a minimum.

In general, the shoes that have closed heels are the best choice for someone who suffers from such inflammatory conditions. Silicone heel cushions can be added for an even more comfortable wear experience, especially since they can reduce the intensity of the heel pain.

Choosing a pair of plantar fasciitis shoes is not a random matter. On the contrary, you have to find the best pair out there, in order to make sure that the shoes you are wearing do not actually exacerbate the heel pain and make matters worse. Your shoes should provide you with the right amount of heel support, as this will guarantee an efficient absorption of shocks. Moreover, the arch support should keep your ankle in a firm position and provide the necessary cushioning at the same time.

Many of the plantar fasciitis shoes that are available on the market right now have been equipped with improved midsole systems, thus guaranteeing the best type of cushioning. Some of them feature modern-generation heel clutching systems, being able to provide an adequate footwear experience. Thanks to such features, the heel is protected and the foot receives the support it needs, remaining in a stable position all the time you are wearing the shoe. All these conditions being met, the heel pain is reduced and the patient enjoys an improved level of functionality.

Proper cushioning is one of the most desirable features to seek out in a pair of shoes, when suffering from a condition such as plantar fasciitis. In order to guarantee the best possible cushioning, footwear specialists have equipped these shoes with rear and front gel units. They have also added what is known as a power grid midsole, which is meant to absorb shocks and ensure the even distribution of the pressure at the level of the foot.

Even though a pair of shoes might be presented as suitable for people who suffer from plantar fasciitis, this does not mean it will suit each and every patient out there. When shopping for plantar fasciitis shoes, it is important to seek out and choose a pair that suits your individual needs. For example, some shoes are more suitable for those who have a high arch, meaning supinators. Others are more likely to be recommended to pronators or those who have flat feet. No matter which type you are, make sure that the pair of shoes you purchase is both comfortable and durable.

Less-desirable-features should be considered too

No pair of shoes is perfect and there will always be certain features you will be less pleased with. For example, you might want to avoid plantar fasciitis shoes that are too heavy, as these will cause a lot of discomfort (no matter how comfortable they might seem at first, remember you still have to walk in them). You will also want to avoid shoes that have a tight fit, as these will only exacerbate the pain. Do not purchase shoes that have a narrow toe box, especially if you have also been recommended to wear orthotic inserts. As comfort is one of the most important words to remember, refrain from wearing shoes that have too little cushioning at the level of the heel.

For a lot of people, durability is an essential feature to take into consideration. This is because there are a lot of plantar fasciitis shoes that are sold at a high price and it is only normal that you would want for your investment to last. Another feature to be on the lookout for is the thickness of the footbed; it should not be too thin or too thick, as both situations can cause genuine discomfort. Do not wear shoes that are too rigid, as these can make the symptomatology of plantar fasciitis even worse.

The best shoes for women

plantar fasciitis areas of pain
Many women have jobs that require a lot of standing or uncomfortable sitting. In such situations, having a pair of shoes that is comfortable to wear becomes a must. Now, if you are also suffering from plantar fasciitis, it matters even more to find a pair of shoes to provide the adequate arch and heel support. The best shoes are the ones that are comfortable, being designed by genuine specialists.

Apart from the deep heel cap, you should seek out a pair of shoes that provides comfortable soles. Your shoes should be able to absorb shocks, as this feature will reduce the pain experienced at the level of the heels. For example, it is recommended to choose a pair of shoes that has not only a padded footbed but also high heel support.

For women, it is important to have a pair of shoes that look and feel great at the same time. You will be happy to know that modern-generation plantar fasciitis shoes come in a wide range of colors and designs, being able to satisfy the tastes and personal preferences of even the most pretentious shopper out there. Many women prefer shoes that have soft leather interiors, as these are the most comfortable to wear.

The best shoes for men

Men require adequate heel and arch support as much as women. For this reason, it is only normal to seek out shoes that have been developed or designed by podiatrists and other specialists. The arch support should be outstanding, so as to guarantee a reduction in the intensity of the pain experienced. Moreover, features such as the deep heel cup and the molded midsole will complete the pain-free wear experience of the respective shoes.

The great thing about men’s shoes is that many of them have been specifically designed to eliminate heel pain. They can also improve one’s gait, especially when it comes to the heel-to-toe strike. By wearing such shoes, one does not have to worry about the symptoms of plantar fasciitis anymore. On the contrary, he can spend a lot of hours standing, going through the regular workday routine without any additional effort.

An interesting feature of the plantar fasciitis shoes for men is the full-grain leather upper. This is quite popular, as many men appreciate the softness it provides, as well as the strong support that comes with it. The outsole of the shoe should be slip resistant and durable, so that the respective shoes can be worn for a prolonged period of time and in various environments.

There are special shoes that can be worn by those who have a low arch or flat feet. These provide enhanced stability and outstanding motion control, the soft cushioning reducing the intensity of the heel pain. Other shoes are more recommended for those who are pronate the foot excessively. Special shoes have also been designed for overweight people who suffer from plantar fasciitis, with added cushioning and a thicker, shock-absorbent footbed.

Research confirms adequate footwear as being necessary for plantar fasciitis sufferers

According to an article[1] regarding plantar fasciitis, presented by specialists from the University of California (Berkeley), this condition affects both people who are active and those who lead a sedentary lifestyle. The inflammation of the plantar fascia is almost always caused by chronic overload, either due to excess physical training or improper lifestyle choices. One of the choices that we clearly make in a wrong manner is related to footwear. Most often, we choose affordability in the face of quality, forgetting that inadequate footwear can actually make plantar fasciitis worse.

As a study[2] published online, on the US National Library of Medicine, clearly points out, one of the possible causes of plantar fasciitis is wearing improper shoes. It is believed that shoes that have thin soles, those that are excessively worn or loose cause the plantar fascia to become inflamed and painful. The same goes for those that do not provide adequate arch or heel support or fail to absorb shocks. High-heeled shoes are on that list as well, as they shorten the Achilles tendon and put a lot of stress on the plantar fascia. Wearing appropriate shoes is presented as a form of treatment for plantar fasciitis.

In a handout[3] developed by specialists from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, supportive shoes are presented as part of the treatment solutions. These specialists recommend that the shoes for patients with plantar fasciitis should have thick soles and also added cushioning, in order to reduce the pain associated with both standing and walking. Support shoes can eliminate the pressure on the plantar fascia and also reduce the risk of microtrauma that could cause further damage. It is also indicated to wear soft silicone heel pads in these shoes, as these are cheap and they offer added protection to the heels.

In an article[4] that addresses potential treatments for plantar fasciitis, shoes are considered as one of the most efficient non-surgical solutions. The article emphasizes the fact that non-surgical treatments are more efficient when it comes to plantar fasciitis, in comparison to the surgical intervention. The shoes for this condition should have adequate arch support, added heel cushioning and be sturdy in general. They are recommended not only for the treatment but also for the prevention of plantar fasciitis, along with maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding excessive physical training.

Final word

From what has been said so far, you have probably understood that people who suffer from plantar fasciitis require adequate footwear, in order to absorb shocks and reduce the intensity of the pain experienced. By wearing inadequate shoes or, even worse, going barefoot, one will most likely experience invalidating pain, present with each and every step that is being taken.

Plantar fasciitis shoes should have orthotic insoles and gel cushioning, being designed to alleviate the pain caused by this inflammatory condition. They should have adequate arch and heel support, correcting deviations, such as excessive pronation and aligning the foot in a proper manner. Worn on a daily basis, these shoes are going to eliminate the tension experienced at the level of the plantar ligaments and reduce the heel pain.

The gel cushioning is one of the most important features to seek out, as it can improve the heel pain. Also, the lightweight soles and the ergonomic design should be able to absorb shocks and reduce the pressure on the plantar fascia. A good pair of shoes should allow you to stand and walk in a comfortable manner, alleviating the general stress on the foot.

References:
[1] University of California, Berkeley, Plantar Fasciitis https://uhs.berkeley.edu/sites/default/files/plantar_fasciitis.pdf
[2] US National Library of Medicine, National Instutute of Health http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3951039/
[3] American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons, http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/PDFs/A00149.pdf
[4] http://consumerhealthchoices.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/ChoosingWiselyPlantarAOFAS-ER.pdf


About the Author Amy Williams

Amy is a foot massage therapist that has worked with doctors specializing in podiatry while helping numerous clients through various foot conditions. She has reviewed 100s of related foot health products for plantar fasciitis, toenail fungus and more.

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