6 Plantar Fasciitis Insoles That Could Finally Ease Your Foot Pain
Plantar fasciitis might feel like you’re repeatedly being stabbed in the heel or bottom of your foot. But can something as basic as a store-bought insole for plantar fasciitis make the pain go away, or at least make it more bearable?
Maybe—if you find the right one.
“A shoe insert can externally support the arch, thus reducing the stress or load on the arch,” explains Kenneth Jung, MD, orthopedic foot and ankle surgeon at Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute in Los Angeles, California. Plantar fasciitis insoles also provide a cushy cup for your heel to relieve pressure. Together, those things can help make your foot feel more comfortable.
The products aren’t cure-alls, though. Over-the-counter inserts are just one option for managing plantar fasciitis pain. (Shoes for plantar fasciitis are also worth looking into.) And because they’re inexpensive, they’re a good first option to try before considering getting fitted for custom orthotics which usually require a doctor’s prescription, Dr. Jung says.
Just keep in mind that there isn’t much research out there on how well store-bought inserts work or which ones are the most effective, says Kamran Hamid, MD, MPH, a foot and ankle surgeon at Midwest Orthopedics at Rush University in Chicago, Illinois. That means personal comfort counts for a lot. Inserts should have cushioning under the arch and heel to provide support and redistribute pressure that can cause pain, say Dr. Jung and Dr. Hamid. But beyond that? “The most important aspect is how they feel to you,” Dr. Hamid says. “Some are helpful and some may exacerbate your condition.”
In other words, finding an effective insert might involve a little bit of experimenting. Here are six top-rated options on Amazon that are worth sinking your feet into.
These boast a firm yet flexible shell to support and stabilize arches, plus shock absorbing cushioning in the heel for intense activities like running or hiking. As a bonus, the antimicrobial outer fabric helps feet stay dry—helping stave off nasty odors and blisters.
The medical-grade foam used in these inserts delivers maximum shock absorption, while the ergonomic design supports and stabilizes your arches. At the same time, they’re ultra lightweight, making them ideal for running or other sports.
Made for everyday use, the arch and heel cup are designed to provide moderate support for walking or standing on your feet for extended periods. A combo of high-density foam and silicone help reduce shock absorption without being too thick, so that the inserts can fit into a wide variety of shoes.
The lightweight foam padding and deep heel cup help evenly distribute pressure around feet, which can help minimize fatigue when you’re walking or standing for long periods. Another perk: The 3/4 length insoles make these puppies more likely to fit into several different pairs of your shoes.
Full-length inserts are usually too thick for heels or dress shoes. Cups work much better and can provide added cushioning around the heel to absorb pressure and minimize soreness. These are made of soft, moldable gel, which massages the heel while contouring to the shape of your foot.
Prefer something a little less squishy? These heel cups are made from rubber, offering firm cushioning. The patented fascia bar also applies pressure to your plantar fascia ligament, providing support for the back part of your arch.
Even though you can buy inserts without a prescription, you should still see your doctor before self-treating your foot pain. “It’s a good idea to confirm your diagnosis before spending a fortune on inserts,” Dr. Hamid says.
Video: HOW DO YOU TREAT HEEL/FOOT PAIN? TREATING PLANTAR FASCIITIS - FOOT HEALTH MONTH 2018 #5
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