Plantar Fasciitis is a common cause of heel pain. You may also hear it referred to as heel spurs. This is because it develops when calcium deposits (spurs) form on the ligament that runs the length of the sole of your foot. This is the Plantar Fascia. If your feet are out of alignment, it can separate from the heel. This leads to calcium deposits and heel pain.
The pain can be so intense that you simply must stay off your feet, and this can cause a tremendous decline in your health and quality of life. Luckily, there are many things you can do to ease the pain of Plantar Fasciitis without surgery. In this article we will recommend some exercises and lifestyle changes that can help. We will also provide sound advice to help you choose the right shoes, insoles and compression socks to promote healing and ease your pain. Read on to learn more.
How Do You Know You Have Plantar Fasciitis?
If you do have plantar fasciitis, you will are very likely to feel pain in the heel the moment you get out of bed in the morning. This pain will diminish as the day progresses.
You may also feel pain when you:
- Massage Your Foot
Clearly this constant pain can hamper your activities and dampen your enjoyment of life. Take heart, though! If you put a bit of effort into getting well-fitted shoes, the right insoles and effective compression socks, you can greatly reduce or even eliminate your pain in less than two weeks time.
Find The Right Shoes For Avoiding, Coping With & Treating Plantar Fasciitis
Very often, plantar fasciitis is caused by poorly fitted shoes. This is especially true for very active adults, as well as people who are overweight and/or have diabetes. Wearing the wrong shoes for your chosen activity or wearing shoes that just do not align and support your heels and arches can cause over pronation (excessive stress on the arches). When this happens, the arches collapse and the plantar fascia becomes loose and prone to develop calcium deposits.
Some of the worst culprits among poorly fitting shoes often seem as if they would be very comfortable. Unfortunately, soft shoes, those with ultra-flexible soles and those that claim to provide a “barefoot” walking experience simply don’t provide the structure and support needed to avoid Plantar Fasciitis.
Finding Supportive Shoes, Boots & Everyday Footwear For Plantar Fasciitis
Footwear designed for the care of plantar fasciitis are available in varying degrees of support and in a wide variety of styles. You can choose mild, moderate or maximum support. Your choice would depend upon the degree of over-pronation you have; your size, weight and fitness level and your intended activity.
Having the right shoes for the task is of the utmost importance. Be sure to get tennis shoes for playing tennis, aerobics shoes for aerobics, hiking boots for hiking and so forth. Shoes are designed to provide specific support for specific activities. You can damage your feet and cause yourself a surprisingly great deal of pain and discomfort by wearing the wrong footwear.
10 Great Choices In Walking Shoes For People Who Suffer From Plantar Fasciitis
1. Brooks Addiction Walker Walking Shoes
Brooks hit the nail on the head when they labeled these walking shoes as Addiction Walkers. The full grain leather shoes come in black or white for simple accessory purposes. No flash is needed in these lace up or velcro-secured slip-on styles. The thick, durable, slip resistant rubber sole has an energy returning midsole. Wide toe box easily tends to those with current or recurring foot pain.Built-in textile sock liner keeps feet cool and dry as it wicks away moisture. And the specialized footbed caters to over-pronated low arches. These Addiction Walkers feel like a running shoe for serious walkers or all-day workers with Plantar Fasciitis pain. The convenience of the lock v-strap is wonderful velcro closure shoe version, but many customers complain that Brooks has made the straps too short in the newer models. This allows the tongue to slip if brisk walking is attempted. But for casual walking – even miles worth – they are generally the best answer, especially since they’re deep enough to allow your own orthotics.
2. Saucony Grid Omni Walking Shoes
Saucony Grid Omni comes in black or white full grain leather options to match any fashion or style need. The Saucony ProGrid offers top performance to serious walkers with heel pain or discomfort caused by Plantar Fasciitis.Available in various widths, including double E wide width options for men and narrow and wide widths for women, the Stretch Zone panel aids in providing the perfect fit. Non marking sole and midsole Walk-Trac ensure a comfortable all day experience whether you’re using them for fitness or work needs. Both color options are a true fit, but consider ordering up a half size to allow for thicker socks.
3. Vionic with Orthaheel Technology Men’s Walking Shoes
The Vionic Orthaheel Men’s Walker is made primarily of leather with mesh paneling for a proper fit and breathability. Available in three color options, these shoes work well with just about any fitness or work-related fashion demand. This simple looking shoe has a lace up, open entry for easy access. Lightweight, flexible rubber sole offers lift and security over an array of terrain.
The shock absorbing midsole reduces pressure on the back, knees, and ankles so the wearer can enjoy his walking experience. The Vionic Endurance sneaker was designed by a podiatrist to heel and correct foot conditions including Plantar Fasciitis, heel spurs, bunions, and arch-related issues such as over-pronation. The removable footbed provides the perfect amount of support and has a deep heel cup that helps improve posture and balance. They do tend to run small, however, so ordering up to a full size larger is a smart plan for these modern wonders.
4. ASICS Men’s GEL-Nimbus 18 Running Shoes
Asics Gel-Nimbus comes in multiple color options for seriously fashionable fitness. These synthetic and mesh upper runner/walkers have an exoskeletal appearance while promoting comfort, fit, and optimal breathability. These are great for all men, whether they’re on their feet all day via work or training for marathons. FluidRide midsole provides a bounce-back effect and promotes more fluid movement. This takes pressure off of the back, hips and knees. Gel cushioning in the heel and forefoot absorb shock and reduce pain and discomfort in healing foot conditions.While the heel counter and groove sole address and help correct pronation concerns. The only real concern in the insole. It provides less padding than many would like for the price of the shoe. However, the Gel-Nimbus is deep enough to allow personal orthotics, so that may not even be an issue. Simply be aware that adding your own padding may be necessary when considering this true-fit, best performing walking shoes from ASICS for Plantar Fasciitis.
5. Brooks Adrenaline GTS 17 Running Shoes
Brooks Adrenaline GTS 17 sneakers succeed the 16 with extra cushioning and support. Available in men’s and women’s models, they provide the carefree wear with the styling and color pop desired by fitness enthusiasts of any age. Uppers created of mesh and synthetic materials control moisture and aid in breathability. Durable outsole is heavily treaded and contains shock absorbing crash pads along the heel and middle foot for extra support and easier mobility. Progressive Diagonal Rollbar aids in pronation control and correction. Perfect for the moderate overpronator who needs extra padding and stability, the internal footbed molds to the user’s foot, cushioning each step in gentle but effective comfort, while providing excellent arch support. The Universal Spring Platform enhances the walking experience for multiple width needs. And the wider toe box allows those with Plantar Fasciitis to begin recovering from the painful condition in the comfort and style they’d expect from Brooks.
6. ASICS Gel-Foundation 12 Running Shoes
Asics Gel line contains some of the most comfortable and supportive shoes for men and women on the market. And the Gel-Foundation 12 sneakers are among their best, especially for those suffering from current or recurring Plantar Fasciitis. This model is available in both men’s and women’s options. But the women’s sizes tend to run very small. As they’re basically the same shoe, some women opt to order the men’s version online and find no issues with that. Both are offered in wider widths as well. Mesh and synthetic upper promotes breathability.The overall shape of the shoe, snug heel, and wider toe box offer stability and support for even severe overpronators. The 1/4” platform sole has a mid rise which bounces back to provide extra shock absorption and durability. Gel cushioning systems in the forefoot and heel support the entire body and aid in foot gait changes. And Asics ComforDry fabric liner wicks away moisture while controlling odor-causing bacteria. If you require special orthotics for flat feet, these may give you problems as the arch support is significant. But for those who require substantial arch support, this model is a great option.
7. ASICS Gel Kayano 24
Asics Gel Kayano sneakers comes in men’s and women’s models in colors ranging from functional black to funky, fun, and fashionable options for either gender. The mesh and synthetic uppers offer a perfect stretch fit and breathability. Unlike previous Kayano models, the 24 tends to run up to a size small. So try before buying if at all possible.Tech essentials make this fluid controlled shoe a joy to wear. The high-abrasion rubber sole contains a 1.5” heel with bounce back cushion and an Impact Guidance System. That’s basically a fancy way of saying it absorbs shock and has extra padding. Ortholite sock liner controls moisture and odor for all-day wear. Kayano can be helpful for people with heel spurs, Plantar Fasciitis, tendonitis, and aids those with moderate pronation. Just be sure to order up at least a half size larger than your norm if you can’t find these in stock to try them on at a local shoe store.
8. New Balance 840 Health Walking Shoe
9. Vionic Women’s Walker Classic Shoes
10. OOFOS Unisex OOcloog Clog
Vionic with Orthaheel Technology Women’s Zen Walking Shoes – (Out of Stock)
Vionic Zen Walking Shoes are the perfect orthotic fashion accessory for your tired, overworked feet. Available in multiple color options, you’re the only one who will know that these full grain leather shoes actually serve a medical purpose. Outside, they’re sleek and sophisticated with a manmade shock absorbing rubber sole that gradually inclines for bounce-back and rocker-style liftoff. Flexible midsole reduces pressure on knees and joints. While the multi-directional grip traction ensures a safe journey wherever your feet take you. But the inside of the shoe is where it really shines.
The footbed of this sneaker was designed by a podiatrist to heal and realign the foot to a neutral gait. This properly padded biomechanical footbed has a deep heel cup to reduce the risk of heel spurs. Some women with Plantar Fasciitis, specifically, find the toe box too narrow for comfort. So going up a half to full size may be beneficial if that’s the reason for buying this shoe. Otherwise, most customers agree the fit is true to size.
Dr. Weil Rhythm Women’s Lace-Up Walking Shoes – (Out of Stock)
Dr. Weil Rhythm is available in multiple colors for easy fashion or career needs. Made entirely of synthetic materials with a full mesh upper, these shoes offer unparalleled breathability. However, the fit is noted to be 1/2 a size small, so be sure to order up in size. They also do not cater to wider width needs. Lightweight, flexible midsole offers plenty of comfort while being durable enough to withstand serious fitness expectations.
Rubberized cross-patterned tread sole has a flex zone right at the seams to protect against pain and damage. Podiatrist-created footbed is properly cushioned throughout. It contains ample arch support and a lowered, secure heel cup for stability, realignment and healing needs which can be ideal for anyone looking for comfortable footwear for the heel pain due to Plantar Fasiitis . Whether needed for fitness or work, these Rhythm Lace-Up women’s walkers are the best shoes to keep you active, energized, and pain-free the entire time you’re on your feet.
When selecting the right footwear to suit your physique, activity level and degree of pronation, here are seven important points to keep in mind:
- Choose laced shoes over slip-ons. Lacing allows you to adjust support for a custom fit. Slip-ons naturally fit loosely and typically do not provide enough support.
- The heel counter should be firm and supportive. This is rear of the shoe. It encloses and supports your heel bone. It should be firm, yet comfortable to provide consistent, reliable support.
- Heels should be slightly elevated. A heel about one inch high provides relief from heel pressure.
- The sole should be comfortably firm. Soft, cushy soles will not give your arches good support or align your feet and ankles. You should not be able to bend or twist the sole easily. It should only bend at the point where your toes connect with your feet.
- Be sure the shoes you choose have a “rocker” sole and not a flat sole. This will help absorb shock as you step forward.
- Be sure the shoes have a good toe rocker. This is the “roll” at the toe of the shoe that allows your foot to move forward naturally as you walk or run. Running shoes, especially must have upward curving toe rockers to prevent stretching the plantar fascia excessively.
- Choose shoes that provide strong arch support. You may need to augment this with good orthotic insoles for a perfect fit.
Orthotic insoles are specially designed to provide good arch support, stabilize your heels, align your feet and ankles and cushion the soles of your feet. Equipping your existing footwear with well-designed insoles for use by people suffering from plantar fasciitis can help prevent or soothe the condition and support recovery.
Look for these important features:
- Correct arch support : Choose from low, neutral or high arch.
- Deep heel cup : This is standard with most insoles designed for plantar fasciitis.
- Good cushioning : Look for comfortable cushioning across the entire top surface.
- Shock absorption : Look for added padding at the ball-of-foot and the heel.
Arch support is available in three levels:
1. Cushioned Support: Bubble cushioning is lightly supportive of the arch.
2. Semi-Rigid Support: Firm, yet flexible arch support.
3. Fully Rigid support: Rigid, inflexible arch support.
To prevent or treat plantar fasciitis, you are best off choosing semi-rigid or fully rigid support.
A deep heel cup combined with the right height and firmness of arch support provides tremendous stability to the plantar fascia. The insole brands that put the sharpest focus on these qualities are Powerstep, Orthaheel, Tread Labs and Superfeet.
1. Orthaheel Relief Full Length Orthotic Insole
2. Powerstep Pinnacle Premium Orthotic Shoe Insoles
3. Tread Labs Insoles for Plantar Fasciitis
These insoles come in different arch heights that are suitable for people with flat feet or neutral feet. You can choose the arch level best suited for your foot.
4. Superfeet Green Heritage Insoles
Superfeet Green provide superior support and odor control is a slim-fit, vegan-approved insole.
Of these three choices, Powerstep provides the best cushioning. Orthaheel is notable for added padding at the heel and ball of foot. Superfeet is an excellent choice if you are looking for a slim insole that will fit easily in most shoes.
Compression socks are toeless socks that you can wear with any sort of footwear and in conjunction with any insoles. These socks apply strong compression directly to the arch of the foot. This pressure raises the arch, relieves pain and prevents cramping.
This extra support helps tears in the ligament heal faster and reduces pain quickly and significantly. Many wearers report immediate relief. For some it may take a day or two to feel the full effect.
When choosing compression socks, it’s important to get the right size. It is very important not to go up a size because this will compromise the amount of support the socks can provide.
When you put these socks on, they should fit like a second skin. Be sure to smooth out any wrinkles to prevent sore spots and blisters. They should be very snug and may be a bit difficult to put on. Just bear with it and be patient.
Because compression socks are so tight and form-fitting, you can wear them with footwear that would not accommodate an insole. For example, you might use them with formal shoes covered by opaque hosiery. You could use them with thong sandals if you wear Japanese Tabi socks or toe socks.
Here are three top-rated compression sock brands:
1. Physix Gear Sport Plantar Fasciitis Socks with Arch Support
2. Bitly Plantar Fasciitis Socks (1 Pair) Premium Ankle Support foot Compression Sleeve
3. Thirty48 Plantar Fasciitis Compression Socks
It’s always wise to go with high quality brands. You can expect to pay $16 – $25 for a good pair of compression socks; however, you can also expect these socks to last a very long time with good care. Hand-wash with a gentle detergent and air dry for best results.
With consistent use, compression socks can help you get through your day pain-free. You may find it advantageous to keep them at your bedside so that you can put them on before taking that first painful step in the morning!
You shouldn’t wear these socks overnight. Although these light, comfortable socks are designed to provide support without interfering with range-of-motion or blood circulation, it’s far wiser to give your feet a break and a bit of relaxation while you sleep.
If you do find that your feet and legs cramp while you are sleeping, you could use a support sleeve or a night splint. Discuss this possibility with your doctor or podiatrist.
Take Care Of Your Feet To Avoid & Treat Plantar Fasciitis
You can spare yourself pain by establishing good foot care habits before problems develop. A combination of stretching, exercise and good support can really help you avoid and cope with foot problems.
Even if you don’t have plantar fasciitis now, it’s still smart to wear the right footwear, use the right insoles and wear compression socks especially when your feet will be under stress. Providing your feet with the right kind of support can prevent or treat this painful condition.
Establish a daily exercise routine to keep the joints, tendons and ligaments of your feet supple and flexible. If your feet are too painful to allow ambulatory exercise, practice seated and reclining exercise routines.
Yoga poses that focus on the feet and lower legs can be very helpful. Stretches using a strap or simply applying pressure by hand are quite effective to prevent cramping in the plantar fascia as well as in the calf muscles.
Rest your feet regularly. Don’t overdo exercise, and be sure to put your feet up whenever you can to promote better blood circulation and to allow the muscles, tendons and ligaments to relax. Invest in a foot spa for ultimate relaxation.
If your feet are in pain, use ice compresses to reduce swelling and inflammation and ease the pain. Talk with your doctor or podiatrist about over-the-counter pain killers that might be effective.
Take good care of your overall health by watching your weight, eating well, getting ample rest and regular exercise and taking your vitamins. If you are troubled by foot and leg cramps, you may be suffering from a lack of calcium, magnesium and potassium. Discuss this with your doctor or podiatrist.
Take Control With Good Habits & Smart Choices
Plantar fasciitis can be absolutely debilitating if you allow it to be. By combining wise lifestyle habits with smart choices in footwear, insoles and compression socks, you can take control and avoid or eliminate the pain and damage associated with this common condition.