Best Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis 2019 Reviewed & Rated
Plantar fasciitis is a common but painful condition, caused by stress and strain that deteriorates the strong tendon that connects the heel to the toes, supporting the arch of the foot. While the plantar fascia tendon can be strained in many ways, most normal cases of plantar fasciitis can be treated with rest and proper care. However, it’s important to take active steps to prevent recurrence of this painful condition before further deterioration occurs. If allowed to progress, plantar fasciitis can cause painful heel spurs that require surgery to correct.
Today we’re looking at plantar fasciitis to show what causes it, how you can recover from it, and how to prevent it from coming back. The right shoes are crucial to reducing foot and heel pain and preventing plantar fasciitis from returning. We’re evaluating the best shoes for plantar fasciitis to eliminate pain and fatigue and help you get back to normal.
Last update on 2019-08-20 PST – Details
Best Men’s Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis
Last update on 2019-08-20 PST – Details
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is usually experienced as the sharp pain in the heel when bearing weight, although it is actually caused by problems and inflammation in the connective tissue supporting the arch of the foot. Nearly 10% of people will suffer from plantar fasciitis at some point in their lives, although the disorder is still poorly understood.
Generally speaking, it presents as a sharp, stabbing pain in the heel when putting weight on it after long periods of rest, so the pain is more intense in the morning upon getting out of bed, or standing after long periods of sitting. It is also painful to bend the feet and toes upward, as well as to bear weight downward. Plantar fasciitis is sometimes accompanied by numbness, tingling, or swelling of the foot.
What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is thought to be caused by deterioration of the plantar fascia, the thick band of connective tissue that extends along the base of the foot, originating in the heel and supporting the arch. We still do not know exactly what causes plantar fasciitis, but risk factors are:
Excess Body Weight
Excess body weight is a high-risk factor for plantar fasciitis because carrying the additional weight can strain the support structures in the feet.
Overuse From Prolonged Standing
Standing or walking on hard surfaces for long periods of time stresses your plantar fascia, and can cause strain and damage.
As we age, we are more likely to develop plantar fasciitis, particularly if our lifestyles have strained or stressed our feet. Most people with plantar fasciitis are between 40-60 years old.
Certain forms of exercise stress the arch of the foot and can cause plantar fasciitis. Running, jumping, tennis, and basketball can all strain the feet and cause injury or damage over time.
Sudden Change in Exercise Habits
Plantar fasciitis sometimes occurs when a sedentary person suddenly starts a high-intensity exercise program, particularly when the new activity involves a lot of impact on the feet.
Inward Rolling of The Foot
Unusual body mechanics, particularly when the posture or gait roll the feet inward, increases strain on the sole of the foot and contributes to plantar fasciitis.
Both high arches and flat feet are at increased risk for plantar fasciitis.
Shoes without adequate arch support contribute to plantar fasciitis, and shoes with a moderate heel height can lift the arch and decrease stress and strain on the plantar fascia, helping to prevent foot pain.
Treatments for Plantar Fasciitis
The immediate, sharp pain of plantar fasciitis often resolves on its own, as the pain decreases with light walking and movement. Most symptoms are eased by 3-6 weeks of:
- Easing strain on your feet with relaxation, and avoiding foot-stressing activities
- Continuing to get light, easy exercise to maintain circulation and flexibility in the foot, along with frequent stretching
- Adopting the proper footwear to protect the foot from further stress or damage
- Over the counter pain relievers often help with acute pain
- Icing the painful area for a few minutes, several times a day, to help to ease the pain
For most people, with care and effort, these methods can eliminate the pain of plantar fasciitis within 3-6 months. However, for some people, the condition progresses, and they end up needing more advanced medical interventions. A doctor may prescribe additional treatments, including steroids, anti-inflammatory substances, or even foot surgery.
It is important to remember that, even if the symptoms of plantar fasciitis have resolved, it is important to take steps and make changes to prevent any recurrence. Ongoing stress and irritation of the plantar fascia often eventually creates painful heel spurs that require surgery to correct. Because plantar fasciitis is often initially caused or triggered by our behavior and lifestyle, lasting treatment involves addressing these lifestyle causes to prevent it in the future.
How to Prevent the Recurrence of Plantar Fasciitis
Whether you are recovering from plantar fasciitis, or have foot pain and want to prevent it in the future, here are the best steps to follow to prevent plantar fascia inflammation and pain.
Stretching and Massaging
Stretching and massaging the feet and the Achilles tendon is important to prevent further damage to the feet. Massage and stretch when you first wake up in the morning, before and after exercise, and during the day as needed, if your work strains your feet. Some good stretches for plantar fasciitis include:
- Strengthen your arch muscles by placing a towel or cloth on the floor while you are seated. Place your foot on the towel, and grip it with your toes, pulling it toward you
- Loosen your arch muscles by grabbing the top of your toes while seated. Gently pull your toes upward toward your shin, stretching the entire sole of the foot
- Stand to face a wall, with your arms out in front of you and your palms flat on the wall. Step one leg out behind you into a high lunge, and lightly bend your knees, feeling a stretch in your calf muscles and Achilles tendon. Hold this position for 30 seconds without bouncing, and then switch legs to stretch the other side
Reduce Stress on Your Feet
Determine what has caused your plantar fasciitis and try to correct the root cause.
- If your plantar fasciitis is due to over-exertion during sports, switch to reduced-impact activities. Try running on grass instead of pavement, to further cushion the feet
- If you work by walking or standing on hard surfaces, see if you can get a rubber or cork mat to walk on
- If you have excess body weight, losing a few pounds benefits the whole body, not just the feet
- If your plantar fasciitis is due to problems with your gait, there are exercises you can do to open your hips, strengthen your supporting muscles, and correct your gait
Choose The Right Footwear
Having the right footwear is arguably the best way to correct plantar fasciitis and prevent it from recurring. The correct footwear protects your foot from the stress of impact by absorbing the shock and cushioning your feet; supports your arches to take weight off of the plantar fascia; and promotes a good balance, gait, and body mechanics.
Maintain Moderate Physical Activity
Provided you are not in pain, moderate exercise promotes foot flexibility and circulation, and can help ease plantar fasciitis. High-impact exercise is not recommended while the plantar fascia is inflamed, and neither is complete idleness. Walking at a moderate pace, Pilates and swimming are all excellent exercises that won’t overly stress the foot, and are particularly beneficial if excess weight is exacerbating foot pain and strain.
What Kind of Shoes Are Best for Plantar Fasciitis?
Remember that, while plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the ligaments in the arch of the foot, it is experienced as pain in the heel. When trying to prevent plantar fasciitis, the heel is perhaps the most important part of the shoe.
A Shoe Should Fit Properly in The Heel
The heel of the shoe should gently cradle the heel of the foot, without slipping, and without putting undue pressure on the Achilles tendon.
The Heel Should be Elevated
A heel that is 2-3 centimeters higher than the toe of the shoe reduces pressure on the arch of the foot. Keep in mind that this is not a recommendation for “high heels;” many supportive and athletic shoes have a thicker sole beneath the heel than beneath the toe box to provide this additional height without visibly altering the design.
The Heel Should be Firm but Cushioned
Cushioning refers not only to the way the sole protects the foot on the outside of the shoe but also to how comfortable and protective it is inside the shoe. However, it shouldn’t be soft; it needs to provide balance and stability in addition to cushioning.
The Heel Should Have Shock Absorption
If you engage in high-impact activities, look for additional gel or air cushions for added shock absorption to further protect the heel of the foot from hard impacts.
Arch support is the second most important feature in a shoe for plantar fasciitis, but the amount you need may vary widely. Plantar fasciitis can be caused by both high and low arches (flat feet) and is also affected by pronation or supination of the feet. The arch of the shoe should snugly support the arch of the foot without pressure. The ideal pair of shoes should be able to hug the arch of your foot and help with the gait cycle.
Plantar fasciitis makes the foot more reactive to pressure and pain. Shoe cushioning can protect the heel from the painful pressure of plantar fasciitis, and provide additional comfort.
What’s The Role of Insoles?
For many people, insoles are a helpful way to relieve the pain of plantar fasciitis. Many shoes have insoles built into the shoe bed that will correct for stresses on the plantar fascia and eases the pain. People with otherwise normal feet can often purchase over-the-counter insoles, provided their shoes will accommodate them, and benefit from the increased support and correction of insoles. For people with unusual feet or gait, it may be necessary to see a professional have custom-made insoles that will support your particular needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Questions 1: How Does Plantar Fasciitis Occur?
- Answers: The stretching of the ligament can be caused by anything such as starting to run, standing for prolonged periods or gaining weight.
- Questions 2: How Will Shoes Provide Relief for Plantar Fasciitis
- Answers: Shoes with a stabilizing construction and good arch support will alleviate the pressure off your plantar fascia. The pain usually starts when there isn’t enough support.
- Questions 3: How Long Does It Take for The Pain To Subside?
- Answers: Each person heals differently, but the general answer is that with the right shoes, you could see a difference in a few days as the soft tissue starts to heal.
- Questions 4: Do I Need Shoe Inserts?
- Answers: You should actually get shoes that already have the right arch support and don’t need any inserts. If you do require inserts, get ones with extra cushioning which will help take the shock of your feet.
Plantar fasciitis is a painful condition, and if your lifestyle stresses and wears at your feet, it is likely to return. With time, care, and rest, you can soothe the inflammation, but it’s critical to take steps to protect and care for your feet to prevent it from coming back, and to prevent further deterioration in the foot.
By choosing the right shoes, you give your foot the necessary support and stability to reduce inflammation, protect your feet, and prevent foot pain. The best shoes for plantar fasciitis provide the right cushioning from impacts, support through the arch, and protection for the heel that you need to recover quickly and get on with your life.