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Shoes, insoles and splints: Cushioning and support - Plantar fasciitis

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Shoes, insoles and splints: Cushioning and support - Plantar fasciitis

When our feet hurt many of us intuitively seek out softer shoes or insoles.

  • While this approach can work well for pain caused by excessive pressure, cushioning can actually make plantar fasciitis worse.

  • The reason for this is that excessive cushioning encourages the arch of the foot to collapse, increasing stress on the planter fascia and exacerbating inflammation.

  • So while cushioning may offer some comfort, it can work against relieving pain and inflammation. Overtly soft shoes are as plroblematic as excessively rigid shoes.

  • The best footwear solutions offer a combination of cushioning and support. e.g., firm plastic or foams under the arch and denser materials in the midsole of the shoe. 
  • This combination is crucial to facilitate healing and prevent reccurrences of plantar fasciitis.

  • Investing in at least one pair of good shoes that can accommodate an insole is important for long-term pain relief.

  • Many people own shoes that aggravate heel pain. For example, dress shoes, high heels, and sandals often lack support and do not have room for insoles. 

If you have shoes that are aggravating your condition, you should either stop wearing them or at least limit their wearing time and frequency until the heel pain is resolved.

  • If wearing a particular pair of shoes reaggravates the plantar fascia, it is best to stop wearing them entirely. 
  • Insoles can be of great benefit for those who are already wearing supportive shoes but not experiencing relief. A cushioned heel cup or firm arch support can provide tremendous relief.

  • Not all insoles, however are equal. Thin, light, soft, and low -profile insoles usually offer less protection then thick, dense insoles.
  • As with shoes, the best results are usually obtained with insoles that combine firm support with some cushioning.
  • But even the best insoles cannoct mafically turn an unsupportive shoe into a supportive shoe.
  • If using over-the-counter insoles with good shoes has not helped, its time to visit a podiatrist.)

  • Splints are another type of treatment for plantar fasciitis. They are used when sleeping or sitting.
  • They work by keeping the foot positioned perpendicular to the leg, gently stretching the fascia and promoting its healing.
  • Some, such as the Strassburg sock, look like a knee-high stocking with a cord stretching from the knee to the toes.
  • Other splints are made from lightweigth padded plastic and look like walking casts.
  • Splints often reduce the pain that comes with standing or walking after sleeping or sitting,
  • Once you have recovered from plantar fasc iitis, you no longer have to wear a splint.
  • Reference: Feet For Life: Paul Langer, DPM

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