One in five Americans have experienced Plantar Fasciitis and two million visits are made to physicians annually for this condition. Many of these people look for over-the-counter insoles for Plantar Fasciitis to help them with their foot pain. If you do not have Plantar Fasciitis, it is likely that you know someone who has had the condition.
Most often, Plantar Fasciitis is a stabbing pain in the heel. usually worse when getting out of bed in the morning or after sitting and then getting up. This pain can be intense and radiate to the arch, ankle, or even up the leg. Plantar Fasciitis can be very severe, not allowing you to put weight on the heel. The reason you developed this is sometimes not clear. The foot usually looks normal from the outside, with no bruising or swelling, but OH, can it hurt!
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar Fasciitis is an enlargement of the ligament on the bottom of the foot called the Plantar Fascia. The Plantar Fascia goes from your heel and attaches into the toes. As you take a step and move forward, the toes usually move upward providing a stretch for the Plantar Fascia. If the Plantar Fascia does not get stretched enough with every step, the Plantar Fascia becomes tight. Not only does the Plantar Fascia become tight, but sometimes the Achilles tendon behind the lower leg can also get tight, according to Dr. James Clough, DPM.
Common Causes for Plantar Fasciitis Pain.
In essence, Plantar Fasciitis is caused whenever you are not able to roll through the foot correctly and provide a stretch of the Plantar Fascia. When this occurs, the whole foot function is abnormal and results in improper function of the Plantar Fascia.
Listed below are some specific obstacles associated with the problem of Plantar Fasciitis and they can cause the movement of the foot to be affected.
- Obesity (Body Mass Index greater than 35).
- Occupations that require standing for prolonged periods of time or walking in small spaces and/or carrying heavy loads regularly.
- Shoes that do not bend well behind the toes and do not support the heel properly.
- Shoes that bend too much in the middle of the foot.
- Shoes that are too stiff and do not allow the foot to move correctly.
- Having a flatter foot or a foot that rolls to the inside too much (pronates).
- Walking on hard flat concrete surfaces most of the time.
- Not wearing proper insoles to allow normal motion of the foot to occur.
- Doing strenuous activity without proper shoes, and not stretching properly.
- Walking downhill for prolonged periods of time without proper stretching of the Achilles tendon.
- Short steps and a shuffling walking pattern.
- Running or if you are involved in jumping sports.
- Wearing heels for a good portion of the day.
What if I have a heel spur? Do I need to buy insoles for Plantar Fasciitis?
When excessive tension of the Plantar Fascia occurs, it pulls on the heel bone, where it attaches. The heel bone is covered with a very thin layer of tissue called the periosteum. The periosteum is full of nerves and blood vessels. As an illustration, when you pull up on the saran wrap over a bowl, it forms a “tent” away from the bowl.
This is what happens to the heel bone. The pulling of the ligament causes the bone covering to pull away from the bone and this causes significant pain. Eventually if this occurs over time, a bone spur will develop where the periosteum is pulled away from the bone.
The bone spur is not the reason for the heel pain, but a result of the pulling of the Plantar Fascia on the covering of the bone, causing the pain. The bone spur does not normally need to be removed.
Should I buy shoes or insoles for Plantar Fasciitis?
We would encourage you to purchase an insole first. Insoles are less money then trying to find the right shoe, and a more reliable solution. It can get expensive trying to find a shoe alone that will solve the problem of Plantar Fasciitis.
Shoes are usually selected for a specific activity and have features that help support your activity, such as water resistance, flexibility, tread design, durability, and appearance. When buying a shoe, the shoe will not contain a shoe liner that works as effectively as an insole, for your foot to achieve the ideal motion and support the foot properly for foot pain elimination.
Most shoe manufacturers put an inexpensive foam liner in the shoe to stay price competitive. This is not ideal for the foot. The foot has three arches that need support, and for the foot to work well, the more advanced insole design also has features that will allow improved movement and stability of the foot structure.
If you find that the insoles you are wearing are not working well and the pain from Plantar Fasciitis just does not seem to go away, there are new therapeutic (healing) insoles for Plantar Fasciitis on the market that are definitely worth a try. Do not give up on insoles yet! A doctor prescribed custom orthotic is rarely necessary. Research has shown little difference in the effect of custom orthotics and over-the-counter products, according to James Clough, Podiatric Foot and Ankle Surgeon, at Saint Luke’s Community Hospital, in Ronan, MT.
The foot is your foundation and when the foot is working well, this supports better function of the ankle, knee, hip, and lower back. It is all interconnected and your feet have an impact on everything else.
Generally there are two types of insoles for Plantar Fasciitis:
Let’s look at two types of insoles to help you make the right choice…
- Therapeutic insoles (restorative products).
- Comfort insoles.
Therapeutic Insoles for Plantar Fasciitis
This type of insole provides proper motion of the foot, which helps the Plantar Fascia stretch with each and every step. Proper movement of your toes enables the foot to function properly. When you can roll over your toes, you essentially stretch your Plantar Fascia. With this type of insole, activity helps to heal Plantar Fasciitis instead of aggravating the pain.
The Cluffy Lux Step, a patented insole, provides a restorative stretch to the Plantar Fascia with every step. As you start to walk better, you will notice improved balance and an improved posture, too. The source of heel pain is being addressed directly and your solution to Plantar Fasciitis starts immediately. This is the only over-the-counter therapeutic insole product on the market, that actually gets to the root cause of Plantar Fasciitis and other common foot pains.
Therapeutic insoles provide a benefit from the minute you put them in your shoes and take your first steps. When you start to walk better, the main cause of the pain corrects over time, so you may not need insoles for the rest of your life. Did you hear that?
This is why we classify the Cluffy Lux Step insole as a therapeutic insole. At this time we can find NO other insoles for Plantar Fasciitis on the market which offer a therapeutic solution for foot pain. With the unique features of the Cluffy Lux Step insole, you restore normal movement of the foot and stretch the Plantar Fascia as well as the Achilles tendon. This allows healing of these tissues and eliminates your Plantar Fasciitis pain, once and for all. We put the therapeutic option, the Cluffy Lux Step, at the top of our list of recommended insoles for Plantar Fasciitis for this reason.
Comfort Insoles for Plantar Fasciitis
These are designed to help your feet feel good right away. They can alleviate some, and occasionally most of your Plantar Fasciitis pain. However, they do not fix the basic foot problem that is causing the pain. Most likely, you will need to wear these comfort insoles long-term since they do not correct the underlying cause of your Plantar Fasciitis. Comfort insoles will need to be replaced periodically as they wear out with use.
Please note! Research shows that comfort insoles work by decreasing the tension of the Plantar Fascia. ( 1 ) There is research from 2009 in the UK indicating that a decrease in tension of the Plantar Fascia may have some adverse effects on the toes long term. ( 2 .) This can destabilize the toes and may result in hammertoe deformities. Some of these comfort products advertise that they will change your foot posture, but much research has been done on this and the actual amount of postural change is very small.
Comfort insoles have a combination of the following positive features and all function the same way, however, they do NOT provide a long-lasting therapeutic solution.
- An arch support, of varying heights and flexibility.
- A gel pad in the heel for cushioning and shock absorption (not all have this feature).
- A heel cup (not all have this feature).
- A soft top cover.
The Winner is….
#1 Cluffy Lux Step insole for Plantar Fasciitis.
This patented insole is designed to provide both a therapeutic and a comfort solution for Plantar Fasciitis!
Why these insoles for Plantar Fasciitis work so well
- Unique patented design to improve normal movement of the foot, providing a natural stretch to the Plantar Fascia This includes the unique Cluffy Wedge technology.
- A 3-dimensional arch support for all three arches of the foot for better stability.
- Gel pad in the heel for cushioning and shock absorption.
- A softer comfortable feel.
The unique three-dimensional patented arch design wraps up the sides of your foot, supporting all three arches of the foot and integrates with the shoe for optimal shoe fit. The arch design encourages proper motion of the foot and enhances the arch stabilizing lift under the big toe called the Cluffy Wedge.
This lift under the big toe ( Cluffy Wedge) is essential for the Plantar Fascia to stretch properly.
The gel pad absorbs shock (two to six times your body weight) from walking and running, critical for heel pain elimination and does not interfere with shoe fit. This is our winning insole for Plantar Fasciitis foot pain and clearly the leader of the pack.
The remaining nine insoles provide comfort, not a therapeutic solution to your foot pain.
#2 Superfeet Green Insole – high arch design, high heel cup, durable $49.95 – $54.95
#3 Powerstep Pinnacle Breeze Insole – high arch design, medium heel cup, moderate cushion $38.80 – $47.07
#4 Spenco Total Support Max Shoe – high arch, medium heel cup, $ 29.41
#5 Tread labs Pace insole – high arch design, deep heel cup, durable $65.00
#6 Vionic Supportive Relief Orthotics -high arch design, moderate heel cup, gel heel pad $ 34.90- $37.00
#7 ViveSole Plantar Fasciitis Insoles – lower arch design, cushiony feel, gel heel pad $ 59.99
#8 Samurai Insoles Plantar Fasciitis Arch Support Shoe Insoles – lower arch design, low heel cup, cushiony feel, $39.99
#9 EasyFeet insole- higher arch design, deep heel cup, gel heel cushion, soft feel, $39.99
#10 Dr.Scholl’s Plantar Fasciitis Pain Relief Orthotics – low arch design, gel heel cushion, deep heel cup, cushiony feel, $12.97
What can I do in addition to getting insoles for Plantar Fasciitis?
To maintain the flexibility that your foot needs to stretch the Plantar Fascia, you should wear a shoe that bends well behind the toes and has a stable heel counter. Also, remember to walk right through the foot – heel to toe and “avoid shuffling” or standing for prolonged periods of time, if at all possible. “Walk like you mean it,” or “Walk like you have an important meeting to attend and you are late.” This enhances the motion necessary for the foot to work well.
The foot is your foundation and when the foot is working well, this supports better function of the ankle, knee, hip, and lower back. It is all interconnected and your foot will have an impact on everything else. It pays to spend the time and money to optimize what you wear on your feet, and your feet will thank you for many years for making wise choices today. You only have two feet, so be careful with them and take good care of them today.
- 1. Kogler,G.F. Biomechanics of the Longitudinal Arch Support Mechanisms in the Foot Orthoses and Their Effect on Plantar Aponeurosis Strain. Clinical Biomechanics 11,243-252. 1996.
- 2.Caravaggi,P et al: A Dynamic Model of the Windlass Mechanism of the foot: evidence for early stage preloading of the plantar aponeurosis. The Journal of Experimental Biology 212,2491-2499, 2009