Arch Support For Plantar Fasciitis

By Fadel Taazieh, PT, DPT

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Before discussing the best arch support for plantar fasciitis it is important to first understand what plantar fasciitis is and what its causes are. Plantar fasciitis is caused by excessive stress and aggravation of the connective tissue that stretches from the heel bone to the ball of the foot called the plantar fascia. When the plantar fascia becomes inflamed, every step can become painful and a cycle of pain and overtightening, tearing and inflammation can set in, causing plantar fasciitis.

Anatomy of the foot and plantar fascia.

Plantar fasciitis medical illustration.

Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis

Symptoms can vary, but the main complaint from people with this condition is pain and stiffness in the heel and sometimes near the middle bottom of the foot. The pain can be a sharp, burning sensation and is usually the worst in the morning or after long periods of sitting, standing, or walking. Other symptoms include swelling and tenderness on the bottom of the foot from the top of the plantar fascia down to the bottom of the heel.

What Are Potential Causes of Plantar Fasciitis?

Causes are also varied and there are several risk factors. These are listed below:

  • Age: Plantar fasciitis is most common in active people between the ages of 40-70. For example, if you are a long-distance runner or have a job that keeps you on your feet for extended periods of time, you are at risk for developing plantar fasciitis.
  • Foot Mechanics: If you have an abnormal pattern of walking, weak feet or ankles, are flat-footed or have an unusually high arch, you will also be more prone to developing plantar fasciitis.
  • Poor quality shoes: Wearing poor quality shoes such as shoes with improper or insufficient arch support are another cause of plantar fasciitis.
  • Tightness: An Achilles tendon or calf muscles that are too tight can be another cause.
  • Obesity: Or a sudden increase in weight can also cause plantar fasciitis because the extra weight puts added stress on the plantar fascia.
  • High-stress activities: A sudden increase in physical activity, such as jogging, as well as ongoing high-stress activities such as long-distance running and ballet dancing can also cause this condition.
  • Disease: Certain diseases such as arthritis can cause plantar fasciitis.

How Can the Best Arch Support for Plantar Fasciitis Help Decrease the Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis?

Orthotic insoles can help to decrease the pain and discomfort caused by plantar fasciitis by minimizing the stress and stretching of the plantar fascia that occurs when you stand or walk. For example, if you are suffering from heel pain that is related to an abnormal inward motion of the foot (pronation), an orthotic insole with arch support will eliminate the excessive pronation and the stress on the plantar fascia.

In addition, orthotic insoles with a deep heel seat help absorb shocks because they have a cupping effect of the soft tissues around the heel, which then makes the soft tissues more effective at cushioning the heel bone. As a result, orthotic insoles and shoes with good shock absorption help reduce the impacts and pressure on the heel.

Two Main Types of Arch Support

When determining the best arch support for plantar fasciitis there are many things to consider. There are two main types of arch support: custom-made orthotic insoles and standard orthotic insoles. Custom made orthotic insoles are considerably more expensive than standard orthotics. When trying to determine what is the best arch support for plantar fasciitis both price and function are important factors to consider. In many instances, it might be wise to try nonprescription orthotic insoles, which are less costly, before investing in more expensive custom-made arch support.

Arch Support Fit and Use

Size definitely matters when choosing the best arch support for plantar fasciitis. It can be very difficult to find a type of insole that perfectly fits the sole of your foot and various types of shoes. Knowing when to buy the next size up and how to trim effectively are vital bits of information.

Very often (even when you fit very carefully) your brand new insoles will feel a bit strange. This can lead to disappointment and premature return of the product. To avoid this problem, it is important to choose carefully at the outset. When you have made your choice and purchased a product, be sure to give it a chance once you have it in place. It can take a few days for misaligned ligaments and muscles to become accustomed to correction.

JOI Fracture and Injury Care

The JOI Doctor and Rehab team are currently offering ASAP fracture and injury care. To learn more about this service, read this article about fracture and injury care. Make an appointment by calling (904)JOI-2000.

Telemedicine Visits at JOI Rehab

If you would prefer to do your appointment through a virtual visit, JOI is offering patients telemedicine visits for doctors and therapists. With this option, patients are able to schedule medical and therapy visits  using their phone, tablet, or computer.  They will talk directly with a therapist or doctor using the video conferencing app called ZOOM. You can read 3 simple steps to download zoom here.

By: Fadel Taazieh, PT, DPT

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