Thu Mar 02 2023
Expert Guide to Choosing The Best Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis
If you have plantar fasciitis, you know the pain. You wake up in the morning and the first step out of bed feels like a hot knife slicing through your heel.
Or, maybe it's more of a dull ache that gets worse throughout the day as you walk on hard surfaces.
While there are many treatments available, one of the best things you can do, is to change your shoes. That's right, by simply choosing the right footwear, you can give yourself some much-needed relief from the pain. But what are the best shoes for plantar fasciitis? Let's find out.
However before we jump into how certain shoes can help with plantar fasciitis pain, let's dive into what it is and the risk factors associated with this condition.
So, what is Plantar Fascitis?
According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons , Plantar Fasciitis is a common foot condition that affects approximately 2 million people every year.
There are an average of 668K monthly searches on Google just for the term plantar fasciitis, not including more specific searches such as the causes of plantar fasciitis, plantar fasciitis symptoms and how to alleviate your heel and foot pain.
Mayo Clinic says that Plantar Fasciitis is inflammation of the plantar fascia - a thick band of fibrous tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes.
This tissue acts as a shock absorber and stabilizer, allowing our bodies to move smoothly by protecting us from repetitive ground forces while walking and running. When it's weakened or damaged, it becomes less effective in providing support to the body and absorbs less impact, causing stabbing pain in the feet.
This pain can worsen when these areas are subjected to more strain or pressure than they can handle.
Still confused? Here is a simple illustration explaining plantar fasciitis:
What causes plantar fasciitis pain?
The most common cause of this condition is excessive strain on the plantar fascia ligament. But several other factors can contribute to plantar fasciitis:
Age-related changes in the plantar fascia's shock absorption ability
This condition is more common in middle-aged or older people. Why? Because as we age, the fascia loses elasticity.
Carrying extra body weight can put additional strain on your feet and lead to plantar fasciitis.
Improper walking shoes
Wearing walking shoes with inadequate arch support can cause an imbalance in the feet and increase the risk of plantar fasciitis.
People with flat feet are more prone to suffer from Plantar Fasciitis due to the lack of natural cushioning and support in their arches. The Fascia bands do not have the same elasticity and flexibility that higher arches have, meaning that any kind of stress or strain put on them can cause further foot pain and damage.
Overuse and excessive activity
Activities such as excessive running and jumping that are done regularly or for extended periods can put the plantar fascia under increased strain and tension, leading to inflammation and micro-tearing of the tissue. This can cause pain in the heel area, especially when you stand up after sitting or lying down. Therefore, it is important to avoid overusing the feet by limiting high-impact activities and taking breaks when necessary. Or switching to moderate exercise/ activities.
Tight calf muscles
Tight calf muscles can limit the range of motion in the foot, which prevents it from rolling through its normal motions as you walk. As a result, this tightness can place excessive tension on the plantar fascia and cause pain in the heel or arch area.
Certain medical conditions
Certain medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes can all increase the risk of developing plantar fasciitis due to the additional pressure they put on the feet.
An active job (unofficial)
Jobs that require a lot of standing can put extra strain on your feet, leading to heel pain and inflammation of the plantar fascia ligament over time.
For example, nurses are more prone to foot issues and the type of heel pain caused by plantar fasciitis. Long hours on their feet combined with the fast-paced work that involves quick pivots, lifting heavy loads, and unpredictable needs, are big contributing factors.
And even though the causes of plantar fasciitis are varied, they all lead to the same issues.
What are the side effects of Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar Fasciitis can cause a variety of side effects, most notably pain. This is generally localized to the bottom and center of the heel and may radiate forward into the arch of the foot. But let’s go through the list of Plantar fasciitis symptoms to better understand this condition.
The symptoms explained
Stabbing foot pain
Sharp, stabbing pain in the heel and/or arch of the foot is one of the most common plantar fasciitis symptoms. The pain may become intense if the affected area is subjected to prolonged pressure or activity.
Pain while walking
Pain while walking or standing for extended periods can be a sign of plantar fasciitis. This type of pain is often worse after you wake up and take your first few steps out of bed. As you continue to move about, the pain may decrease slightly but it typically does not go away completely.
Swelling & tenderness
Swelling or tenderness on the bottom of the foot is a common symptom. Oftentimes, even gentle pressure on the affected area can cause discomfort and heightened sensitivity.
Limited foot mobility
Limited ability to move, flex or put weight on your feet can be another indication that you're dealing with plantar fasciitis.
Pain after exercise
Strenuous activities such as running or jumping can cause inflammation, resulting in increased levels of pain.
Morning heel pain
Another symptom is stiffness in the heel area when waking up in the morning. This can be accompanied by sharp pains that travel along parts of your feet, making it difficult for you to move around comfortably early in the day before your feet have had time to “warm up” properly.
Persistent pain after rest
Despite resting and trying multiple home treatments for relief from plantar fasciitis, some individuals may still experience persistent levels of discomfort.
How to deal with Plantar Fasciitis
Everyone who moves should know that this is one of the worst foot conditions you can deal with.
This type of injury can stop you from living a normal, active life for a very long time. So it is recommended that you seek medical advice. However, there are a few other things you can do on your own.
The do’s explained
Rest and heal
If you experience foot pain, take a break from your normal routine, including exercise. Or opt for low-impact activities such as swimming or biking instead of high-impact exercises like running or aerobics. This will reduce the stress on your feet.
Stretch your feet
Stretching your ankle and foot muscles are crucial for recovery. Keep a towel by your bed for morning stretches before you get out of bed in the morning. Or wear night splints that stretch the plantar fascia while you sleep.
Ice your feet frequently
To reduce swelling from frequent pressure on your foot, including walking, use the RICE method : Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.
The don’ts explained
Avoid pushing through pain
Pain serves as a signal from your body to slow down, so it's best to heed its warning. Take a break from your regular activities/exercises and do the recommended treatments to heal. Ignoring pain can just worsen the injury by tearing the plantar fascia and potentially causing a rupture.
Don’t walk barefoot
If you do suffer from heel pain, it’s recommended that you avoid walking barefoot. Wear supportive slippers or sandals at home and shoes with good arch or heel support during the day. Even if you’re not experiencing pain, keep wearing supportive shoes for plantar fasciitis.
Avid runner? Here's a tip about your running shoes:
Don’t give up on exercise
Find low-impact alternatives like biking or swimming that don't put pressure on your feet. Taking time off from weight-bearing activities can be difficult but necessary for healing. Running while trying to heal will only hinder the recovery process.
However, this doesn't mean running is off-limits permanently. Plantar fasciitis can heal with proper rest.
Overall, if left untreated, your plantar fasciitis pain can become worse over time. Taking steps to prevent this is essential, AND one of the most effective methods is wearing proper shoes for plantar fasciitis. If you're constantly in high heels or don't have enough support around your arch, it's likely putting extra strain on your Plantar fascia.
What women's shoes to avoid if you have plantar fasciitis?
When dealing with plantar fasciitis, it is important to avoid shoes that lack proper heel cushioning, provide inadequate support, have a very stiff sole or are too tight-fitting.
Specific shoe types to avoid include:
- Open-backed or open-toed shoes, as these can place extra strain on your feet.
- High heels, especially those over two inches in height – as the increased pressure on the balls of your feet and toes can exacerbate pain related to plantar fasciitis.
- Walking shoes that have excessive treads or thick treads, which can raise the heel at an unnatural angle and put greater pressure on your plantar fascia than necessary.
What to look for when buying shoes for plantar fasciitis?
The best shoes for plantar fasciitis should fit correctly and provides ample cushioning and support to minimize the strain placed on the heel and arch of your foot.
Feature 1: Wider Toe Box
When it comes to plantar fasciitis, roomy toe boxes are particularly important.
- It should allow your toes maximum movement while still providing the necessary support.
- It should be wide enough that your foot isn't compressed or squeezed into an uncomfortable position, as this can worsen foot pain.
- Additionally, there should be some extra cushioning in the toe box area, as this will help reduce the impact on your toes.
Feature 2: Soft, Stretchy Upper
Comfort should never be sacrificed when it comes to finding shoes that fit your lifestyle. With plantar fasciitis, it's especially important to find shoes with a soft, breathable material.
- This ensures that air can move through the fabric and keep your feet properly ventilated.
- It also keeps sweat away from the skin, eliminating unpleasant moisture and odor.
- An antimicrobial lining can also help prevent bacteria from building up in the shoe.
Feature 3: Extra Cushioning
A well-cushioned sole will protect your feet and will also provide extra support while walking and running. The best shoes for plantar fasciitis are those that allow you to move without worrying about the pain you may endure later in the day.
Feature 4: Contoured Arch Support System
Built-in arch support with a deep heel cup is key, as it keeps your foot aligned when standing or walking. This can help reduce the strain on the heel. Of course, comfort is also important – so make sure to find shoes that are comfortable yet structured enough to provide you with arch support throughout the day.
Feature 5: Memory Foam or Orthopedic Insole
These insoles help ease the pain and discomfort associated with this condition.
- A memory foam insole provides an extra level of comfort as it moulds to the contours of your feet over time.
- An orthopedic insole is designed to absorb shock and reduce pressure on the heel area which is especially beneficial for those who are active.
Feature 6: Anti-slip Grip
A good pair of shoes should have an anti-slip grip to prevent your feet from sliding around in the shoes, which can strain the tissues of the foot and cause irritation. Look for shoes that have a strong grip on the sole and ideally a padded heel counter to provide extra support.
Overall, plantar fasciitis can be a real pain in the heel (literally), but wearing the proper shoes is the first step in managing it and we've got just the shoe for you.
Meet Hyper Arch Motion, the best shoes for Plantar Fasciitis
These sneakers are made to absorb 30% more impact than any other orthopedic shoe and the unique Arch Motion™ design SUPPORTS your feet all day.
Plus, it's truly the Only Orthopedic Sneakers You'll (Actually) Want to Wear in Public - the design is sleek and they look super cute on.
But the magic behind Hyper Arch motion is the ReMemory Foam Insole - soft, bouncy and supportive. It's made with an Arch Support Contour to support every step, and ventilation holes on the bottom of the sole for fresh air flow to prevent odours, sweat and stickiness.
More Hyper Arch Motion Features
These really are the best shoes for Plantar Fasciitis and have everything you need to stay on your feet.
Plus, we have a Perfect Sneaker Guarantee
We’re so confident that you’ll love your Hyper Arch Motion sneakers, that we’re offering a 45-Day Wearer Trial. If you’re not 100% happy with your new sneakers, you can return them for a full refund.
Or if you receive your pair, and it’s the wrong size, you can return it for free.
If you’re still thinking about it or have not decided to buy these amazing orthopedic sneakers just yet, then read what our happy customers have to say!
"love love love these! They are so comfortable and have really helped with my foot pain."
Jessica H, United States
"These shoes are seriously the best thing ever! They have saved me from so much foot pain and make walking feel like a dream. I would highly recommend."
Talia L, United States
"These shoes are amazing! They have completely eliminated the foot pain I was experiencing prior to purchasing them. The arch motion design is genius and really does provide support and cushioning where it's needed most."
Trish M, United States
It’s also pretty easy to get your hands on a pair of Hyper Arch Motion Sneakers, just head on over to our website and follow the easy process below:
Step 1: Select Your Color
You can choose between our stunning colors.
Step 2: Choose Your Size
We offer a wide range of sizes.
Step 3: Pay and Get Free Delivery
If you order from us, we’ll deliver your sneakers to your doorstep for free.
Still got questions? Here are a few Frequently Asked Questions
Is there proof that arch support can alleviate pain?
Yes, research has suggested that firm foam arch support is a lot more effective than a non-contoured insole.
Which type of shoe is better, hard or soft?
Cushioning is recommended to help reduce the repetitive impact on your heel. How hard or soft the shoe should be, depend entirely on a person's unique needs.
Will an orthopedic insole help with pain?
Orthopedic insoles can help alleviate pain by providing arch support and cushioning to the heel.
Is memory foam good for a sore plantar fascia?
Yes, memory foam in shoes can offer cushioning which can help relieve the pain caused by repetitive impact on the heel.
Is stretching beneficial?
Yes, stretching the muscles and tendons of your foot, particularly the plantar fascia, can help.
Are there any plantar fasciitis exercises for pain relief?
Yes, some of the most common exercises include:
- Calf Stretches
- Plantar Fascia Stretches
- Foot Rolls
- Arch Lifts
- Toe Stretches
Can plantar fasciitis recur after it has been treated?
Yes, especially if the underlying causes of your condition have not been addressed. Even if the pain has subsided, you should continue to maintain proper foot care and support to prevent any potential flare-ups. Apart from exercises and stretches, wearing proper footwear is no 1 on the list. If you experience any recurring pain or symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention to determine the cause and develop a prevention plan.