Plantar Fasciitis is a painful, disabling condition that can markedly reduce quality of life and the ability to do everyday activities. The condition is due to the inflammation of the plantar fascia - connective tissue that helps to join the heel bone (calcaneus) to the toes (metatarsals).
The plantar fascia covers the heel and the sole of the foot, which is why it's so painful to walk or weight bear when the fascia is inflamed.
Characterized by pain and discomfort that is worse first thing in the morning and immediately after standing (or putting weight on the foot), it can be caused by acute injury, or be a chronic condition due to persistent trauma.
It's not clear exactly why sufferers develop plantar fasciitis - risk factors include occupation (people who are on their feet a lot as part of their job are more likely to develop the condition), obesity, pregnancy, and exercise in ill-fitting footwear.
The pain may last for many months and, unfortunately, there is no magic pill that will make it go away. However, research suggests that, alongside rest and suitable painkillers, foot support for plantar fasciitis can play a key role in reducing the pain associated with the condition. Plantar fasciitis insoles don't just make movement more comfortable for the wearer, they can also help to reduce stress on the inflamed fascia, accelerating the rate of healing and prevent the condition from recurring
Orthotic insoles for plantar fasciitis are a good preventative measure to take if you are an individual at high risk of developing the condition. For people who are on their feet for many hours each day or heavier people who exercise and/or walk longer distances, orthopedic insoles for plantar fasciitis can help to support and protect the heel and sole of the foot.
If you have developed plantar fasciitis, or are at risk of doing so, it's important to relieve pressure on the fascia as much as you can, at the same time as continuing to exercise and do everyday activities as much as possible. Whilst some rest is good, too much can result in muscle wastage and a reduction in the range of movement of the foot joints. This can make it more difficult to walk, putting additional strain on the plantar fascia, which can lead to chronic fasciitis.
Here we look at the features which the best insoles for plantar fasciitis will have, as well as five of our top shoe insoles for plantar fasciitis.
How do insoles help plantar fasciitis?
Orthotic insoles can mitigate the pain and discomfort caused by plantar fasciitis because they minimize 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.
There are two types of orthotic insoles: Custom-made devices and standard devices. Since custom-made orthotics are much more expensive than standard orthotics, it might be wise to try nonprescription orthotic insoles, which are less costly, before investing in expensive custom-made orthotics.
The Best Insoles for Plantar Fasciitis are Designed With the Following Features
Creating an insole that's going to have maximal impact on reducing the pain caused by plantar fasciitis, as well as promoting healing and preventing the condition from developing, requires in-depth knowledge of foot anatomy, gait, and the needs of wearers. The best inserts for plantar fasciitis will:
- Have an arch support. The foot has a natural arch, held in place by the plantar fascia. If strain is put on the natural arch, perhaps through excessive weight-bearing or repeated stress, the strain is transferred to the plantar fascia, making fasciitis worse. A good insole to help with the symptoms of plantar fasciitis should be shaped to maintain and support the foot's natural arch. This takes the strain off the fascia at the same time as assisting wearers to maintain a good gait.
- Benefit from a contoured heel. The heel isn't completely flat - a good insole will mirror the natural contours of the heel, ensuring that pressure is evenly distributed across the whole of the heel. This reduces the risk of unnecessary strain on the heel.
- Have good shock-absorbing properties. When you walk, up to one and a half times your body weight passes through each foot. Multiple layers of a suitable cushioning foam or similar material will absorb force, reducing stress on the fascia.
- Be designed to wick moisture away from the feet and reduce odor. Feet are prone to sweating, which can result in unpleasant odors, as well as increasing the chance of painful chafing, blisters, and unwanted foot movement inside a shoe or boot. A good insole will have a layer of material that's designed to wick moisture away, as well as anti-bacterial properties to reduce the risk of odor.
- Be adjustable. Some people naturally have a higher foot arch than others. For this reason, it's important that plantar fasciitis shoe inserts come in a range of configurations, or are adjustable so that all plantar fasciitis sufferers are catered to.
- Have durability as well as comfort. Insoles need to take some pretty heavy punishment without fraying, curling at the edges, flattening out or otherwise deteriorating. Materials need not only to provide an exceptional level of comfort, they also need to be resistant to wear and tear, moisture, and bacterial degradation.
- Be suitable for a variety of different shoe types. The best inserts for plantar fasciitis should be versatile enough to fit comfortably in anything from a work boot to a stiletto shoe. Anyone can get plantar fasciitis, so it's important that people can use plantar fasciitis shoe inserts in their work and leisure footwear.
Our Best Insoles for Plantar Fasciitis 2022
We've put together our top three of the best orthotics for plantar fasciitis. When it comes to great features, great construction, and great value, any of these tick all the right boxes.
Designed with a women's foot shape and shoe usage in mind, these Women's Orthotic Insoles come in three different widths and are available in sizes 5 to 12. Half sizes are also available, ensuring customers can get a size that's exactly right for their feet. If you usually find it difficult to find insoles that fit, you should find a suitable size for these insoles.
The insoles are shaped to support the natural arch of the foot. If you've got a higher-than-average arch, an adjustable arch support is included. These transfers pressure away from the painful areas of the foot.
Multiple layers of shock-absorbent foam have been used in the construction of these insoles, resulting in a firm, supportive sole that significantly reduces stress on the fascia.
The top layer of these insoles consists of Dryplex™ anti-microbial fabric. This helps to fight odor and keep the foot dry. Poly-U™ is also incorporated. This is another hi-tech material that ensures feet remain dry and odor-free.
If you need effective insoles that come in a wide array of sizes, these OFG Women's Orthotic Insoles are a good choice.
And of course, there is a version for men. OFG Men’s Orthotic Insoles are available in sizes 7-15.
Particularly if you regularly wear court shoes, shoes with a stiletto heel, or shoes that have a pointy toe, traditional insoles are usually too wide and may not provide you with the fit you need. That's where these ¾ Insoles can work really well.
The insoles provide protection to the heel and arch of the foot, whilst leaving the toes free. As most of the strain to the plantar fascia occurs through pressure on the heel and the arch, these insoles provide the corrective support needed to relieve the condition at the same time as being suitable for use with almost any type of shoe.
The ¾ insoles feature a heel seat that's been packed with cushioning foam which has effects similar to that of a trampoline, deflecting the pressure from the fat pad area. This results in an extraordinary level of protection to the delicate fascia on the heel, which is often where most of the pain from plantar fasciitis is felt.
These are highly durable insoles that are extremely versatile. When you need an insole that can be tailored to meet your specific requirements, this is definitely one to consider.
A common challenge for women who suffer from plantar fasciitis is finding a pair of insoles that can be used comfortably inside fashion footwear such as high-heels, ballet flats, moccasins, or other shoes that are typically narrower in shape. These Biosole Dress Women's Orthotics are specifically designed for this purpose.
Combining hi-tech gel with polyurethane foam, the result is a highly supportive, cushioning bladder that provides premium comfort and pain relief. The sides of these orthotics are created from EVA cushioning, ensuring protection for bunions and the lateral (outside) aspect of the foot.
The insole is lined with an advanced polyester mesh that helps to keep the feet dry and cool, even after hours of use.
These insoles are available in full sizes 5 to 10. If you usually wear a half size, we recommend purchasing the size below for a good fit (so if you usually wear a 6.5, if you purchase a size 6 insole it will fit your 6.5 shoes).
Shop Biosole Dress Women's Orthotics now and enjoy comfort and support from the best orthotics for plantar fasciitis.