The human foot is a pretty incredible, complex device. We put a lot of stresses on it with our daily activities, especially if we are involved in athletics of some kind. The foot has 107 ligaments, 19 muscles and tendons, and 26 bones. It works extremely well the majority of the time. But it isn’t too surprising that problems can come up, especially if improper or worn-out footwear is being used for long periods of time, or during stressful workouts. Good footwear condition is a very key part of keeping your heel pain at bay.
Stress can be put on the plantar fascia in a number of ways. Once it becomes even slightly inflamed, the plantar fasciitis can get on a roll and start accelerating. This is when improper footwear can really cause the most problems. If the shoes do not provide enough arch support, this can cause even more stress to be put on the plantar fascia. This can result in additional inflammation. Cheap flip-flops, in particular, offer virtually no arch support. Other types of shoes will start to break down over time and will not provide the support they did initially. This is especially true of running or athletic-specific shoes.
For runners, overpronation of the foot is very commonly related to plantar fasciitis. Pronating is the way that the foot provides shock absorption and is a good and necessary thing. With overpronating, however, the foot rolls inward TOO much, to the point that the plantar fascia gets stretched too tightly. This can cause part of the plantar fascia to tear away from the heel. This becomes inflamed and develops into plantar fasciitis. This happens more readily for runners because of the extra stress and pounding that the feet are subjected to. However, running shoes can be purchased which are specifically targeted to reduce overpronation by providing more support in this area. This, in addition to orthotics, is an effective way to address the issue.
Shop for the best running shoes for plantar fasciitis.
For women, high heels and platform shoes can be very problematic. Some high heels put too much stress on the ball of the foot, especially where the metatarsal bones meet the smaller bones of the front of the foot. Rigid platform shoes can alter the entire dynamics of the foot when walking. This forces the foot to adapt to the shoes in an unnatural way. These types of shoes can cause inflammation and nerve damage after extended standing and walking. They can be a factor in initiating or further aggravating the plantar fasciitis condition.
Not to be overlooked is ensuring proper shoe fit for any type of footwear. Shoes normally last for at least 6 months to a year, and this is a long sentence for the feet to be cornered in a space that is too small. Oversized shoes can provide inadequate support as well, and allow too much movement during walking and exercising. Both of these situations can potentially accelerate plantar fasciitis symptoms. They may cause additional foot, ankle, and back problems as well.
–Images courtesy Praisaeng, Sura Nualpradid/ Freedigitalphotos.net