Orthotics can be a key component to relieving the pain of plantar fasciitis. There are a ton of possibilities out there; a lot of them have their place and it often takes some experimenting to find the correct one to help your individual condition. We recommend trying some of the less expensive solutions initially, since you will likely be trying a few things to find out what works best. You should find out pretty quickly if you’re on the right track.
Look for the best orthotics to buy.
Many people find out that they need an orthotic component to correct misalignment of the foot, which can be the root of the problem. The orthotics can serve to correct posture issues as well. With the right orthotic, a lot of patients report not only that their foot and heel are much improved, but the back, hips, and knees feel much better as well. Proper alignment, which can be helped by orthotics, can take a lot of stresses off of various parts of the human support structure.
Another benefit of orthotics is that they can be easily transferred from one pair of shoes to another. Thus they can provide support and cushioning if your are running, exercising, working, playing golf, going out, or whatever; simply transfer them to the proper type of shoe. This is a less expensive solution than buying specialty orthotic shoes for different types of activities.
Heel cushions are usually the first thing to try in the area of orthotics for plantar fasciitis relief. These are usually made of silicone, polyethylene, or a similar material. They can provide both shock absorption for the heel and provide some stability for the foot. Another positive is that they can serve to distribute the weight over the area of the cushion, effectively lessening the stress on the most affected area. The patient often finds that he or she can return to a lot of the problematic activities with less pain and after effects. We have some links for shopping for heel cushions here on the site.
Shop for the best heel cushions.
Orthotics can be obtained with or without a prescription. As expected, the prescription (custom) ones are much more expensive and aren’t considered the best option until you have explored the non-custom options first. Custom orthotics require that an impression of your foot be made with plaster, and then the orthotic insert is made from this. Custom orthotics may be the only option if your foot has an unusual shape or mechanical problem that non-prescription orthotics cannot accommodate. However, a large percentage of people who are experiencing plantar fasciitis can be treated successfully with non-prescription orthotics.
This is especially true with patients who need arch support due to flat feet or hyperpronation. Non-prescription orthotics are very effective for this class of individuals. The orthotics selected for plantar fasciitis treatment need to provide support and relief for the damaged plantar fascia. So ideally the orthotic should be able to distribute the person’s weight over the length of the orthotic to ensure there are no pressure points. Cushioning of the heel is also a necessary feature, both for support and for shock absorption. Arch support is also key to help correct the foot alignment, and to support the plantar fascia and give it more opportunity to heal. We have researched a lot of orthotics that address all of these needs and features and have provided some information about some of them here on this site.
Again, orthotics can be a moving target and may need to be adjusted periodically. Many people find that they continue to get benefit from wearing them even after the plantar faciitis pain subsides. They usually begin to wear out in a 1 to 2 year time frame and need to be replaced.
Look for the best orthotics to buy.
Here is a great blog article about the pros and cons of orthotics for plantar fasciitis.
Images courtesy yoppy/flickr.com; plantar fasciitis/flickr.com; insolestore1/flickr.com