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What are Plantar Fasciitis Insoles?

By Tara L. Barnes
Updated May 17, 2024
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Plantar fasciitis is inflammation and discomfort in the tissue located on the bottom of the foot. It's more commonly known as heel pain. The condition is addressed in a variety of ways, one of which is the use of plantar fasciitis insoles. These insoles are designed to support the foot's arch or heel, which will reduce tension on the ligaments that might be contributing to the pain.

The connective tissue that runs from the heel of the foot to the toes is called the plantar fascia. When this tissue is aggravated, stretched too tightly, inflamed or injured, it can lead to plantar fasciitis. The condition is most common in runners, but those who are pregnant or overweight also are more likely to develop plantar faciitis. Those with inadequate arch and heel support in the shoes they wear are also more likely to develop the problem.

The problem of plantar fasciitis typically begins with a sharp pain in the heel. For some, the pain goes away as they begin walking. For most, however, the pain is too problematic to not treat it directly. Treatment for plantar faciitis may rest in purchasing a new pair of athletic shoes. If this does not get rid of the pain, however, plantar fasciitis insoles might be the next step.

Plantar fasciitis insoles can be worn in most any type of shoe. For example, insoles for women's high heel shoes are available. Some insoles are designed to offer primary support to the arch of the foot. Other insoles focus on supporting the heel, providing extra shock absorption. Insoles can be pre-molded to fit the foot, or they can be purchased in a more standard, non-formed model. Some insoles can be trimmed with scissors to better fit the shoe.

Night splints are an alternative to plantar fasciitis insoles. As the name suggests, these aids are to be worn at night, after plantar fasciitis insoles are worn during the day. These nocturnal splints have a band running from the top of the toes up to the calf, keeping the foot at a 90° angle so that the bottom of the foot remains gently stretched throughout the night.

When treating plantar faciitis, insoles are rarely the only solution. It's often also important to focus on the source of the pain — irritation of the plantar fascia. Special stretches prescribed by a doctor or physical therapist, can help bring the plantar fascia back to good health. These exercises may include rolling the arch of your foot over a can or jar; placing a towel under the heel and, with legs extended, pulling the towel upward; and standing on a stair on the balls of your feet, slowly lowering the heel of the injured foot.

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