Choosing the wrong orthotic can actually cause more pain. It’s important to get the right type of plantar fasciitis inserts in the first place, and then to make sure that it suits your purpose.
Plantar fasciitis shoe inserts must be accommodating or functional. That is, they cushion a sore spot and they correct abnormal function in the foot.
People with plantar fasciitis need foot correction and should go with functional orthotics for their plantar fasciitis. Studies have shown that they give plantar fasciitis sufferers a better quality of life than other inserts which simply provide cushioning.
You can buy perfectly functional and good insoles for plantar fasciitis over the counter. There are also custom models that are molded specifically for your feet. These are available by prescription from a doctor. Both do the necessary job of providing stability and correcting pronation, but don’t think that the price always means that one type is better than the other.
Believe it or not, an over-the-counter insert often works better for plantar fasciitis than the more expensive one prescribed by your doctor.
However, people who have health problems that can worsen if they get blisters or other foot irritation should consult their doctor. If you have something like diabetes or circulation problems, a custom orthotic is probably the better option for you.
Before setting out to purchase an insert, one should consider how they are going to use it. Marathon runners, for example, stress their plantar fascia in very different ways than individuals who need an orthotic because they stand all day at work. Motion control and foot stabilization are among the most important factors for a runner’s insert, while someone who stands will benefit from arch support and an elevated heel.
Whatever the purpose, all people with plantar fasciitis can agree that the best orthotic is one that is comfortable. When you go to the store, bring along the shoes you will wear your orthotic in. While you are there, try it on and walk around on it for a while.
Most people with plantar fasciitis feel quite comfortable with their insert right from the start. Some have very sensitive feet and need to break in the orthotic. This can be done either by wearing it just a little bit at first and gradually increasing the time over about two weeks or by taking the insert out of the shoe for a few hours or overnight whenever it feels uncomfortable to do so, and then putting it back in later.
Now let’s look at the three models of over-the-counter inserts that got the best reviews on Amazon. What pros and cons did their owners report?