There are plenty of important questions to be asked about the decision to use insoles for plantar fasciitis.
For many the question is ‘should I use insoles for plantar fasciitis’? For others, ‘how flexible should my insoles for plantar fasciitis be’ is the burning question. ‘Should I wear my insoles for plantar fasciitis all the time’? Is another common of a question.
The ideal answer to the ‘what are the best insoles for plantar fasciitis’ question is not an answer specific to any particular brand or supplier. The best answer is one that lets you know what qualities you should look for in a pair of insoles for plantar fasciitis so that you can make informed decisions within the marketplace yourself!
So, let’s run down the qualities you should look for in your hunt for the best plantar fasciitis insoles.
In the bad old days insoles for plantar fasciitis (and just about every other pain complaint) were completely inflexible solid objects. The human foot is a dynamic, flexible, living thing and it does not want, need or benefit from a solid correction.
In today’s world, it is actually infinitely more common for people to end up with insoles for plantar fasciitis that are way too flexible. Insoles for plantar fasciitis that are too flexible seldom fully correct the alignment issues that contribute to cases of plantar fasciitis. If you can easily depress your orthotic using a finger or even a couple of fingers that’s virtually a guarantee that it is not doing its job properly once your entire body weight slams on to it at speed.
The majority of the people who show up at my clinic with their poor plantar fascia in various states of disrepair are wearing insoles that are way too flexible. Nine times out of ten these are store bought insoles.
On the up side an insole for plantar fasciitis that isn’t the best does offer some cushioning and can be helpful. The relief usually doesn’t come close to the benefit of appropriately stiff but still flexible insoles for plantar fasciitis but it’s way better than nothing.
The best insoles for plantar fasciitis are flexible in a way that allows the arch to move naturally as it bears your weight when you walk and run. For many of us the changing demands of different activity levels create a need for slightly stiffer orthotics to be worn during times of higher intensity of movement.
In any case the balance between being flexible enough to allow your arch to ‘breathe’ and being stiff enough to control and support foot position are absolutely essential components of the best insoles for plantar fasciitis. A feeling of ‘firm flex’ is the order of the day.
You more than likely take more than 3 millions steps per year, with each step your entire body weight lands on your arch. If you are going to wear insoles – a major attribute obviously is going to need to be durability. The best insoles for plantar fasciitis in many ways are ones that last. The insoles I prescribe at my clinic for example last most people 5-10 years.
Ultra-durable forms of nylon that are also flexible enough to provide the foot with dynamic support are the key. In my view carbon fibre also can and should be used more. If the healthcare professions are to continue to reach for best insole solutions for plantar fasciitis pain I believe carbon fibre could be the way to go.
There are 2 contrasting areas in most people’s lives which create a need for an adaptable approach to prescription of the best insoles for plantar fasciitis. The need for different kinds of footwear creates the need for orthotics of differing sizes and thicknesses.
The difference between different activity levels creates the need for different levels of correction. You can get many times more benefit from a stiffer orthotic for running and sport where the forces going through the foot are that much greater.
Being able to adapt to different footwear needs and biomechanical scenarios within one’s lifestyle is definitely part of finding the best insoles for plantar fasciitis.
The best insoles for plantar fasciitis in many ways are the most customisable ones. I met a lady recently who was suffering terribly with plantar fasciitis and foot pain despite the fact that she has been wearing fundamentally very decent insoles for several years. When I asked her to show me her insoles it was immediately apparent why they had made little or no impact on her plantar fasciitis.
The structural portion of her insoles was very well made and designed but the heel had absolutely no cushioning. The lack of a shock absorbing, cushioned pad at the heel, meant that her poor heels were coming down on a very hard plastic surface – one hundred thousand times in a work week. Her insoles were also missing a metatarsal pad to help her forefoot spread naturally as she walked.
Within a fortnight of us modifying her insoles to include the heel pad, a metatarsal pad and a softer neoprene top cover her pain reduced dramatically. She has some work to do including treatment and rehab exercises as she wants to make a full recovery in the longer term; but at least now she can walk that path with a sense comfort and free from the exhausting pain she had by the end of each day!!
I always say the best insoles for plantar fasciitis are the ones you are actually wearing!!
The rigours of living on concrete etc. as far as your feet are concerned creates a desperate need for protection, especially if you are trying to heal your plantar fascia. The harshness of concrete and the like means that even the worst insoles for plantar fasciitis are usually better than none. Understanding this can be especially helpful to those of us who aren’t currently in a position to spend money on the best custom insoles for plantar fasciitis. For this reason in addition to offering the best possible insoles for plantar fasciitis I always make sure that I am able to offer people far more immediate and affordable options because of the sense of urgency I feel about protection and care of their poor footsies.