The Best Footwear Styles for Plantar Fasciitis
As a fashion statement, shoes can either make or break an outfit. But they can also make or break our ability to enjoy life free from the pain of plantar fasciitis.
A temporary case of discomfort from fashionable footwear is one thing. Just ask any wedding guest after dancing the night away in a pair of “super-cute” heels, or the businessperson who dressed to impress, not race through an airport terminal due to a last-minute gate change. Yet, the lingering tightness, tenderness, and inflammation caused by the condition known as plantar fasciitis is another thing altogether.
One of the most common foot pain complaints, plantar fasciitis results from repetitive stress on the plantar fascia, the ligaments that connect our heels to the front of our feet. When the ligaments are overstretched, torn, or inflamed, pain results. Typically affecting the heels or bottom of the feet, the condition can also affect ankles and even knees.
What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar Fasciitis most often is a result from overuse or an increase in exercise activity. Flimsy footwear or going barefoot too can lead to sore heels, as well as obesity.
Finding the Right Shoes For You
The good news is that it is possible to be both fashionable and pain-free. Here’s what to look for when shoe shopping, whether you already suffer from plantar fasciitis, or would prefer to avoid the condition in the first place:
- Look for shoes with adequate arch support
The arches of our feet absorb the shock each time we hit the ground and help propel us forward when walking or running. Arches also play a significant role in supporting our body weight when standing. Footwear with good arch support helps transfer the pressure of our body weight, more evenly distributing weight to the shoe from the plantar fascia.
- Cushion the blow
There’s more to this than the pleasurable comfort that good padding in a shoe provides. Wearing well-padded shoes reduces the impact on joints, as does keeping feet in good alignment. Like good arch support, adequate padding in a shoe helps absorb the shock of foot strikes.
- Seek out shoes with flexible midsoles
Twist any potential shoe from side to side before purchase. If it’s too stiff to bend and has no flex around the midsole, your feet probably won’t either. Feet were naturally made to flex and bend, and supporting that flexibility reduces strain on the entire foot, ankles, and more. No matter how pretty those flats may be, if they don’t move with you, don’t buy them.
- Keep in mind the need for removable insoles
If you wear shoe inserts for plantar fasciitis relief, whether they are over the counter or custom-made, it’s key to look for shoes that will accommodate your inserts in order to support your arches and cushion the heels.
- Heels no higher than three inches
There’s a strong connection between high heels and developing plantar fasciitis, due to unnatural strain on the arch of the foot. Forced forward, arches weaken over time, and can’t effectively absorb the impact of daily activities like walking. Since wearing high heels causes the Achilles tendon to tighten, it’s a good idea to opt for heels that are less than three inches in height to minimize the strain.
- Try to avoid backless shoes
Any shoe without straps that help keep your foot in place, whether flip-flips, sandals, or clog styles, means your toes have to clench and grip to keep you from walking out of your shoes. Over time, that’s a recipe for plantar fasciitis pain.
If a change in shoewear doesn’t help to alleviate the pain, schedule an appointment with one of the podiatrists. Click here to request an appointment or call 336-375-6990.
Disclaimer: The information and other content provided in our blogs, videos, or in any other content or linked materials are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. For a full disclaimer, please click here.