By Christopher M. Cole, L.Ped
Heel pain is a common complaint among adults. It is often associated with having flat feet and a condition called plantar fasciitis. Many people ask what shoes are best for this condition to relieve their pain and prevent it from recurring without having to avoid their usual routines. Learn more about what factors to consider when buying the best shoes for heel pain and plantar fasciitis.
Heel Pain and Plantar Fasciitis
Heel pain that is more severe in the morning or after a long period of rest is characteristic of plantar fasciitis. The plantar fascia is the thick ligament which supports the bottom of the feet, just underneath the skin. When the plantar fascia is damaged and inflamed due to constant pressure and strain, plantar fasciitis develops.
Heel pain associated with plantar fasciitis occurs more commonly in the morning because as one rests at night, the plantar fascia, which has been stressed during the day contracts at night, is suddenly stretched as one gets out of bed. Even long periods of rest, such as after sitting or long standing, can result in severe pain.
What Causes Heel Pain
While the heel pain experienced by some people may be mild, to others it may be more intense and debilitating. Factors that increase one’s risk for heel pain include:
• having flat feet, a condition where the medial arch of the foot collapses and stretches the plantar fascia
• over pronation of the feet, where one’s weight is unduly placed in the inner side of the foot
• having tight, weak calf muscles which pull on the heel and stretches the fascia
• other conditions like arthritis, gout and nerve problems
• walking barefoot
• wearing incorrect shoes
What to Consider when Selecting Footwear
Shoes that do not fit properly and those whose soles are too soft are more likely to result in heel pain.
Incorrectly fitted shoes and shoe types that do not offer enough support to the arch of the feet can contribute to over pronation, which can eventually lead to the collapse of the arch. People with plantar fasciitis need to wear better quality shoes that can support their medial arch.
Selecting appropriate shoes for plantar fasciitis depends on the degree of over pronation and what type of activity the shoes are going to be used. Active people, like runners with flat feet normally over pronate, so they need motion-control shoes that control pronation.
The more the foot over pronates, the greater pronation control technology is required to set the foot back to its neutral position. There are mild, moderate, and maximum support shoes available for people of various frame sizes who demonstrate minimum to moderate over pronation. Motion-control shoes are ideal for runners with maximum over pronation. They are also good for runners with large frames and exhibit moderate over pronation.
Arch Support/Orthotics are critical when addressing heel pain, especially plantar fasciitis. Most supportive shoes, although offering motion control, and medial support, do not actually support the arch inside the shoe. It is the combination of the correct shoe and correct arch support for each individual foot type that truly addresses the problem. Supportive shoes can slow over-pronation and offer stability, but it is the arch support that actually regulates how much you pronate.
In buying the best type of shoe for heel pain and plantar fasciitis, it is important to remember that there is not one type of shoe that best for everyone. People have different foot structures, varying degrees of over pronation and different types of activities.
To customize your shoes further, you may need to place some orthotic device or an over-the-counter arch support to fully relieve your pain.
With so many footwear options available, it is difficult knowing which brands and types are best for your feet. The footwear experts at Foot Solutions in Estero perform complimentary Pedorthic evaluations in order to properly assess your feet and arches, as well as your balance and gait. This thorough evaluation is needed to accurately determine which footwear can eliminate your pain and is best for your needs.
Foot Solutions Estero not only offers premium off the shelf arch supports and orthotics, they can make them custom to each individual and to the precise differences between ones feet. After a thorough one-on one evaluation including the use of state of the art scanners, foot solutions ensures each client receives the proper shoe and right arch support.
If you are experiencing any foot problems and have questions, please contact the staff at Foot Solutions in Estero. They are located at 21301 S. Tamiami Trail – Ste 300, Estero FL 33928 and can be reached at (239) 495-8911.