Let’s face it, waking up every morning with heel pain is no fun. Dreading the first few steps out of bed every morning and walking like some Scifi creature is for the birds.
Chances are, if you find yourself reading this page then you are experiencing this, or have experienced it in the past. An increasing number of people suffer from heel pain and other foot problems. So the obvious question is “What can I do about my heel pain?” or “How is footwear related to plantar fasciitis?.” We will discuss these questions and hopefully answer many more in the process.
Foot pain that is centered on the heel can have many causes. One common issue is when the ‘plantar fascia’ (sounds technical doesn’t it?) becomes sensitive and sore due to inflammation and damage. This strange sounding name ‘plantar fascia’ is actually nothing more than a ligament running from the toes to the heel of the foot. Actually, we use the plantar fascia ligament with every step we take and it’s one of those parts we rely so much upon, yet never realize they exist, that is until there is a problem! When this ligament is unhappy, there is no denying it. It screams and throws a tantrum that cannot be ignored. Every step becomes painful, especially those first few steps in the morning or after a long period of inactivity or rest.
Enough with all this technical mumbo jumbo; how can I fix this heel pain?
While there are a variety of treatment options available, it’s best to first look at the whole picture, including your lifestyle and composition. Do you spend a lot of time on your feet? Are you a little or a lot overweight? Do you stand and walk correctly with good form and correct weight distribution? These are things we don’t often think about but will need to examine in order to resolve the pain in our heels.
Also, standing with your weight shifted towards the inside or the outside of your feet is sure to bother the plantar ligament. Being overweight places too much stress on our feet and combined with improper standing or walking form can lead to a strained plantar fascia. The same is true for people who spend a lot of time on their feet like teachers, nurses …
Plantar Fasciitis Shoes
You will need to address these issues and they shouldn’t be ignored, but one way to mitigate these problems is to choose quality footwear. Many shoes are quite bad in supporting our weight evenly and can lead to foot problems like bad knees, while other shoes can actually help alleviate issues such as heel pain and plantar fascia inflammation. A well made and well designed pair of shoes can help immensely. Acordingly, never underestimate the role your choice of footwear is playing in your present foot pain.
No two people will have the exact same feet. Some have high arches, low arches, long feet, short feet and everything in between. You will need shoes that conform to and assist your particular feet. Many times, these will be high arch support shoes. You will also need to find shoes that do a good job of absorbing impact and distributing your body weight in a uniform manner.
We’ve all had shoes that don’t spread the weight evenly and consequently force it into the toe, or side of the foot. In order to give the ligament time to heal, we need to support it and take as much pressure off it as possible. The best way of doing this for active people, and/or overweight people, is to use the best plantar fasciitis shoes available. Ignoring your footwear will inevitably lead to the plantar ligament getting worse and worse. The idea is to stop doing any more damage. Only then can you make progress and eventually heal your troubled feet.
The complaints people make regarding their footwear have driven the production of high quality medical grade shoes that can make healing and preventing foot problems much easier. Seriously consider shoes made and designed specifically for plantar fasciitis and other foot problems. You may, or may not, need to get a podiatrist involved in the selection of medical shoes as there are many options available and a lot of buyer reviews made by people who have tested the effectiveness of certain footwear.
Plantar Fasciitis and Physical Activity
If you are a runner, then make sure you have good running shoes. You may also want to look into buying insoles that assist with heel pain. The same goes for hikers or any other activity. Make sure that your footwear is designed specifically for that specific activity. You can purchase excellent dress shoes for plantar fasciitis and the same goes for hiking shoes, walking shoes, tennis shoes, and basketball shoes.
You might have heard or read that sandals and flipflops are to avoid if you’ve been diagnosed with Plantar Fasciitis. Well, that was true some years back when about all the sandals used to offer very little to no arch support, but not any more. There are some sandals that offer a great level of support, cushioning and comfort for troubled heels. Yet, even if you buy the best sandals for plantar fasciitis, you still have to pay special attention to how well centered your weight is distributed on them. If it isn’t correct, your poor plantar fascia will be over-stretched.
This has been a general overview of plantar fasciitis related heel pain and the importance of quality footwear. We will offer specific reviews of different products in the near future but it’s important to understand the big picture before going into specifics.
To review, it’s best to examine your lifestyle, body weight, walking gait, standing posture, and weight distribution to come to terms with the root causes of heel pain. We can then find shoes that heal plantar fasciitis or at least give us a fighting chance even though we may lead busy lives and abuse our feet every day. The first step is to stop making it worse. For most people, the solution can be found in quality medical grade podiatrist approved shoes.