Plantar fasciitis is the number one most widespread cause of chronic foot pain. It normally occurs in the heel or the middle of the arch of the foot, and it can seem like it is absolutely impossible to get rid of.
Plantar fasciitis is so named because it is a problem with a ligament that connects the heel bone to the bones of your toes. This ligament, a wide and flat stretch of tissue that runs from where the Achilles tendon connects to the bottom of the heel across the bottom of the foot to the base of the toes, is called the plantar fascia.
If you raise your toes as far as you can, and then run your hand along the bottom of your foot, you’ll feel a tightness there. What you’re feeling is the stretching of the plantar fascia ligament. It essentially runs along the bottom of the arch of your foot.
If you strain your plantar fascia, you can weaken it, or cause it to start swelling. If this happens, you may experience inflammation, and irritation of the ligament. Most of the time, this causes you pain while you’re either standing up, walking around, or running.
Most people who suffer from plantar fasciitis are middle-aged. However, it also affects many younger people, though normally there’s a more specific cause associated with it when it appears among younger adults. In general, to get plantar fasciitis as a young person, you have to be very physically active, like an athlete, or spend long periods of time walking or running, often in shoes that do not fit properly. For this reason, many soldiers often also complain of suffering from plantar fasciitis.
Most people who get plantar fasciitis get it in only one foot. However, it is not entirely unusual to find that you are feeling the symptoms in both of your feet. Either way, the pain can be aggravating.
This pain comes from repeated strains on the plantar fascia ligament in the arch of your foot. The strains tend to happen repeatedly before the symptoms arise. This is because those repeated strains, normally as a result of a lifestyle that includes a lot of physical activity, or standing or walking on hard surfaces, actually create very small tears in the ligament of the plantar fascia. This results in all the pain, the swelling, and the inflammation that causes all those symptoms.
One of the biggest causes of plantar fasciitis has always been problems with arch support. As we’ve established, the plantar fascia—the ligament that actually gets damaged to cause this disease—makes up the arch of your foot. So when you don’t support those arches properly, you can put undue strain on your heel, causing the inflammation and setting off your symptoms.
Doctors and shoemakers alike have therefore turned to shoe inserts as a great way to combat the pain and suffering caused by plantar fasciitis. If you suffer from plantar fasciitis, or if you believe there is a chance you might suffer from it in the future, then investing in some shoe inserts may be the solution you’ve been looking for, to both alleviate your symptoms and help prevent them from arising, or continuing.
If you have high arches, or flat feet:
This is a major cause of plantar fasciitis. People who have high arches or flat feet tend to find that their plantar facsia strains more easily than those of people with more average feet. The unusual weight distribution on the foot, caused by the unusual arch of the foot, means that you have to take special precautions to make sure that you avoid these strains, thus eliminating the cause or alleviating the existing symptoms of the disease.
Shoe inserts help provide that arch support. There are several types of arch-support shoe inserts available, many of which cater specifically to plantar fasciitis. These can be tailored for either high arches or flat feet, and can make sure that the weight of your body gets distributed on your feet in a better way, reducing strain on the ligament that supports the arch.
If you wear the wrong kind of shoes:
Wearing the wrong kind of shoes, or wearing shoes that are worn-out, or that fit badly, is another major cause of plantar fasciitis.
The biggest reason, again, has to do with arch support. Improperly fitted shoes will put the weight of your steps on the wrong part of your feet. This can lead to lots of problems, most of which cause foot pain, and not the least of which is plantar fasciitis. Shoe inserts in this case help your shoes fit more snugly. This will help make sure that the weight is distributed properly. Often, shoes in which your heel can slide up and down inside the shoe are prime candidates for fasciitis-causing culprits. Shoe inserts will help eliminate this, by making the shoe a snugger, and therefore healthier, fit.
If you walk on hard surfaces:
The repeated impact of walking on hard surfaces for long periods of time can lead to plantar fasciitis. Shoe inserts will help here, because they help provide more cushioning for your feet. This means less impact against that ligament, and lowers the chance of it becoming inflamed and painful.
But again, the most important thing you get from your shoe inserts is arch support. Arch support is the beginning and the end of proper shoe fitting, and of dealing with plantar fasciitis without having to get regular massages or foot surgery.
It’s important to note that most physicians agree that orthopedic footwear inserts are not significantly better in any way that over the counter inserts. Because they’re primarily devoted to supporting your arches, helping your shoes fit more snugly, and providing the extra cushioning you need when walking, running, and standing on those hard surfaces for long periods of time, they tend to do their job as long as you find one that feels comfortable for you.