Orthotics for plantar fasciitis are a great treatment option for those suffering from heel pain. If you’d like to learn more about plantar fasciitis treatments including massage or shoes there’s heaps of content on our blog.
How do orthotics work for plantar fasciitis?
There are two main ways that orthotics can aid in the treatment of plantar fasciitis:
- They can provide support to take away the load from your plantar fascia
- They can provide that cushiony goodness that your sore heels crave
Your amazing pair of inserts can be built so that they cup the fat pad in your feet, bunching it under your heel like your body’s own self-made heel pillow. They can also have a layer of gel, or a really soft top cover material so you feel like you’re walking on clouds! Sometimes, slipping in that spongy insole is all you need to improve your day, your week, your month, or even your year! That cushiony, pillowy, spongy orthotic, it’ll be there for you!
However, from a structural perspective, orthotics work differently for different feet. In high arched feet, plantar fasciitis can be attributed to increased compressive load on the plantar fascia. Orthotics can help distribute that load more evenly throughout the foot by providing comfortable contouring of the high arch shape. For those lower arched, flatter feet where tensile load on the plantar fascia is heightened, orthotics can structurally support the plantar fascia so it isn’t pulled or stretched beyond its capacity.
This begs the question, how do you make sure you end up in the right pair of orthotics for you?
And just generally, what orthotics are good for plantar fasciitis?
The foot orthotic industry has been growing for decades. The local chemist has a whole section dedicated to a myriad of off-the-shelf orthotics, each claiming to cure your plantar fasciitis in one way or another. I’ve seen many patients who have noticed an improvement after purchasing one of these affordable options. Combined with good shoes and a great home exercise program, some cushioning and generic arch support may be your solution.
If that’s you, awesome! But it may not be you. And that’s where the world of custom orthotic manufacturing comes in!
As mentioned earlier, different feet require different levels and approaches to load optimisation when it comes to offloading that plantar fascia. After visiting the podiatrist and having an in-depth biomechanical assessment, your podiatrist will have a super specific understanding of the ways in which your unique foot needs to be supported. Orthotic prescription is an intricate, complicated process – that’s why it takes 4 years to obtain a podiatry degree!
Once the podiatrist has completed your assessment, a 3D scan of your foot will be taken and sent off to the lab along with your custom prescription. The scan and script will then be married together to build your own 3D printed custom foot orthotics.
So what orthotics are good for plantar fasciitis, you ask? For some, the $20 chemist option is a great success! For others, a professional eye and a customised 3D printed foot orthotic will achieve the best results.
Where to buy orthotics
The best place to buy orthotics for plantar fasciitis is from your experienced and expert podiatrist. You podiatrist won’t sell you any old orthotic, they will prescribe your orthotics for plantar fasciitis.
Prescription of orthotics from a podiatrist is the highest level of therapy you can get inside your shoes. Podiatrists spend more time at university learning about custom foot orthotics in Australia than any other profession. If you couple that with the expertise of the PridePlus Health team where our podiatrists are leaders in the orthotic field, your plantar fasciitis pain will be a thing of the past.
We have La Trobe University staff members, a Footwork Podiatric Laboratory staff member and running coaches from Runfix. With our commitment to research, clinical practice, and above all else, you, our loved clients you can be confident that your orthotics for plantar fasciitis from PridePlus Health will work for you.
Alternatively you can run the gauntlet at the chemist. Walk the foot care aisle and pick out an orthotic that sounds like it will be a miracle cure. And you never know – it might just be? But when I need something prescribed to me and I pick it up from the chemist I don’t just turn up and grab any old packet of pills. I see my expert doctor, get my prescription, and get the right medicine for me. Buying orthotics for plantar fasciitis is the exact same principal.
Will orthotics fix my heel pain?
After just learning about orthotics for plantar fasciitis and how they work, you’d now be well aware that unfortunately, most of these questions don’t have a simple yes/no answer. Let’s break this one down into custom made and off-the-shelf orthotics.
Will custom made orthotics fix my plantar fasciitis?
Custom foot orthotics are fantastic at addressing the biomechanical factors contributing to overloading of the plantar fascia and subsequent plantar fasciopathy. However, we’re not just about optimising load by reducing compressive or tensile forces. As podiatrists we are also in the business of increasing capacity. Your custom orthotics will work best when housed in an awesome pair of stable shoes, but they’ll also be perfectly complemented by a carefully constructed home exercise program. These tailored exercises are designed to strengthen the surrounding structures that help stabilise and support the foot and arch, so the plantar fascia is assisted in its role. The best ‘fix’ for your plantar fasciitis is likely to consist of a combination of therapies, including custom foot orthotics, a home exercise program and good footwear!
Will off-the-shelf orthotics fix my plantar fasciitis?
You’re bound to experience some pain relief when you slip these into your shoes. Those heavenly few steps that mimic the euphoria of crawling into bed after a long day of work. However, as we now know, it is unlikely that an off-the-shelf device will adequately address the underlying biomechanical components contributing to your injury. As such, if you’re seeking long-term pain relief and fundamental improvements to stability and strength, a visit to your podiatrist is certainly warranted!
At PridePlus Health we love helping people fix their heel pain.
Having our clients enjoy pain free feet is exciting for us every day. Not just because we hate pain. But also, we love hearing all the exciting things you get up to on your feet!
So come into clinic and let us help you fix your heel pain from plantar fasciitis, and tell us where your next adventure will be.