How to Select the Best Insoles For Runners With Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis can be a source of a lot of pain and frustration for any athlete. Your plantar fascia is the thick, fibrous tissue that runs across the arch of your foot from your heel up to the toe joints or knuckle. As this tissue becomes inflamed, stepping down on your heel results in a sharp, stabbing pain until the fascia stretches out and loosens.
Because the arch of the foot flexes more when putting pressure on the feet, including running and other forms of exercise, runners often find themselves dealing with pain early in the morning, after their run, or after extended periods of sitting, when the fascia tightens up.
Unaddressed, plantar fasciitis can affect your stride or may cause you to favor one foot slightly. This can lead to damage to your back, knees, and hips.
Plantar fasciitis pain is a dreadful way to start the day. If you feel a stabbing pain in your heel or arch as you get out of bed, consider talking with your physician sometime soon to get on top of this injury before it limits your chance to run. Start with an over the counter insole that offers great arch support without crowding the foot. Give yourself resting time and let the inflammation heal. In this article, we have addressed key questions that may arise when trying to select best insoles for running when you have plantar fasciitis condition.
Our Picks for Best Insoles for Plantar Fasciitis in 2017*
- Superfeet Green Premium Shoe Insoles
- Powerstep ProTech Full Length Shoe Insoles
- Powerstep Pinnacle Premium Orthotic Shoe Insoles
- Dr. Scholl’s Active Series Shoe Insoles
- Spenco Total Support Original Shoe Insoles
* We provide a detailed review below for each of our picks. Click on the link in the review to see current prices or read customer review on Amazon.
Why to Use an Insole?
The flexing action of the foot under pressure can lead to damage of the plantar fascia. If you have old damage, the resulting scarring in this thick, fibrous material can become irritated when stretched too far. Insoles that provide arch support and cushioning for your feet can reduce the stress on the foot as it strikes the running surface. However, insoles are meant to be used with a proper running shoe that also helps to reduce plantar fasciitis condition damage. Even best insoles will not provide any positive result when used with improper running shoes.
What Are the Best Insoles for Runners with Plantar Fasciitis?
The best insoles for runners with plantar fasciitis will do the following:
- Prevent shock to the injury. As the foot strikes the running surface, a soft insole will spread that shock and lessen the irritation to the injured area.
- Cushion the arch of the foot and lessen the flex in the arch. The harder the impact, the greater the flex. The greater the flex, the more damage you may do to the plantar fascia.
Do I Need a Custom Orthotic?
While custom orthotics can be critical to correct damage to the feet, knees and hips caused by structural or stride issues including over-pronation or turning in of the foot, plantar fasciitis symptoms can often be relieved with an over-the-counter insert for athletic shoes.
To make the best decision on inserts, it’s critical to have an accurate diagnosis. Not all heel pain is plantar fasciitis.
Additionally, while an orthotic insert or cushioned insole can reduce your pain, it may not treat the root cause effectively. If your pain comes from an over-flexed foot, strengthening the muscular structure of the foot can help stop the next flare-up. Exercises for balance and flexibility, including Yoga, Tai Chi and many martial arts may be a great addition to your exercise routine to build up your feet for running.
What Are the Common Complaints About Insoles?
Adding an insole can give you some cushion on the bottom of the shoes, but it can impact how your foot fits across the top as well. An insert may cause the following:
- Crowd your toes. If you run in a snug shoe, adding cushion for your sole can cause your toes to be over-compressed on each stride. Many insoles feature a thinner pad under the toes; if you reduce your sock thickness as well, your toes may survive to run again.
- Elevate the heel too far. Remember, while you want to cushion your heel, a great insole will primarily protect and support the arch of your foot, leaving the heel and toes balanced. If the heel thickness is too high, you’ll risk effectively traveling downhill for your entire run, which may impact your gait and, again, put too much pressure on the toes.
What Shoe Should I Wear When I’m not Running?
Once the plantar fascia is inflamed or damaged, any stress to the tissue can cause pain and may cause the injury to advance even further. Proper arch support at all times is critical to reducing the risk of further damage. While you’re healing, avoid flimsy shoes such as flip flops, soft flats or any shoe that approximates going barefoot.
Can I Run Through Plantar Fasciitis?
While the heel pain from plantar fasciitis can be an extreme first thing in the morning, but as you move about it will likely ease. While you’re exercising, this pain can be greatly reduced. However, once you stop running or sit for a time, it can return with a vengeance.
Pain is your body is trying to get your attention. By catching and addressing plantar fasciitis early in the flare-up, you can:
- Reduce the inflammation with stretches, icing, and anti-inflammatories.
- Change up your workout temporarily to reduce the flexing stress on your feet, and
- Heal inflammation before it becomes a tear.
Insoles, Inserts, and Orthotics: Permanent Additions or Temporary Tools?
Plantar fasciitis inflammation and pain can strike anyone, from avid and fit runners to those who don’t exercise at all. If fitness is important to you, a padded arch support can make running less painful for a time, but do you want to rely on them permanently?
A permanent arch support or a heel cup can lead to a dependence on the insert. Your foot may become more comfortable with an arch support, but grow weaker over time. With a permanent heel cup, you may experience shortening of the Achilles.
Many sports medicine authorities recommend strengthening the foot to reduce pronation, over-flexing and damage to the plantar fascia. Toe-Splaying exercises and inserts to promote toe splaying can strengthen your foot and promote a healthy arch spring, even when barefoot.
Our Recommendations for the Best Insoles for Plantar Fasciitis
Superfeet Green Premium
Superfeet Green Premium insoles are the most popular product in its category. They are so good that they were not changed much by the manufacturer since their design in 1977. This model provides superior orthotic support, performance and cushioning. These insoles are a good fit for people with low to medium arch foot and a great fit for common foot pain, arch pain, heel pain and plantar fasciitis. If you have never used insoles, this model is very good to start.
- Time proven design
- Very comfortable
- Low profile
- Higher price, but you’ll get what you pay for
Powerstep ProTech Full Length Insoles
Provides great flexibility and firmness support towards your arch. In addition to the stabilization provided by the heel cup it has an extra cushioning on the heel, which is made with double layer. This insole is great plantar fasciitis shoe inserts as it fits into various types of shoes.
- Great cushioning
- Fits in various types of shoes
- Highly durable
- Arch support is quite hard
- Might take time to adapt to this orthotics
Powerstep Pinnacle Orthodontic Shoe Insole
The Pinnacle is another model from Powerstep that has made into the list. The Pinnacle full length orthotic provides a good blend of foot control, flexibility and cushioning. This insole is an ideal orthotic for preventing and relieving pain associated with plantar fasciitis and other common foot conditions.
- Superior comfort
- Prevents and relieves foot pain
- Fits in various types of shoes
- Takes time to adjust to
Dr. Scholl’s Active Series
In any athletic activity, your feet are subject to an impact equivalent to your weight’s triple value. These insoles created by Dr. Scholl’s lower shock by almost half and, for people with shin splints, runner’s knee and plantar fasciitis, helps prevent and release the pain. The Triple Zone Protection technology used in these Dr. Scholl’s Active Series insoles functions well to lighten runners arch and heel, positioning this product to athletes to help with plantar fasciitis condition.
- Good cushioning helps to reduce shock
- Prevents and relieves foot pain
- Durable and loved by runners
- Much lower price than competitors, but still proving great features
- Might fit tight in some of the shoes
Spenco Total Support Original
Spenco is a popular brand and has an array of insoles for different types of shoes from low volume to regular footwear. This particular insole model gets great reviews among the people with plantar fasciitis. This is mostly due their 3-Pod Modulation System. This technology adjusts the ride for increased performance and superior comfort while helping to reduce over-pronation condition, which is a common problem that causes foot, leg and back pain.
- Good shock absorption
- Prevents overpronation
- Has a lower price compared to competitors
- Does not provide much arch support