Written with contributions from Superfeet Wellness Experts and the Superfeet education team.
Just thinking about Plantar Fasciitis (plan-tar fass-E-eye-tis) will make even the most hardy of athlete cringe.
Not only does the name sound scary, the amount of people that have suffered its wrath of agonizing heel pain will stop you in your tracks. In the running and endurance world, Plantar Fasciitis is a mainstay and common topic of discussion. Less discussed though is the enormous amount of average non-athletes that also suffer from the disease.
Let’s look at the facts, dispel the myths and offer up our favorite remedy.
What is the Plantar Fascia?
The plantar fascia is a broad connective structure that runs the length of the bottom of your foot. It acts like a big rubber band connecting your heel to your toes. The plantar fascia plays a crucial role in helping your foot transition into the propulsive phase of the gait cycle.
The Gait Cycle
Like a shock absorber on a car, the foot has two primary motions: a compression phase, called pronation, and a propulsive phase, called supination.
The trouble comes when the foot pronates for a longer period than it should. Like a shock absorber that is already fully compressed (or close to it) at a moment of impact, the shock bottoms out and the ride is a lot less comfortable. When a foot remains pronated for a longer period, it may affect how it absorbs impact and may make standing, walking or running a lot less comfortable.
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar Fasciitis pain is inflammation caused by excessive stretching of the plantar fascia. An unstable foot may lead to additional stress placed on the plantar fascia during walking, running and prolonged standing. This is the most common cause of “heel pain,” though the heel is not the only area in which the plantar fascia can become inflamed.
What are the symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis?
Symptoms include pain and inflammation across the bottom of your foot near the heel. You’ll most likely feel it when you first get out of bed, or after a day spent on your feet.
What causes Plantar Fasciitis?
The band of tissue loses elasticity over time for a variety of reasons, including sports activity, prolonged standing and high stress or pressure under the heel. Runners, people who are overweight and those who have inadequate support in their footwear are most at risk of developing Plantar Fasciitis.
Is Plantar Fasciitis Treatable?
You bet! Talk to your doctor. When treated, symptoms typically disappear within one year for 80% of patients thanks to a variety of therapies*, like:
Superfeet insoles’ contoured shape stabilizes the feet, helping reduce some of the stress on the plantar fascia. The structured heel cup positions the soft tissue under the heel bone to help reduce the effect of impact forces on the already inflamed structure. By giving feet the stability and comfort they need, Superfeet insoles do more than remedy most cases of plantar fasciitis, they may also help prevent it from happening in the first place.
Read more about the science behind the orthotic shape of Superfeet insoles and shoe inserts.
*Walther M, et al. Effect of different orthotic concepts as first line treatment of plantar fasciitis. Foot Ankle Surg (2013), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fas.2012.12.0082