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Shoe Inserts for Plantar Fasciitis

Topic Overview

Orthotic devices include shoe inserts that can relieve the stress and stretching of your plantar fascia when you stand or walk. You can get the devices with or without a prescription. Orthotic devices you use for plantar fasciitis are usually made of plastic, rubber, or felt.

  • Soft arch supports and heel cups can relieve your symptoms. They can help spread and absorb shock (from planting your foot) and ease pressure on your heel.
  • If your heel pain is clearly related to abnormal inward twisting of the foot (pronation), an orthotic device with an arch support and heel cushion may help.

Custom-made devices require a prescription. They are more expensive than nonprescription orthotics. Custom orthotics are made by taking an impression of the foot with a plaster cast and then designing an insert to control the specific mechanical problem. Before investing in an expensive custom-made orthotic device, you may want to try a nonprescription orthotic that you can get at drugstores, supermarkets, or sporting goods stores. This way you can test different types of devices without great expense.

If your foot has an unusual shape or if you have a certain problem that the device can help, then a custom-made device may fit better and control pain better than a nonprescription device.

Tape strapping (moleskin over the bottom of the foot with tape strapped around it) is sometimes recommended for arch support and heel pain and for controlling foot strikes. A foot or sports medicine specialist would be familiar with this technique and can show you how to do it at home.

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Gavin W.G. Chalmers, DPM - Podiatry and Podiatric Surgery
Last Revised July 9, 2013

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