Managing Your Time With An Orthopedist

Choosing and Using Orthotics for Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis can be incredibly debilitating. The pain in the arch of your foot worsens and pulls with every step you take. Putting too much pressure on your heel make things even worse. Severe cases may require surgery, but most cases are mild to moderate and can be managed with a combination of rest, ice, and orthotics. But how do you choose and use orthotics for plantar fasciitis? 

Tips for Choosing Orthotics

Most people can get away with using orthotics from the pharmacy. You should really only need to have custom orthotics made if you have a really unusual foot shape, or if you are an athlete who needs more advanced support as you train. The following tips will help ensure you come home from the pharmacy with the right orthotic inserts.

1. Look for orthotics made from a firm material.

A key element of orthotics for plantar fasciitis is that they offer arch support. This support is really only meaningful when it is made from a firm material that won't compact as you step on it. Steer clear of insoles made from soft foam, and instead look for those made from a firm, dense foam or a dense gel material.

2. Choose a deep heel cup.

The deeper the heel cup on the orthotics, the better. The deeper heel cup helps keep your heel in place within your shoe so that it is better able to absorb shock and prevent the shock from traveling into your arch and plantar fascia.

3. Opt for a trimmable orthotic.

You want an orthotic insert that you can trim so that it precisely fits inside of your shoe. Having the orthotic curl into the toe of your shoe could cause you to walk more on your heels, which could make plantar fasciitis even worse.

Tips for Using Orthotics

Once you have the right orthotics in-hand, follow these tips to use them effectively.

1. Start slow.

For the first two or three days, only wear the orthotics for a few hours at a time. This gives your foot time to adapt to the new position it's in and helps minimize foot soreness.

2. Wear thinner socks.

One problem patients sometimes run into when using orthotics to treat plantar fasciitis is having their foot too snug in the shoe. Switching to thinner socks will help. If your shoes are still tight, you may need to move up a half size to better accommodate the inserts.

If you follow the tips above, you should experience relief from plantar fasciitis within a couple of weeks. Talk to an orthopedic doctor if you're still struggling with plantar fasciitis in spite of wearing orthotics regularly.