Ask any musculoskeletal health expert about the role that shoes can play when it comes to problems in your feet and you’ll be met with a litany of complaints. Your feet require space, support, and balance to perform at their best. All too often, improper footwear can rob your feet of these critical elements and lead to painful problems.

To help shed some light on how footwear can affect the health of your feet, the team of orthopaedic experts here at Genesis Orthopaedic and Spine wants to focus on one problem in particular — plantar fasciitis.

Here’s a look at how your shoes may be leading (or contributing) to this painful foot condition.

Plantar fasciitis 101

To better understand how footwear can lead to plantar fasciitis, let’s take a closer look at this problem. Each of your feet features a tough band of tissue called the plantar fascia that stretches from the balls of your toes to your heels. This tissue, which is made up of ligaments, provides support for the arches in your feet and acts as shock absorbers.

When you place too much stress on this tissue over time, it can develop tiny tears, which lead to inflammation. This inflammation is often worse after periods of inactivity, which is why so many people with plantar fasciitis are greeted by pain with their first steps in the morning.

Once the tissue stretches out, the pain typically subsides, but it’s an unpleasant way to start your day.

Plantar fasciitis and shoes

Your feet are incredibly small given all that they’re tasked with and they rely on balance and support to propel you through the day, without pain.

Any shoes that throw the balance off in your feet or that don’t provide adequate support are potential problems. When it comes to plantar fasciitis, there are several types of footwear that you should avoid, including:

Shoes that don’t support your arches

If you wear flats, flip flops, or old and worn out shoes, your arches may not be getting the support that they need. As a result, your plantar fascia needs to work harder, which can lead to the tiny tears and inflammation we mentioned earlier

Shoes that offset your balance

If you routinely wear shoes that offset the balance in your feet, it can place too much pressure on your plantar fascia. The primary culprit are shoes with pointy toes that don’t allow these small appendages to shoulder some of the weight. The other culprit are heels that offset the balance in your feet and lead to tight connective tissues in your calves that pull on your plantar fascia.

Ill-fitting athletic gear

Plantar fasciitis is common among runners, which is why choosing (and routinely updating) your athletic footwear is paramount. If you’re running around on shoes that don’t adequately support your arches or older shoes that have lost much of their support, you may end up overstressing your plantar fascia.

Treating plantar fasciitis

Since footwear plays such a large role in foot conditions like plantar fasciitis, it’s one of our first stops when we treat the problem. We can recommend footwear that will better support your arches, as well as custom orthotics that can turn any shoe into more supportive footwear for your feet.

If your plantar fasciitis is persistent and doesn’t respond to a change in footwear along with rest, icing, and physical therapy, we can provide some additional healing resources to your feet through regenerative medicine, including platelet-rich plasma therapy and LipogemsⓇ adipose/fat therapy

For expert treatment of your plantar fasciitis and recommendations for better footwear, contact one of our offices in Westfield or West Orange, New Jersey, to set up an appointment.

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