I Have Plantar Fasciitis, and I Swear By These Comfy, Supportive Insoles
I find running to be a great way to keep my mental health and stress levels in check. Plus, there are truly few things I love more than listening to a playlist of my current favorite songs or catching up on a podcast. My active self-care ritual of hitting the pavement for a run or walk has been going strong for almost two decades (basically since high school) with nary a break. So, you can imagine my heightened level of anxiety when I found myself in pain and faced with a new reality — plantar fasciitis had entered onto the scene.
In case you need a quick refresh, plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. "It involves inflammation of a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes (plantar fascia), according to the Mayo Clinic. The Mayo Clinic further notes that plantar fasciitis is more common in runners than walkers, and the pain in one's foot can increase or decrease throughout the day depending on activity levels. (Related: The Best Running Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis, According to a Podiatrist)
Once my pain level reached a point I could no longer ignore, I met with a podiatrist. At my appointment, my doctor tucked my left foot in an air brace that I would wear faithfully with sneakers for six weeks. The purpose of the brace was to provide proper support to my foot, particularly my arch, in order to remove the strain and pressure from my heel and toes. At my follow up visit, my podiatrist announced I was officially cleared to free my foot from its brace. As thrilled as I was to have made progress, I was also terrified to again find myself in discomfort. But, my doctor had a plan — I'd give one of the best inserts for plantar fasciitis a shot.
Immediately after leaving my podiatrist's office, I made a beeline to purchase the Powerstep Pinnacle High Arch Support Insoles (Buy It, from $38, amazon.com), which my doctor said would mimic the feel and arch support of my brace. The insoles do this, thanks to the signature PowerStep arch shape that cradles the arch and heel; it adds stability and motion control to limit excess stress on feet, ankles, joints, and tendons, according to the brand's site. (Related: The Best Insoles, According to Podiatrists and Customer Reviews)
The difference between these inserts and my brace is, rather than only supporting my left foot, the inserts would now support both feet. Why is it beneficial to wear inserts in both shoes rather than just one, if the plantar fasciitis is only in one foot? My doctor and a local running expert both noted that this would help me maintain my balance while running and prevent plantar fasciitis from developing in my right foot. (Related: The Best Foot Massagers, According to Customer Reviews)
The inserts are sold in shoe sizes, so I purchased my typical size. Once they arrived, the process of inserting them into my sneakers was simple: I removed the inserts that came with my shoes, slipped the new high arch inserts inside, and laced up my sneakers. The inserts fit snugly inside my sneakers, just like the original insoles, and I have never experienced blisters. From my first step, they have felt like a dream. (FTR, I have high arches, but if you have neutral, low, or extra high arches, Powerstep makes insoles to suit your specific needs.)
Not only do the Powerstep insoles get a stamp of approval from a podiatrist and myself, but hundreds of Amazon shoppers have rated them five stars. Many reviewers lauded them for being comfortable and well worth the price point, noted how well they fit in everything from sneakers to ski boots, and pointed out that they are especially supportive for those with high arches. What's more, customers who suffer from plantar fasciitis called them "life savers."
"Purchased these based on a recommendation from my doctor for plantar fasciitis. Using these in combination with daily stretching, my plantar fasciitis pain has subsided," wrote one reviewer.
"These are life savers!" raved another. "I have plantar fasciitis and these help so much! I basically only wear my tennis shoes now. I have a pair [of inserts] from my podiatrist office and I prefer these and they were cheaper. Great for high arches!!!"
I have now been wearing the Powerstep Pinnacle High Arch Support Insoles for more than six months, and I love them so much for running, walking, and playing tennis that I now own multiple pairs for different sneakers. While I'll always be susceptible to another bout of plantar fasciitis (my doctor warned that the pain can return), I feel I'm continuing to take literal steps to prevent it by wearing insoles that hug, support, and cushion my arches. I can confidently say this is the best $38 I've ever spent.