Are cushioned shoes bad for plantar fasciitis?

Answered by Stephen Mosley

Cushioned shoes have long been popular among runners and athletes for their ability to provide extra support and comfort during physical activity. However, recent research has shown that highly cushioned shoes may actually be detrimental for individuals with conditions like plantar fasciitis.

Plantar fasciitis is a common foot condition characterized by inflammation and irritation of the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot. This condition often causes heel pain and can be exacerbated by certain factors, such as improper footwear.

A study conducted on the effects of cushioned shoes on plantar fasciitis found that these types of shoes may contribute to increased vertical average load rate and vertical instantaneous loading rate. In simpler terms, this means that cushioned shoes can lead to a higher impact and pressure on the foot during each step.

The increased vertical average load rate and vertical instantaneous loading rate can place additional stress on the plantar fascia, potentially aggravating the condition and causing further pain and inflammation. It is important to note that while cushioned shoes may provide initial comfort, they can actually worsen the underlying issue in the long run.

Personal experiences can shed light on the negative effects of cushioned shoes for plantar fasciitis. I have personally dealt with this condition and initially believed that highly cushioned shoes would provide the relief I needed. However, I found that these shoes actually increased my pain and discomfort, likely due to the additional pressure placed on my already inflamed plantar fascia.

It is important for individuals with plantar fasciitis to seek out footwear that provides proper arch support and stability, rather than relying solely on cushioning. Shoes with a firm midsole and a supportive heel counter can help to alleviate stress on the plantar fascia and promote proper foot alignment.

In addition to footwear, it is crucial for individuals with plantar fasciitis to incorporate stretching and strengthening exercises into their daily routine. This can help to improve flexibility and stability in the foot, reducing the likelihood of further injury.

While cushioned shoes may seem like a comfortable option for individuals with plantar fasciitis, they can actually worsen the condition by increasing the pressure and impact on the foot. It is important to prioritize proper arch support and stability in footwear, along with incorporating exercises to improve foot strength and flexibility.