Plantar fasciitis is a plague among runners and other athletes who are on their feet a lot. This injury can be so painful that it prevents people from training or even getting out of bed in the morning. Thankfully, there are many different things people can do to prevent and treat this problem, one of which is putting orthotic inserts in their shoes.
What Is the Plantar Fascia?
The first thing to understand about plantar fasciitis is what the plantar fascia is. This band of “gristle,” becomes obvious when someone holds their foot in their hands and bends back the toes. Running along the inside of the foot between the ball and heel is a tight band that is sometimes observable and always palpable; this is the plantar fascia.
Causes of Plantar Fasciitis
This fascia can easily become injured which leads to pain and swelling. Some things that can cause this kind of injury include overuse, exaggerated pronation, obesity, and ill-fitting shoes. While most of these causes are best left to the help of an experienced coach or physical therapist, getting the right kind of foot support is something that is easily taken care of with the help of customized insoles.
An Interconnected Problem
Orthotics is a branch of medicine that focuses on using artificial devices to help make up for the shortcomings of the human body. In this case, orthotic insoles are custom fitted to help protect feet and legs from their own weaknesses. While this might sound a little funny, the truth is many people have flat feet, high arches, or an unusual pronation pattern. All of these imbalances seem small when considered singly, but, when we look at their effect on the whole body, we can see that they cause big problems.
The Pronation Problem
When someone wears customized orthotics, they are “shoring up” their feet, ankles, knees, and overall alignment which protects against stress-related injuries. The reason arch support is so important is that it affects something called pronation. Pronation is the professional term for how a foot moves to the side when it hits the ground. In people with flat feet, over-pronation is the problem and in people with high arches, supination is the problem. As most people can imagine, constantly walking on the side of the foot can cause all sorts of problems. But with customized inserts, the foot stays steady and the plantar fascia stays healthy.