Written By: Alex Ein

July 8, 2024

Plantar fasciitis is a common condition that causes heel pain, especially in the morning. If you’ve ever dealt with this discomfort, you’ve likely wondered if insoles can help. The answer, based on research, is a resounding yes! Let’s look at some studies that show how insoles can be a weapon in your fight against heel pain.

Early Study Shows Promise for Prefabricated Insoles

One large study done in 1999 involved over 200 people with plantar fasciitis. The researchers compared different treatments, including stretching and various shoe inserts. Interestingly, a group using a simple silicone heel pad saw a 95% improvement rate after just 8 weeks! This was significantly better than stretching alone (72% improvement) and even better than custom-made orthotics (68% improvement). This suggests that even a basic prefabricated insole can be quite effective.

Prefabricated vs. Customized: Similar Results

A more recent study from 2009 compared prefabricated insoles made from a special foam material to custom-made orthotics. This study involved 125 people with plantar fasciitis. After 8 weeks, both groups showed significant improvement in their pain levels. There wasn’t much difference between the two insole types, suggesting that prefabricated insoles can be just as helpful as custom-made ones, and likely at a lower cost.

Overall, Research Supports Insoles for Plantar Fasciitis

A 2015 review article looked at several studies on plantar fasciitis treatment. This review concluded that insoles, both prefabricated and custom-fitted, are effective in reducing pain and improving function in adults with plantar fasciitis. They also found that insoles have few side effects and are well-tolerated by patients.

The Right Shoes Matter Too

While insoles are a great option, a 2022 study highlights the importance of proper footwear. This study found that most people with plantar fasciitis wear shoes that lack proper arch support and cushioning. Wearing shoes with appropriate heel height, a thick sole, and arch support can significantly reduce pain.

So, What Does This Mean for You?

If you’re suffering from plantar fasciitis, consider trying a pair of off-the-shelf insoles with arch support. They are a readily available and cost-effective option that research shows can be very helpful. Remember, proper footwear is also important. Look for shoes with good arch support and cushioning to give your heels the extra TLC they need. If your pain persists, it’s always best to consult a healthcare professional for personalized advice.