7 Podiatrist-Recommended Products For Relieving Plantar Fasciitis Pain

These orthotic inserts, supportive shoes and topical anti-inflammatory creams can help keep that sharp, shooting pain at bay.
A rocking foot stretcher, pair of gel heel cups and gel ice pack socks.

The symptoms associated with plantar fasciitis can really interfere in your day-to-day life. It’s also one of the most common types of heel and foot pain, according to Michael J. Trepal, professor of surgical sciences and academic dean at the New York College of Podiatric Medicine.

Often accompanied by a stabbing or sharp shooting pain centered around the bottom of the foot, plantar fasciitis is an inflammatory, and in many cases, degenerative condition affecting the broad thick ligament on the bottom of the foot which helps to hold up the arch, Trepal told HuffPost.

“Plantar fasciitis is caused by tearing of this fascia from either the tightness of this posterior complex beginning to tear and or the torque of the foot mechanics,” explained podiatrist Louis J. DeCaro, president of the American College of Foot and Ankle Pediatrics.

He added that some foot types are more prone to putting pressure or twisting the fascia than others, and suggested learning about your own specific foot type in order to determine the most effective way to treat your pain.

Fortunately, DeCaro and Trepal said that plantar fasciitis can go away on its own, rarely requires surgical intervention and can be effectively managed with over-the-counter aids. However, both experts cautioned that if pain persists for more than a few weeks, you should seek professional advice; there’s a chance you might need physical therapy or other guidance for the issue.

Below, we laid out some of the products suggested by DeCaro and Trepal, plus their recommendations for how to integrate them in order to best manage plantar fasciitis pain.

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A supportive everyday sneaker
Wearing shoes or sneakers that support the arch of the foot can be helpful, said Michael J. Trepal, professor of surgical sciences at the New York College of Podiatric Medicine. The American Podiatric Medical Association offers a list of footwear and products that have the APMA seal of approval for having been found to be beneficial to foot health.

One option on the APMA’s approved list are these everyday walking and running shoes by Hoka that promise an ultra-cushioned and "billowed" foot bed with a neutral level of support for the arch. They are available in 17 color combinations, in both regular and wide options and in sizes 5-12 for women and 7-16 for men.
A topical anti-inflammatory gel
Trepal also recommended applying topical anti-inflammatory cream to help with pain management. Our pick: Voltaren, a highly rated anti-inflammatory gel that is a non-steroidal and hydrating formula that imparts a cooling sensation when applied. It can help reduce stiffness and aches and improve mobility.
A rocking foot stetcher
According to podiatrist Louis J. DeCaro, "the best a [person] can really do is stretch the posterior column which runs from the hamstring down to the calf, to the Achilles and through the bottom of the foot to connect to the plantar fascia."

DeCaro teaches his patients heel inversion stretches, which he said should be done "prior to all activities that involve running or long walks and should be done with the foot as neutral as possible."

Although you don't need a device for the heel inversion or posterior column stretches that DeCaro refers to, many Amazon reviewers claim that this rocking foot stretcher has made "a world of difference" in treating their plantar fasciitis pain. It has also received the APMA seal of approval. The rocker design holds the foot in the optimal position for an accurate and efficient stretch and has slip-resistant pads to keep the stretcher in place while in use.
A pair of gel ice pack socks
Another remedy, according to DeCaro, is icing the feet, but only at night and only after your last step.

"One of the most common mistakes is icing the foot during the day. Ice contracts soft tissue and thus exposes it to more tearing. If you ice after your last step for 10-15 minutes, then not only do you quadruple the healing process during the night but you avoid walking and tearing contracted tissue," DeCaro said.

These therapy socks feature full-size freezable gel packs along the sole, top of the foot and behind the heel for all-over pain relief. One Amazon reviewer with plantar fasciitis said these socks are an easy and comfortable way to ice their feet.
A 500-count bestselling and classic NSAID pain reliever
Both DeCaro and Trepal said that short term use of oral painkillers such as ibuprofen or naproxen can be useful. These are non-steroidal medications that can help reduce inflammation. Individuals with certain bleeding disorders, stomach ulcers, kidney disease or asthma should talk to their doctor before taking NSAIDs.
Two pairs of gel heel cups
Heel cushions placed inside shoes might make plantar symptoms more comfortable, Trepal said. We found these soft gel heel cups that use a strong self-adhesive to stay securely in shoes and are gently cushioned to help absorb impact and better distribute pressure.
A pair of arch support orthotic inserts
Trepal and DeCaro both said that arch support shoe inserts are worth trying, although in some cases custom orthotics might be necessary.

These highly-rated insoles use a high arch and deep heel cup to offer support and maintain correct foot positioning so that the heel is better protected from impact. The inserts are available in both men's and women's sizing.

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