Experts explain what to look for when shopping for shoes that ease heel pain.
Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the ligament that connects the heel to the toes. Having it is a huge pain—literally. The condition is most commonly described as severe pain in the heel, and it accounts for up to 15% of the foot symptoms that require professional care.
Plantar fasciitis may cause discomfort beyond the feet. “The fascia is connected to the calf muscle and the Achilles,” says Tzvi Bar-David, director of podiatry at New York Presbyterian Hospital. “That's why people with plantar fasciitis often feel pain in the morning. When they stand up, the calf muscle extends, which in turn pulls on the heel and the associated ligaments. It’s essentially a tug of war with the fascia."
Dr. Bar-David says stretching can relieve plantar fasciitis-induced discomfort. "I tell my patients to do a simple runner's stretch several times over the course of the day. If you can do it once every hour for 30 seconds on each side, that's ideal."
In addition to stretching, finding the right footwear is essential for curing plantar fasciitis. We talked to three experts to find out which shoes are the best picks for those of us fighting the podiatric problem. These eight pairs may help relieve your heel pain.
This article was originally published on September 13, 2016 and has been updated for accuracy.