Choosing the best running shoes for manage plantar fasciitis management can decrease pain and help keep you more active. Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation in the connective tissue on the arch of the foot. It is often caused by running or walking on hard surfaces and can sideline a runner for weeks due to intense pain. The pain is often worse after a period of rest, and is generally described as burning or fiery pain in the heel area.
Aside from icing the area, stretching it regularly, keeping the muscles of the calf loose and getting foot massages, you can buy a good pair of running shoes to help alleviate the symptoms of plantar fasciitis and prevent a recurrence once you’re healed and back on the road.
When selecting a running shoe, it is definitely worthwhile to seek out a running store that has a treadmill with a video camera attached so that the staff can do a gait analysis on your running style. You get on the treadmill and run for a few seconds to a minute, and they videotape you. They can then look back at the video to see with each step if you’re an overpronator, a neutral strike runner, or (rarest) someone who oversupinates (rolls outward when they run). Pronation is a tendency for the foot to roll inward when you land and is the most common cause of plantar fasciitis—the rolling motion causes pulling in the connective tissue and that leads to pain and inflammation.
Staff members should then put you into a variety of different shoes and repeat the gait analysis. When you find a pair that corrects the overpronation and maintains your foot in a neutral position while you run, those are your shoes. Also, many good stores will allow you to keep a pair of running shoes for a trial period (say, 50 miles of running time) and return them for store credit if they’re not working for you after that time period.
As for the structure of the shoe itself, look for a solid arch support that actually fits the arch in your foot, impact reducing cushioning in the heel and forefoot areas, and a heel that is slightly raised may help. Several companies make running shoes designed specifically to alleviate plantar fasciitis, using different technologies to do so. Some provide more gait correction, some provide different cushioning, and others help to correct your running form with a sole design that moves the strike point (the part of your foot that hits the ground) forward to encourage landing on the balls of the feet.
No one shoe brand or model is perfect for everyone. Runners have different speeds, footstrike patterns, body weights and stride length. It is truly worthwhile to do your homework, get a gait analysis done, and thoroughly test out a pair of shoes before committing to a model or brand.
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