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Plantar fasciitis - what's the best heel pad?

Plantar fasciitis - treatment with heel lifts

When selecting a heel cushion or heel lift to treat plantar fasciitis, remember that there's a distinct difference between the function of a heel cushion and the function of a lift.  A little background is in order.

An old folk remedy for plantar fasciitis was a pair of cowboy boots.  Cowboy boots were a unisex solution for heel pain.  By raising the heel you will weaken the normal force applied to the foot by the calf.  By raising the heel, the force applied to the plantar fascia is decreased thereby granting an opportunity for the plantar fascia to heal.

Now, do you need to go and buy a pair of Tony Lamas?  No.  But the point that I'm trying to make is two-fold.  First, the key to success in treating plantar fasciitis starts with lifting the heel and avoiding going barefoot.  That solution may be in your closet right now.  Think wedge heel or tennis shoes with a lift.

The second point is to clarify the difference between heel cushions and heel lifts.  Cushions will compress and flatten.  Although a cushion may feel soft, it won't give you the lift needed to weaken the calf muscle.  Be sure to err to the side of a lift.  A lift is firm.  Cover the lift with a cushion if needed.


Dr. Jeffrey Oster

Jeffrey A. Oster, DPM
Medical Advisor

Updated 12/27/19

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