The answer to that question is maybe and sometimes.

 I have seen over a 300 people in the last 18 months with plantar fasciitis at my clinic and over 90% of them had used or were using some sort of Insole or orthotic. Some were from a specialist podiatrist, the majority of them were from various internet providers so vastly different.

I have found that if insoles do work it tends to be predominately with standing and early stage plantar fasciitis. Issues with movements like walking, running and sporting movements and everyday life they are significantly less effective.

As a rule I feel that insoles in any form short be a short term solution as the nature of them is to support the foot similar to a walking aid. This is good initially, but, they need to be reduced in use so the muscles of the foot can strengthen and support the fascia as it heals.

Our feet were designed to walk on soft earth with no footwear or support and the muscles and structure of the legs support this. As our environment has changed with hard concrete floors etc our footwear has changed. Significantly for either fashion as in heels for ladies, boots for men and sports shoes and flip flops. Most people I see in addition to insoles wear some sort of cushioned trainer or sports shoe which at best was designed for running.

I have said this many times we were not taught how to walk only how not to fall over. When we are a toddler our parents hold our hands to help with balance for standing and walking. We fall over a few times and increase our walking distance through trial and error. Once we can do this task we just increase the distance. We do exactly the same with running just faster, and learn from other children through play. We only have specific walking or gait lessons if we have to rehabilitate from a injury or are coached in a sport.

People with Plantar Fasciitis tend to be a mid-foot to toe striker when walking and have relatively short strides. This is partly due to loading and the heel pain and also their walking style or gait. Heel strike and foot alignment tends to be erratic along with overuse of hips when walking and not using the ankle or knee correctly.

Online Insoles are looking at supporting the foot and arch along with limited cushioning of the heel. They are the same for each foot assuming complete symmetry and alignment of the foot. They do not cater for gait patterns or alignment of foot when walking and are focused on standing. They can be adapted to be used in current shoes which may be worn offering limited support or accentuating the plantar problem.

Custom orthotics or insoles are significantly better for fit and correction than web based alternatives. This is because you have a mould of your feet taken and the loading on your foot is also taken into account.

However, some of the same issues remain around the type of footwear they are used with and the support when not standing. The other issue with custom insoles is they alter how the foot sits on the floor which is excellent in other applications.

In the video you can see 3 different insoles for Plantar Fasciitis and some fit the foot better than others essentially trial and error. The ankle position is not taken into account as most plantar clients are toe or midfoot there is limited cushioning and the heel is very thin. The focus for the insole is standing when the fascia is loaded the most at the heel but the support is on the arch.

The issue is usually likely to be foot alignment in relation to hip and knee, along with stance and walking gait all of which needs addressing to allow the pain reduction of plantar fasciitis see ( .

The custom insoles look at pressure on the foot and where the loading is while standing or in some cases sitting. This is great and very accurate but does not take into account what the person was like pre plantar fasciitis and how they walk. So the correction works on the correct biomechanics and pressure but patients are not shown how to adapt their movement inline with the insoles. This results in a 50% plus number of people either not using them or using them incorrectly and thus making them uncomfortable.

However we all have to live and carry on with life. If you do want to start with some insoles to help support your foot it makes sense to look at online options initially to see the effect. If iI was recommending any it would be pro 11 online as a starting point. 

The two options I suggest are the full insole and the heel insole as highlighted in the video.

Option 1 the Full insole.

Option 2 the Heel insole.

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The results are a culmination of lots of reviewing progress and adapting treatments, some experimentation with footwear and movements along with some amazing clients.

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About the Author

Stephen Grinnell MSc Health and Rehabilitation
Pain and Physical Rehabilitation Specialist
Stephen has had his own Pain and Rehabilitation Clinic for over 11 years where he has treated well over 2500 people with lots of different pain and injury issues. Stephen’s personal physical rehabilitation journey started with a serious injury while on active service with the Royal Marines 25 years ago. This injury resulted in a long journey of complementary rehabilitation and two replacement hips. Stephen has developed his own bespoke treatment protocols using a variety of medical devices to help pain and inflammation resulting in accelerated recovery. Expert areas of focus are Plantar Fasciitis Treatment, Back pain issues particularly Lower Back and Sciatica and hip and knee replacement rehabilitation. Stephen previously had a successful academic career lecturing at a variety of Colleges and Universities in the Sports Science, Rehabilitation and Training areas. Stephen has also worked in The Queen Elizabeth Hospital Physiotherapy department during the Covid 19 Pandemic helping the recovery of COVID patients. In 2022 and 2023 Stephen has been extensively researching and trialling protocols to treat plantar fasciitis. His Expertise has resulted in the successful treatment of 103 people and counting with a current success rate of 93%

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