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Should You Use Hard or Soft Orthotics for Plantar Fasciitis?

Your choice of whether to go for a hard or soft orthotic depends entirely on what you need. First, identify if the orthotic has a deep heel cup, is comfortable,

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By Babafemi Adebajo
Joel Taylor
Edited by Joel Taylor

Updated April 3, 2023.

Walking with plantar fasciitis is painful. Thankfully, orthotics can often be used to help address the pain. Research has shown that orthotics can improve function and relieve pain in adults with acute plantar fasciitis. The question then remains whether to choose hard or soft orthotics.

What Should Orthotics for Plantar Fasciitis Have?

Choosing a hard or soft orthotic is secondary in handling plantar fasciitis, as they each have different benefits. The things you definitely should look for in a pair of foot orthotics for plantar fasciitis pain relief are:

  • Deep heel cups Orthotics with deep heel cups absorb shock and any additional stress when walking or running on a hard surface. They also act as a foot stabilizer that maintains natural foot alignment during intense sporting activities.
  • Excellent cushioning A good orthotic must have good cushioning pads to absorb shock and increase comfort. A layer of resilient foam or an EVA cushioned foam layer can work in this case.
  • Fit and comfortable It must be designed to fit your feet perfectly. Over-the-counter orthotics are not the best option because of this. Instead, custom-designed orthotics will factor in your foot shape and condition to guarantee a perfect fit and comfort.

» Seeking alternative methods to treat your plantar fasciitis? Check out our guide on pressure points for plantar fasciitis

When to Choose Hard or Soft Orthotics for Plantar Fasciitis

Your choice of whether to go for a hard or soft orthotic depends entirely on what you need. If you require firm support, then hard orthotics is ideal. A soft orthotic is ideal for taking pressure off the foot. If you’re new to using insoles but have plantar fasciitis pain, try semi-rigid orthotic arch support that provides a fine blend of support, flexibility, and comfort.

» Need more help choosing? Check out our guide on the best orthotics for flat feet and plantar fasciitis