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Can Too Much Arch Support Trigger Plantar Fasciitis?

Learn more about plantar fasciitis, how orthotics can help, and whether orthotics with high arch support can cause this condition to worsen.

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By Janik Sundstrom
Michelle Meyer - Editor for Upstep
Edited by Michelle Meyer

Updated February 17, 2023.

Plantar fasciitis is a condition where the plantar fascia ligament, which supports the arch of your foot, becomes irritated and inflamed. One of the most common causes is excessive arch support, which can cause too much pressure on the fascia and result in a burning sensation in the soles of your feet. Activities that require you to stay on your feet for long periods of time can aggravate this—especially if you have flat feet because you place strain on the plantar fascia when it bears your weight.

It's been well documented that orthotics are a safe and effective way to manage plantar fasciitis by sufficiently increasing arch support and reducing the amount of shock absorbed by your feet on a daily basis. However, incorrectly shaped orthotics can play a role in causing and worsening your symptoms.

How Much Arch Support Do You Need?

When purchasing orthotics, it's important to choose the correct shape for your feet. Hard and soft orthotics are available, but the most important element is that the orthotics provide sufficient—not excessive—arch support. The aim of orthotics is to redistribute body weight over the entire foot while supporting the arch and reducing shock absorbed by your foot. However, orthotics with high arch support can increase the pressure placed on the plantar fascia and may cause your symptoms to worsen.

Look out for the correct alignment of the ankle joint when your foot is bearing weight. If the arch support of the orthotics is too high, the ankle will supinate (roll outwards) and weight will be placed onto the outer edge of the foot and arch. 

Identifying the height of your arch and acquiring orthotics to match is your best bet in attempting to reduce your pain and symptoms from this condition. The orthotics will, at first, take some time to adjust to, but thereafter, should provide relief from your symptoms.