Orthotics for Plantar Fasciitis

Written By: Chloe Wilson BSc(Hons) Physiotherapy
Reviewed By: FPE Medical Review Board

Orthotics For Plantar Fasciitis: Find the best ones for you

Orthotics for plantar fasciitis are used to help relieve the tension and resultant inflammation underneath the foot and around the heel.

Not only are they useful for plantar fasciitis, orthotics can also be really useful for a number of other foot conditions such as tendonitis, flat feet and bursitis.

Plantar fasciitis is a foot condition where there is inflammation and degeneration of the thick band of tissue that supports the sole of your foot. 

The classic signs of plantar fasciitis are a sharp pain in the base of the heel that is worse first thing in the morning or after you’ve been sitting for any length of time. Those first few steps can be agony. The pain usually starts to ease off after a while but often returns later. 

Two of the most common causes of plantar fasciitis are muscle imbalance (weakness and tightness) and poor foot biomechanics (such as fallen arches), so orthotics for plantar fasciitis help to combat these.

Best Orthotics For Plantar Fasciitis

There are three main types of orthotics for plantar fasciitis:

  • Heel Pads: small inserts for the back of your shoe which support the heel
  • Shoe Insoles: longer inserts that also support the foot arches
  • Night Splints: worn at night for a sustained stretch on the plantarfascia

Here, we will look at how they work and compare and review different products to help you find the best ones for you. 

The orthotics we are looking at here can also be helpful for a number of other foot problems too e.g. bone spurs and foot lumps and bumps, as they provide cushioning and shock absorption, support foot arches and reduce tension through the soft tissues in the foot. 

1. Heel Cups / Pads

Heel cups are popular orthotics for plantar fasciitis.  They work in two ways. 

  • Heel Lift: they lift the heel up slightly which reduces the tension on the Achilles tendon, which in turn, reduces the tension on the plantar fascia itself. 

  • Cushioning: They also provide cushioning and shock absorption for the heel, again reducing the stress on the plantar fascia, particularly if you have also developed a bone spur on the heel.

Heel cups are the smallest and simplest of the orthotics for plantar fasciitis.  They simply slip into the back of the shoe and are generally made from a gel substance or plastic which absorbs shock as you walk or run.  With the gel heel cups, there is an element of flexibility in them, which is often preferable to the more rigid types of insole orthotics for plantar fasciitis, but it depends what you find comfortable

Heavy Duty Heel Cups

Tulis Heel Cup Orthotics for Plantar Fasciitis, achilles tendonitis and bursitis

When it comes to heel cups, one of the most popular are made by Tuli's. They have developed waffle style design heel cup orthotics for plantar fasciitis that absorb shock. The multi-layered design allows them to move and rotate in the way your foot is designed to, reducing impact energy for maximum comfort and performance.

They are designed by a podiatrist and come with a lifetime guarantee. They stay in place well and come in three different sizes.

Tuli's Heel Cups receive really good user reviews and users with plantar fasciitis say they notice the benefits of these almost immediately. Average user rating 4.1/5

Read: User Reviews   Buy Now: ON SALE (guide price $20/£10)

Items Available Worldwide on Amazon

#CommissionEarned from Amazon on qualifying purchases

Gel Heel Cups

Dr Scholl gel heel cups are great orthotics for plantar fasciitis, bursitis and achilles tendonitis

There are a whole range of gel heel cups on the market for plantar fasciitis. They slip into the back of your shoe and provide support and cushioning underneath your heel. Some are more effective than others so it is important to choose and well-respected brand. They are also useful for achilles tendonitis and heel bursitis.

Dr Scholl’s massaging gel heel cushions generally come out top in this category of orthotics for plantar fasciitis. They do tend to be more slightly more expensive than simpler silicone ones but the massaging gel not only provides cushioning but also flexibility to allow natural foot movement, and they are anti-slip. They are available in a range of sizes and are sold in pairs. Average user rating of 4.1/5.

Read: User Reviews   Buy Now: ON SALE (guide price $6/£20)

Items Available Worldwide on Amazon

SAFETY ADVICE: Heel cup orthotics for plantar fasciitis should always be worn in both shoes otherwise you are left with a slight difference in leg length which can cause problems in the foot, knee and back. 

2. Shoe Insoles

Sometimes, people need more support than just at the heel and benefit from longer orthotics for plantar fasciitis or other foot conditions. These help to correct foot biomechanical problems by supporting the foot arches to reduce the strain on the plantar fascia, making them a great choice not only for people with plantar fasciitis but for anyone with foot arch pain.

Plantar fasciiitis insoles also provide cushioning and support throughout the sole of the foot. Some are the full length of a shoe, others come about half way down. It will depend on the shape of your feet, your shoes and personal preference which style are right for you.

Full Length Inserts

Powerstep Foot Orthotics for Plantar Fasciitis, Tendonitis, Bursitis, Flat Feet & other foot problems

Full Length Orthotic Insoles run the full length of your shoe, meaning they stay in place well, which makes them a strong choice for orthotics for plantar fasciitis.

There are lots of brands to choose from but the most popular brand is Powerstep. Designed by a podiatrist, the unique arch shape offers reliable support paired with superior comfort. The dual-layer cushioning reduces stress and fatigue and the  neutral arch support provides stability and optimum positioning of the foot and ankle. The top layer of fabric reduces heat, friction and perspiration.

Powerstep Orthotic Inserts are available in a wide range of sizes so don't need cutting like some other brands. They cost slightly more than other brands but receive the best reviews by far - over 20k of them! Average user rating 4.5/5.

Read: User Reviews   Buy Now: ON SALE (guide price $44/£34)

3/4 Length Insoles

3/4 Length Orthotics For Plantar Fasciitis, heel pain and arch support

3/4 Length Orthotics for plantar fasciitis fit in the back of the shoe, cushion the heel and support the foot arches, leaving the toes free. Gel cushioning under the heel provides excellent cushioning and shock absorption and holds the orthotic in place.

The ergonomic design improves foot position and posture through effective arch support. Three points of simultaneous pressure distributes weight evenly across the foot.

The big advantage of these shorter orthotics is that they often fit better in shoes than full length ones as they take up less space and don't extend into the toe box, which reduces the pressure on the forefoot and risk of bunions.

The most popular brand 3/4 Length Orthotics for plantar fasciitis are the Pro 11 and Dr Potter versions, both of whom sell them in pairs. Average user ratings 4.4/5.

Read: User Reviews   Buy Now: ON SALE (guide price $20/£8)

3. Night Splint Orthotics For Plantar Fasciitis

Night splint orthotics for plantar fasciitis are a great way to treat the condition while you are sleeping. They work by holding the foot and toes back so that a gentle stretch is maintained on the calf muscles, Achilles tendon and plantar fascia all through the night. 

Usually, we sleep with our feet pointing down making these structures more prone to tightening, so night splint orthotics for plantar fasciitis are a great way combat to that. 

People often find that by using a night splint, they no longer suffer from sharp pain in their heels when they first get up in the morning as the foot has been stretched out, preventing further micro-tears developing in the tissues and instead, allowing them to heal. They are a really simple, yet effective way to eliminate those first painful steps each day.

There are a three different styles of night splint orthotics for plantar fasciitis on the market to choose from:

  • Boot Cast: Strongest support and stretch but some people find them uncomfortable
  • Sleep Supports: Smaller and less cumbersome than a full boot cast making them more comfortable but don't always stay in place so well
  • Sock Supports: Lightweight, comfortable and great if you are travelling

Let's find out a bit more about each style of these orthotics for plantar fasciitis.

Boot Style Cast

Plantar Fasciitis Night Boot

Boot Style Casts provide the most support and best stretch of all the orthotics for plantar fasciitis  They are made up of a light-weight frame, foam padding and three adjustable padded straps so stay in place really well all night.  Some have an extra foam wedge that can be used if you want to increase the stretch further over time.  

The downsides of plantar fasciitis night splints like these are that some people find them a bit cumbersome and not particularly comfortable to sleep in and they are not designed to wear when walking.  They do however tend to be the most effective orthotics for plantar fasciitis.

Two of the most popular brands of Boot Style Casts for plantar fasciitis are Orthotix and Vive with average user ratings of 4.2/5.

Read: User Reviews   Buy Now: ON SALE (guide price $40/£27)

Items Available Worldwide on Amazon

Sleep Supports

Night Splint Orthotics for plantar fasciitis and achilles tendonitis

Night Support Splint orthotics for plantar fasciitis are smaller and less cumbersome than the boot casts which some people find more comfortable for sleeping in. The main bulk of the support is around the front of the calf, rather than the back and they are much shorter than the boot style support making them less cumbersome.

The firm padded bottom plate provides a strong but comfortable stretch holding the foot at a 90 degree angle for maximum benefit. They are easy to put on with adjustable straps to ensure a good and comfortable fit. The most popular ones are made from memory foam and have small, uniform holes throughout making them more breathable.

Many Night Support Splint orthotics for plantar fasciitis come with a 60-90 day money back guarantee so they are definitely worth a try, with average user ratings of 4/5.

Read: User Reviews   Buy Now: ON SALE (guide price $22/£20)

Items Available Worldwide on Amazon

Night Sock Style Supports

Night Stretch Socks are a really useful tool for plantar fasciitis and achilles tendonitis

Night Sock Plantar Fasciitis Splints fits like a normal long sock, but have Velcro and fabric straps so you can pull the ankle and toes up to stretch the plantar fascia and calf all night.

They are fully-adjustable, lightweight and made of woven, breathable fabric so are usually very comfortable. The velcro straps allow you to gradually increase the stretch through the foot as able. They are available in 2 sizes, regular or large and are a great option if you are travelling.

Night Socks For Plantar Fasciitis don't tend to provide quite as much stretch as the other styles of night splints but many people who have found the harder splints uncomfortable to wear swear by these instead. Average user rating 3.8/5.

Read: User Reviews   Buy Now: ON SALE (guide price $20/£31)

Items Available Worldwide on Amazon

#CommissionEarned from Amazon on qualifying purchases

What Else Can Help?

Orthotics for plantar fasciitis are a great way to reduce pain and inflammation, but if used in isolation, the problem may well return. There are a number of other treatments that can be used in conjunction with orthotics for plantar fasciitis such as exercises, ice, injections and toe stretchers

To find out more visit the Top 10 treatments for plantar fasciitis and the plantar fasciitis stretching and strengthening exercises sections. 

You may also be interested in the following articles:

Related Articles

Common causes of foot arch pain

Foot Arch Pain
May 7, 2023

Foot Pain Diagnosis Chart - a great tool to help you work out what is going on

Diagnosis Chart
November 2, 2023

Foot and Ankle Tendonitis

Foot Tendonitis
May 4, 2023

Page Last Updated: 01/30/24
Next Review Due: 01/30/26

*Prices correct as of January 2024. All prices are subject to change.  Please note we do not stock products directly and therefore have no control over price changes. See Advertising Policy for more information