Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common foot injuries in the world, affecting over 3 million Americans every year. The cause of plantar fasciitis is often a combination of factors including poor biomechanics, excessive pronation and overuse. But what if there was one more thing you could add to that list?
Although there are many factors that can contribute to plantar fasciitis, it’s often attributed to wearing shoes with poor arch support or high heels. But what about zero-drop shoes? These types of shoes have no difference between the heel and toe height—and they’re becoming increasingly popular among runners, who say they provide a more natural running experience.
But are these shoes really safe? Can they potentially cause plantar fasciitis? We’ll take a look at both sides of the argument and help you decide if these shoes are right for you!
The human foot and natural gait
The human foot is an amazingly efficient and effective tool for locomotion. It enables us to walk, run, jump, climb, kick, and even swim.
The foot is composed of 26 bones and 33 joints. The human foot has a long heel bone that protects the ankle, five toes on each foot (four smaller toes and one larger toe), a short metatarsal bone in the midfoot that helps support the arch of the foot, and two bones in the big toe that allow it to flex and extend easily.
When you walk or run, your feet are constantly absorbing impact from the ground as you move forward. The arch of your foot absorbs this impact force by bending slightly under your weight before straightening out again as your foot leaves the ground again. This allows for greater stability and flexibility in walking or running without causing injury to other parts of your body such as knees or hips.
What is plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is a condition that affects the ligament on the bottom of your foot. The plantar fascia connects your heel bone to the ball of your foot, and it can become inflamed when you have too much stress on it. This can happen if you have a job that requires you to stand for long periods of time, or if you’re an athlete who exercises regularly and puts a lot of pressure on the arch in your feet.
Plantar fasciitis can start suddenly or develop over time with repeated strain on the fascia. The pain tends to get worse when you stand up after being seated for long periods of time (like work), or when you first walk in the morning after being asleep all night.
What causes plantar fasciitis?
The most common cause of plantar fasciitis is tight calf muscles, which pull on the fascia and cause irritation and inflammation. But it can also be caused by problems with other parts of your body—like flat feet, weak arches, or high arches—that affect how you move and put stress on your calves and feet.
The rising popularity of zero drop shoes
The rising popularity of zero-drop shoes is a trend that has been gaining momentum for some time. The term zero drop simply means that the heel height is the same as the forefoot height. This is important because it helps to reduce stress on your feet, knees and back.
The benefits of zero drop shoes are numerous. They encourage a more natural posture, which can help prevent injury and improve your overall health. Furthermore, they have been shown to increase blood flow to the brain and improve cognition while also decreasing stress levels.
Zero drop shoes are not just for athletes or those who work out regularly; they can be beneficial for anyone looking to improve their health and quality of life.
Are zero drop shoes ideal for plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is a common cause of heel pain and discomfort. The plantar fascia is a ligament that connects the base of the toes to the heel bone, and when it becomes inflamed or torn, it can be very painful.
One way to ease this pain is by using shoes that don’t have a heel drop, or a difference in height between the front and back of the shoe. Zero drop shoes are designed with this in mind. They often have no heel at all, or just a small amount of padding at the very front of the shoe. These shoes are popular among people who suffer from plantar fasciitis because they can help reduce strain on the plantar fascia by lowering pressure on the sole of your foot.
Disadvantages Of Wearing Zero Drop Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis
The biggest downside to zero drop shoes for plantar fasciitis is that they are not a cure. They only treat the symptoms of plantar fasciitis, and do not provide any treatment for the underlying causes.
But, this is great news for anyone who suffers from plantar fasciitis: zero drop shoes do seem to help ease heel pain caused by inflammation or tearing of this ligament. However, there are some downsides to consider before buying these types of shoes exclusively for this purpose.
May feel uncomfortable at first
Zero drop shoes are typically less comfortable than other shoes because they lack arch support. If you’re used to wearing cushy sneakers or even running shoes with a lot of cushioning, this can be an adjustment.
However, it’s important to remember that while zero drop shoes may not feel as good initially, they will help you heal your plantar fasciitis and prevent further injury. In addition, there are several ways to make zero drop shoes more comfortable: try different types of socks (wool is best), get custom orthotics (which are made specifically for your foot shape), and/or wear padded insoles like Superfeet or Spenco.
Finally, if you’ve never worn zero drop shoes before, it’s probably best not to jump in headfirst—start with a lower heel-to-toe ratio first and work your way up from there!
Some models are expensive
One potential downside is that some models are expensive. Though there are some more affordable options available, if you want a pair of zero drop shoes that will last for many years, then expect to pay more than you would for a typical pair of running shoes.
If you’re on a budget, you may want to consider what your needs are and how important it is for you to have this particular shoe. If it’s not a big priority, you may be able to save money by going with another brand or style of shoe.
Take some time to break-in
If you’re used to wearing normal shoes and are looking for a quick fix, zero drop shoes probably aren’t right for you. Zero drop shoes are designed to encourage proper posture and weight distribution in your foot by keeping the heel from dropping below the front part of your shoe.
This can feel really strange at first, especially if you’re used to wearing shoes with a higher heel and more cushioning around the ball of your foot. It’s important that you give yourself time and space for this adjustment period so that you don’t end up causing more harm than good when trying out new footwear options!
Reducing the risk of plantar fasciitis with zero drop shoes
Plantar fasciitis can be sharp and stabbing or dull and throbbing, depending on the severity of the condition. The good news? It’s not permanent! There are ways to prevent plantar fasciitis—and even fix it if it’s already happening—by making a few changes to your daily routine, including wearing shoes with zero drop (meaning they don’t elevate your heel at all).
Zero-drop shoes will have a flat or curved sole that encourages the natural position of your feet when standing on them. This will help reduce tension on the plantar fascia ligament, which runs from the base of your toes to your heel bone. By wearing flat shoes (without a wedge or heel), you’ll also be less likely to overpronate (roll inward) while walking or running, which may cause additional strain on your plantar fascia ligament.
Though, it’s important to remember that not all flat shoes are created equal: some may have more cushioning than others, so if you’re looking for an even flatter option than zero drop, try looking for ones with minimal cushioning (but not so minimal that they feel like slippers).
Lastly, always check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program or changing your footwear routine!
If you need to be on your feet all day, zero drop shoes can be a great way to make sure that you are comfortable.
However, if you have plantar fasciitis, it is important to make sure that you know how to use them properly so that they do not cause more pain for you. In order to prevent this condition, you need to strengthen your feet and develop more balanced foot muscles. You should also pay attention to your walking pattern and running form, as well as wearing supportive footwear.
While zero drop shoes may change your gait slightly if you’re new to them, they are unlikely to cause plantar fasciitis. However, if you have existing foot pain or an injured heel, then zero drop shoes may worsen these conditions.
Finally, while this may seem like a minor point, it is actually very important. You see, zero drop shoes are only effective if you wear them all of the time—if you stop wearing them after a few days or weeks, then your pain will come back as soon as you put on your old shoes again. Overall, they aren’t a cure-all—you should still practice good foot health habits and always talk to your doctor if you have any concerns about your feet.