According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, roughly 2 million Americans suffer from plantar fasciitis. While it generally affects older individuals, a relatively high percentage of athletes are at risk. In this piece, we’ll cover the basics of plantar fasciitis in terms of what it is, what causes it, and what you can do to better manage it. We’ll then focus on tennis players, our specialty, by recommending some of the best tennis shoes to keep you in the game.
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
WebMD defines Plantar Fasciitis as “inflammation of the thick band of tissue (also called a fascia) at the bottom of your foot that runs from your heel to your toes.” Most who have had it will immediately groan at the thought, as the most common symptom is pain in the bottom of the heel or arch of the foot with each step. Symptoms are usually worse in the morning as the tissue begins to stretch out.
What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?
According to WebMD, “Your fascia supports the muscles and arch of your foot. When it’s overly stretched, you can get tiny tears in it surface. This can bring on pain and inflammation.” People who fall into the categories below are at a higher risk of developing plantar fasciitis:
|Older individuals||Those who are overweight|
|People with flat arches||People with high arches|
|Individuals that stand often throughout the day||People that wear unsupportive shoes|
|Those with an unusual walking pattern||Those who have tight Achilles tendons|
How to Treat Plantar Fasciitis
The key here is to remember that plantar fasciitis involves inflammation. Icing the affected area should help to reduce this inflammation. You should also employ a physical therapy program involving stretches and leg strengthening exercises for greater stability, mobility, and balance (more on this later). Resting is a more obvious key to reducing the pain you experience day to day. Anti-inflammatories, such as ibuprofen or Advil (you should consult a doctor before taking these long-term), can help during your recovery, as well. Severe cases may require more extensive medical treatments.
Stretches and Exercises for Plantar Fasciitis
While we’re not medical experts or physical therapists, several of our shoe experts have dealt with the pain of plantar fasciitis. In terms of stretching the affected area, you can roll out the inflamed tissue with a roller, or even something as simple as a cool can of vegetables or tennis ball. Stretch bands can also help loosen up the area. While it’s important to focus on the foot, you should loosen up your calf muscles, as well. Many of the tissues around your heel and ankle can affect one another. One of the key exercises our shoe experts recommended was toe raises on stairs. This simple movement puts a little bit of stress on the affected area, and helps you regain mobility, strength, and balance. You can watch some of these stretches and exercises here.
With all of that said, you also need to make sure you’re wearing appropriate footwear throughout the day.
Best Tennis Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis
When looking for the best shoes to reduce pain caused by plantar fasciitis, consider the amount of cushioning and support you’re receiving. Shoes with thicker soles and extra padding will lower the amount of pain you experience as you walk, stand, or move dynamically. It’s important that they remain comfortable, but also somewhat firm to ensure proper support. Arch support that matches your natural foot shape will distribute pressure more evenly, thus further reducing pain. You will also benefit from shoes with extra cushioning in the heel to reduce shock. Specially-made inserts, braces, and socks are all important aspects to consider. As society has become more active, more money has gone into shoe accessories that alleviate pain.
For our tennis players out there, it can be even more difficult to find appropriate shoes that will keep you on the court if you have a tendency to develop plantar fasciitis. The sport of tennis requires a lot of dynamic movements, and abrupt starting and stopping. This puts your feet through a lot of stretching and shock, which can lead to high-risk situations if you’re not properly prepared. So which tennis shoes do our experts recommend to combat plantar fasciitis? Note: These shoes are listed in no particular order, as each individual is different.
Diadora Speed Blushield 4 Tennis Shoes
The Speed Blushield 4 is known for its naturally wide width and excellent forefoot cushioning. They also have superb heel cushioning, and a medial stabilizer to help control torsional stability near the arch. The wide base of the shoe makes it very stable, and allows for the easy insertion of custom orthotics.
Mizuno Wave Exceed Tour 4 Tennis Shoes
Players who want to find balance between lightweight performance, support, and cushioning should consider the Wave Exceed Tour 4. This shoe offers all-around qualities and a unique running-shoe feel that creates comfortable support and stability on the court. Mizuno touts shock dispersion (as opposed to absorption) with their advanced midsole technologies that further protects your feet.
K-Swiss Ultrashot 2 Tennis Shoes
The Ultrashot 2 is K-Swiss’ premier durability shoe. This means you can expect a strong level of cushioning and support, as well. With the Ultrashot 2, players will benefit from updated Surgelite midsole technology for better underfoot cushioning and energy return. This combination of comfort, stability, and protection makes it a nice option for those struggling with foot pain.
ASICS GEL-Resolution 8 Tennis Shoes
The GEL-Resolution 8 offers firmer cushioning than other shoes on the market. It’s the brand’s top durability shoe, meaning you can expect excellent support, as well. ASICS made an effort to make this shoe more stable than past models, which may result in a somewhat tighter fit near the midfoot/forefoot. They offer wide widths if this is an issue for you. These shoes are designed to keep your feet centered over the footbed, which helps create consistency with your movements.
Lotto Mirage 100 Speed Tennis Shoes
The Mirage 100 Speed is another lightweight shoe that offers all-around properties for speed, protection, support, and stability. A unique aspect of these shoes is they come with two pairs of insoles, one thick and one thin. This allows you to customize the level of cushioning you experience on the court. They may run a bit slim for some, but the materials seem to stretch out, and the advanced midsole technologies offer outstanding support during dynamic movements.
Nike Vapor Cage 4 Tennis Shoes
The Vapor Cage 4 is designed to offer excellent durability in a supportive, yet dynamic package. Zoom Air technology in the forefoot, and adaptive cushioning throughout the shoe enhance overall comfort and response. A full-length foot frame helps provide lateral stability, and keep your foot supported during quick changes in direction.
New Balance FuelCell 996v4 Tennis Shoes
The new 996v4 is light, fast, and comfortable. While it sits a little bit closer to the court than other models in this list, FuelCell technology keeps your feet cushioned, while a top-loaded shank ensures torsional stability. The forefoot also offers a comfortable amount of space, allowing for a non-restrictive, yet dynamic feel. The 996v4 is available in wide widths, as well.
Babolat SFX 3 Tennis Shoes
The SFX 3 is designed with comfort in mind. It comes in as more of a value option than other shoes on this list, yet still ensures appropriate shock absorption on impact. The arch is a little low, but the width runs slightly wide for the easy insertion of custom orthotics, if required.
New Balance 806 Tennis Shoes
The 806 is another option that comes in at more of a value, and offers a traditional fit. The leather upper provides a classic feel loved by many tennis players, while Abzorb technology in the midsole provides comfort. Another nice aspect about these shoes is they come in a number of widths.
Wilson Rush Pro 3.0 Tennis Shoes
The Rush Pro 3.0 is the brand’s premium durability shoe, offering solid levels of comfort, support, and torsional control. Compressed EVA and R-DST+ technology combine for underfoot cushioning and rebound, while the new 4D Support Chassis delivers enhanced stability to help control supination and torsion during pivot movements. The 9mm heel-to-toe drop translates to a nice balance between comfort, support, and agility.
That wraps up our list, but we hope it helps you combat the pains of plantar fasciitis while enjoying the game we all love. The length of time you experience symptoms will vary depending on severity, but being proactive on a daily basis will reduce this painful period. To see all of our tennis shoe options, and even some running shoes, visit TennisExpress.com.
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