What are Heel Cups?

A podiatrist may recommend heel cups to provide support to the heels of people who spend a lot of time on their feet.
Foot problems like plantar fasciitis can be aggravated by improper support in the heel.
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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 09 September 2014
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Heel cups are shoe inserts which are designed to provide additional support to the heels. They can be used as part of a corrective footwear program, or more generally to provide support to people who spend a lot of time on their feet. Many shoe stores carry them, and they are also available from drug stores, outdoor stores, and stores which specialize in various medical devices. Before using heel cups, it is a good idea to consult a podiatrist who can confirm that they are necessary.

Many foot problems such as plantar fasciitis can be aggravated by improper support and poor shock absorption for the foot, especially the heel. Rather than replacing shoes as soon as their soles wear out, using corrective footwear devices such as heel cups can allow people to address the need for proper foot support without spending a great deal of money on shoes. The cups are designed to cushion the entire heel, from the part which makes impact with the ground to the edges and back of the heel.

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The padding of a heel cup can make it more comfortable for someone to walk, run, and stand. The cup also acts as a shock absorber, distributing the shock of impact rather than allowing it to focus on one area of the heel. The padding can also be used to apply gentle compression to reduce swelling in the heel and ankle, a common problem in people who stand on their feet all day or suffer from poor circulation.

People like nurses, chefs, and retail clerks spend a great deal of time on their feet on a daily basis, and they often develop heel pain and associated problems as a result. Wearing corrective footwear, including heel cups, can make it more comfortable to stand and work on the feet, which contributes to greater comfort in general as well as increased productivity at work. The cups can also improve posture, by providing more full support to the feet and legs.

When fitting heel cups, it is important to make sure that they fit properly into a pair of shoes, without buckling or being compressed. Improperly fitted cups can chafe the foot. It is also important to confirm that the cups are comfortable for the foot, which may require a few adjustments, along with some walking to confirm fit. Podiatrists and movement specialists can help people fit heel cups properly, and make additional recommendations for other corrective footwear products, including shoes.

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Discuss this Article

manykitties2
Post 6

Heel cups can benefit those that have Piezogenic pedal papules. These small white bumps appear on some people’s heels when pressure is applied. Often these are mistaken for things like warts or cysts, though they are not caused by a virus and do not have liquid inside them. Rather the fat in the foot becoming herniated by too much pressure causes these papules.

For many people these bumps do not cause any pain, but as there is no real treatment for them, when they do hurt a bit it is best to wear a soft gel heel cup to relieve some of the pressure from the bumps.

drtroubles
Post 5

If you have foot pain and feel that a product like heel cups may help, but you don't want the hassle of putting them in yourself, or find that they are uncomfortable when added to your regular show, you should buy a pair of shoes that already come with heel cups built in.

These shoes are available at most higher end shops that carry products like Dr. Scholl's athletic runners.

For those with the funds, you can also see a podiatrist about having custom footwear made to ease your problem. While they may be expensive, if your pain is severe it is well worth the investment.

BabaB
Post 4

There is a simple method of healing achilles heel. It was used mostly on athletes to quickly heal their plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the ligament across the bottom of the foot.

If you continue your activity before this condition heals, scar tissue can make it difficult to use your feet properly and the condition is likely to come back.

This new method cures plantar fasciitis quickly and thoroughly. It takes four steps and some special equipment. Testimonials say it really works.

Step one: Since you can't exercise much when you are recuperating, blood flow isn't activated.

The inferno wraps create waves of energy that

increase blood flow and reach down deep into ligaments and muscles.

Step two: Cold compression wraps stay close to all surfaces of your foot. These wraps reduce inflammation and decrease pain.

Step three: Ultrasound treatments - using equipment that you can use at home, rather than going into the office, makes it cheaper and more convenient to give yourself at least three treatments at home. Ultrasound treatments can break up scar tissue.

Step four: Wearing a splint during the night will help heal while you sleep and you shouldn't have those awful first steps pain.

Many people have had great success with these products. I might try them myself as I have pain and inflammation in my knees, feet, and back.

PinkLady4
Post 3

@sunnysideup - I've had a lot of trouble with my feet for the last few years. I've visited the podiatrist office several times. He had custom- made,hard orthodics made for me. They helped some, they lifted up and supported my arch. But, I still had pain and couldn't do any running or tennis.

Finally, I saw a brand called Orthoheel in a catalog. They turned out to be the most supportive and comfortable walking/athletic shoe I've ever worn. They have a larger toe box, which helps with toe crunching. The arch is well supported. And, the best part is that there is a lot of support for the heel, which prevents the heel from pronating or rolling to the inside. I think these are the best I can find. They are expensive, but worth it.

sobeit
Post 2

@sunnysideup - I tried gel heel cups when I was suffering from plantar fasciitis. They were okay, but since I live in the subtropics, I rarely wear closed-toe shoes, except for workouts.

The rest of the time, I'm barefoot or in sandals and have tried just about everything on the market. My latest discovery is a sandal with a spongy heel bed and raised comfort pads to fit your foot (including your toes) by the good doctor. They are called Feel Crazy Good. I think it was the name that attracted me in the first place because I've looked for comfort for so long.

Not to sound like an advertisement, but when something works, it works. Good luck.

sunnysideup
Post 1

A few years ago I found myself at the podiatrist's office with severe pain in my heels. I found it difficult to stay on any kind of regular walking or aerobic workout program. I tried heel cups and hated having them in my athletic shoes, much less any other shoes.

What are some other shoes that might solve this problem without having to wear those inserts?

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