4 Best Plantar Fasciitis Night Splint Reviews
Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common injuries that runners and other athletes face. It can affect your performance and may require surgery or other invasive procedures to fix.
Luckily, it's possible to treat plantar fasciitis, especially when caught early. One of the best and common ways of treating plantar fasciitis is with a night splint that helps stretch out the plantar fascia.
If you've ever shopped around for night splints, you may feel overwhelmed by so many similar, yet slightly different, products. We've compiled this guide to help plantar fasciitis sufferers find relief from plantar fasciitis pain and inflammation.
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
The root cause of plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the plantar fascia, the ligament that joins the heel to the rest of the foot. When this ligament gets injured, either due to too much stress or not enough support in your shoes, it will cause a stabbing pain in the heel and bottom of your foot.
The pain tends to be worse when you first wake up and eases once you've stretched the ligament out. You may find that long periods of standing or sitting will bring the foot pain right back, while gentle walking or stretching reduces the amount of pain.
Plantar fasciitis often gets confused with several other foot conditions, including heel spurs, caused by calcium deposits on the heel bone, and Achilles tendonitis. While all of these conditions produce pain, they have various underlying causes and need different treatment protocols.
How Does a Plantar Fasciitis Night Splint Help?
Most people sleep with their feet pointed down. This position is comfortable but shortens your plantar fascia, calf muscles, and Achilles tendon, which leads to intense foot pain. Ideally, you want to maintain a slight stretch of these tendons, ligaments, and muscles while you sleep by holding your foot at a 90-degree angle.
Night splints help by keeping a slight, consistent stretch on your plantar fascia. They also promote mild stretching of your leg muscles and connective tissue, which may also prevent the development of heel pain associated with heel spurs.
There has been a lot of research into whether a night splint can actually help manage plantar fasciitis and provide pain relief. The current consensus is that night splints are an essential part of a comprehensive therapy regime that includes using an ice-pack, massage ball, and shoes with a cushioned heel design.
It's also important to note that different splints will have different functions. Some may work well for certain conditions but not at all for others. If you're still unsure about which splint is the best for your particular situation, don't hesitate to contact your physician, who will give you the advice you need to make the right choice.
Different Types of Night Splints
There are hundreds of plantar fasciitis night splint options available, each promoting themselves as the best treatment for plantar fasciitis pain. However, while these products may all look similar, some work better than others. It's also important to note that an ankle brace also looks similar to a posterior night splint, but their effects are entirely different. Always make sure you're shopping for splints for plantar fasciitis.
The two most common types of plantar fasciitis night splints are the dorsal and boot splints. They both work with the same idea, but offer different advantages and disadvantages.
The dorsal night splint has plastic support that extends from below the knee to the end of your foot, bracing your foot at a 90-degree angle. Since the support follows your shin and the top of your foot, it leaves your feet open to breathe while you sleep.
While dorsal splints are less annoying to use than a boot brace, they come with some potential issues. The most common problem is that cheap dorsal fasciitis night splints often experience foot slippage, which means that you need to wake up and readjust the splint. Night splints with a more advanced design have ways to alleviate this issue while remaining relatively comfortable.
A poorly fitted night splint for plantar fasciitis can also cause pressure on your toes, leading to tingling and pain due to impaired blood flow.
The boot splint, or stretch boot, encompasses the entire foot. The brace follows the calf and runs under the foot, providing upward pressure to avoid foot drop during the night.
A plantar fasciitis brace is more stable, but it may cause your toes to go numb. It's also a bulkier device, which means that it's typically uncomfortable, and you can't walk in it without taking it off.
Which One is Better?
Currently, there is little evidence to suggest that one night brace type is better than the other. If you're looking to find the right splint for your needs, take the time to shop around and try on various models. Make sure to try both boot splints and dorsal splints to find the design that works best for you.
Mars Wellness Night Splint
Offers under $25.
The Mars Wellness night splint is a boot design with dual tension straps plus three straps with foam padding for extra comfort and security. The entire assembly of the posterior night splint ensures that your foot won't move during the night, no matter how roughly you sleep.
One of the advantages of this product is that it fits many different shoe sizes, so it's perfect for people on either the smaller or larger end of the scale. However, due to its multiple straps and bulky size, other people find it challenging to put on and take off.
We think this is one of the best plantar fasciitis night splints, mainly because it comes in several different sizes. It is also affordably priced and has a removable, washable fabric for extra convenience.
The one drawback most people notice is that it's a very cumbersome splint, which means that you won't be relaxing on the couch watching TV while wearing this beast. However, if you want something to hold your feet at the proper angle for stretching throughout the night, this is an excellent first choice.
Vive Night Splint
Offers under $27.
The Vive night splint is a typical boot for treating plantar fasciitis. What sets it apart from the competitors is the massage ball and foot wedges that allow for better foot positioning.
The soft padding and three adjustable velcro straps make this the most customizable boot for someone who wants a comfortable tension night splint without getting numb toes.
Another bonus of this plantar fasciitis night splint is that it's relatively lightweight, and you can easily walk in it during the night. If you're a light sleeper, this may be the best plantar fasciitis night splint for your particular needs. It's also comfortable enough to wear at home while watching videos, playing games, or relaxing to add a bit of extra stretching time.
Cramer Dorsal Night Splint
Offers under $23.
This dorsal night splint is significantly less bulky and cumbersome than many of its competitors. It has a non-slip footpad and high-quality velcro that will last for a long time. The breathable soft padding makes it an excellent choice for hot summer nights, where having to wear a full boot is worse than having the plantar fasciitis condition.
While most night splints work well for plantar fasciitis, they tend not to work for other issues. The Cramer night splint is also useful for drop foot, Achilles tendonitis, and heel pain. Many patients report being surprised at how versatile and practical this splint was and how often they ended up using it.
The Strassburg Sock
Offers under $40.
The Strassburg sock may look silly at first glance, but people who have tried it for their foot condition swear by it. This sock doesn't have a hard plastic spine and instead relies on attaching the toe of the sock to the knee. It's significantly more comfortable than any other splint and allows for way more freedom of motion.
This night splint is a bit hit or miss, with some people thinking it's a gimmick, while others say it's the best product they've ever used.
While we don't think that this is the best choice available for plantar fasciitis, it's still a worthwhile item to have on your menu if your other options don't work as well as you'd like.
Plantar fasciitis is a debilitating condition that affects people from all walks of life. Whether you're a runner, professional athlete, or just a person who wants to get their daily 5,000 steps in, having a foot condition can stop your plans in their tracks.
Night splints are a proven way to reduce the pain and inflammation associated with plantar fasciitis. They work best as part of a comprehensive treatment plan that includes anti-inflammatories, stretching, and wearing the correct shoes.
If you suspect you have plantar fasciitis or a similar condition, we strongly recommend seeing a physician. They'll help you choose the right splint for your needs and provide you with the necessary advice to get you back on track.