Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice. I am someone who suffered from Plantar Fasciitis off and on for 3 years before my heel pain fully subsided. The following information is based off my own experience and research into what works best for plantar fasciitis.Jeremy
If you already own a plantar fasciitis brace or night splint you are likely already be aware they can be quite uncomfortable to sleep in.
Would you believe me if I told you there are actually comfortable plantar fasciitis braces available?
I’ve covered a number of tested, comfortable night splints for plantar fasciitis below. All of these are comfortable and easy to get used to wearing overnight. None of the night splints (brace) need complicated a breaking in period or maintenance. Some even have really handy features like integrated gel pack slots for added circulation benefits.
Please, before you continue, understand these are sizable investments requiring your money, and to perhaps a heavier extent: your time.
If you think the chance of you not wearing it every night is high, I suggest you check out our post on supportive socks instead. They feature a lot of the same benefits with less of the struggle, of course they are just socks so your mileage may vary!
Best Plantar Fasciitis Braces, Supports and Night Splints
NatraCure Plantar Fasciitis Night Splint
This splint is lightweight and is coated with a non-toxic material that can easily be washed and cleaned.
It effectively immobilizes the foot and reduces pain. Many patients claim that it is comfortable enough to wear all night long. It can also be bought with a free hot/cold gel pack which nicely slips inside under the foot.
Cramer Dorsal Night Splint
Many patients will claim this is one of the most comfortable night splints available and they can sleep soundly all night while wearing it.
They are light weight and not as bulky as some other options around.
The outside is a hard plastic to hold your foot in the correct position but its slim profile doens’t get in the way.
It is easily adjustable to fit your feet.
They are more reasonably priced than the competition giving them our number 2 spot.
Futuro Plantar Fasciitis Sleep Support
For those who just cannot tolerate the bulkier, boot type splints, this product will be the best fit for you.
It is less restricting, yet effective in immobilizing the foot while sleeping.
It holds the foot in 90-degree position for maximum benefit.
It is easy to take on trips and is more breathable than boot splints.
It may not be as effective overall as the stronger boot design but it is also less expensive than the other options.
Posterior Sure Stretch Night Splint
This product is less restricting than other splints.
It has three straps with buckles that allow for easy size adjustment.
The soft inner foam layer gives added comfort for sleeping.
This device is washable and allows for better breathability.
It has a slip resistant tread for walking and is reasonably priced.
If you’re the type of sleeper that tosses and turns a lot during the night, you might want to give this one a miss -- it tends to get out of position easily.
Nice Stretch 90 Plantar Fasciitis Night Splint
The Nice Stretch 90 provides a fixed angle support that holds the flexion of the foot and allows for natural plantar fasciitis healing.The non-skid treads allow you to walk around the house easily without slipping, good if you need to get up during the night a lot.
This plantar fascitiis brace is one of the more comfortable night splints tested.
One nice extra feature of this device is the integrated gelpack it has. It can help prevent your foot from getting too hot and sweaty while you try to sleep.
The splint is available in several sizes so finding the right fit is easy.
It is also reasonably priced.
Night Splint Basics
Whichever plantar fasciitis brace you decide to use, the main recommendation is to actually wear it.
Night splints are never going to be as comfortable as sleeping barefoot or in socks
Far too many people get tired of the hassle or are not willing to spend the time to get used to the splint and therefore never get the full benefit.
Find a style you like the look of and feel you would be most comfortable using -- buy it, and give it a real shot allow yourself time to get used to it and don’t expect to be used to it night one.
The long-term benefits are worth it.
What Are the Benefits of Night Splints on Plantar Fasciitis?
- The foot is positioned in a 90-degree dorsiflexion state. This stretches the fascia, aiming to prevent morning heel pain.
- The constant stretching will cause your fascia tissues and calf muscles to permanently stretch out, so that you will never have pain again while walking, even after you stop wearing the splints. (This is the overall goal of night splint / brace treatment for plantar fasciitis)
Many people who suffer with plantar fasciitis, find it difficult to sleep while wearing the night splints, so they quit wearing them,
To be of any benefit:
Night splints must be worn nightly. The length of the plantar fascia, the padding on the bottom of your foot and heel, needs to have their positioning and alignment corrected to get effective and fast results.
If the splint is comfortable and the patient wears it consistently over a period of time, the problems can usually be resolved.
Many whom suffer the condition, claim that when they wake up after a full night’s rest, they have extreme pain when they first start to walk. This is known as post-static dyskinesia.
While sleeping or at rest your plantar fascia, it shortens. This shortening leads to heel pain when you start to move about and stretch it out again.
Wearing night splints, can prevent the fascia from shortening in the first place and even elongate it permanently.
The night splint retains the tension and therefore maintains their functional lengths and decreases the sudden stress put on the feet and ankles in the morning or post rest.
Night splints cause constant, consistent strain on the plantar fascia, eventually producing a net reduction of stress to this part of the foot.
Many podiatrists promote the use of splints, if a patient complains mainly of extreme pain in the early mornings.
How does a plantar fasciitis support brace work?
When we lie down in a relaxed, comfortable position, the natural tendency of our toe is to parallel itself with our body, that is, a plantar-flexed position.
For most people,
This is no a problem at all, for those with plantar fasciitis, increased workout routines, or heavy loads to carry this can cause problems.
So how does a night splint resolve this issue?
A night splint, or brace, will hold the foot at a 90 degree angle keeping the plantar fasciitis stretched at a natural length you’ll maintain while walking.
This stretching keeps the plantar fascia from shortening during the night. The shortening is what causes the pain first thing in the morning because the foot is plantar flexed the whole time we are asleep. This is where the plantar fasciitis brace comes to the rescue.
The splint is typically worn at night. It can also be used whenever you will expect to be idle for a few hours -- sitting at a desk, sitting on the couch, etc.
Watch this video to see how its worn and what you’re in for using one of these. Jump to aorund the 2-3minute mark to see it worn!
Tips to Get Used to Night Splints, Supports, Brace
In general, wearing night splints while sleeping, can be awkward and uncomfortable. Many people claim that they got used to them, by only wearing them during the time in the evening when they were sitting and watching TV or reading.
This time was easier to tolerate and eventually, they could wear the splints to bed, all night long.
Night splints can only help if you wear them.
Types of Plantar fascitiis Brace, Night Splints, Supports
The two types of plantar fasciitis brace are the boot night splint and the dorsal splint. Both boot and dorsal splint are to be worn during the night time.
The boot splint is perhaps obviously, shaped more like a boot.
It is larger than a dorsal splint, so it may take longer to get used to wearing it while you sleep. With a boot splint you’re unable to walk, so if you need to get up at night, you will need to take it off first.
The dorsal splint has a hard plastic support along the shin, to the top of the foot. It will keep the foot in the dorsiflexion position all night. It is known to be more comfortable than the boot. The heel and arch of the foot are exposed so they can breathe.
There are two common types of plantar fasciitis brace, boot splint, and dorsal splint. Each has a unique design that will match your preference.
The boot splint is like a heavy-duty boot that catches the foot comfortably and immobilizes the foot in the dorsiflexed orientation.
The toes are fixed to prevent it from reverting to plantar flexed position. Walking is very limited with this splint. So, if you must go to the comfort room in the middle of the night, it would be wise to take it off and reattach it when you go back to sleep.
The principle is the same with a dorsal splint. The difference is the way the appliance attach to the body. Dorsal splints are designed to wrap the toe with a sturdy brace and pull it towards the shin attachment.
The device maintains the arch of the foot and the heels exposed. This design gives more ventilation for the foot compared with boot splints. Another thing is, it gives you mobility to walk around with little adjustment.
It can be convenient if you frequently go to the comfort room at night since you would not have to remove the whole splint.
Plantar fasciitis can lead to chronic heel pain if not addressed properly. Some people have gotten this condition from over exerting or standing for long hours. If ignored, this can give you post-static dyskinesia.
Post-static dyskinesia is a heel pain felt after an extended period of rest. It is characterized by a shooting pain in the heels at every landing. This makes every step painful. As you walk, the pain usually lessens but goes back after a long period of inactivity.
This pain is most commonly linked to plantar problems and is at its peak on the first step upon waking up. This can be addressed with an orthopedic appliance.
A plantar fasciitis support brace or night splint can lessen, if not eliminate this pain. Plantar fasciitis braces or splints are a popular choice for heel pain.
The key to lasting pain relief and quick recovery is to adhere to the recommended use of the brace and stick to a rigorous treatment plan.
It may be a hassle to put on and take off a plantar fasciitis brace from time to time, but it will gradually stretch and reset the flexibility of your foot if used correctly.
- Schroeder BM; American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons: Diagnosis and treatment of heel pain. Am Fam Physician. 2002 Apr 15;65(8):1686, 1688. View.
- Wapner KL, Sharkey PF. The use of night splints for treatment of recalcitrant plantar fasciitis. Foot Ankle. 1991 Dec;12(3):135-7. View.