Plantar fasciitis is a common condition diagnosed in runners. It involves pain at the heel and along the bottom of the foot. It’s a simple diagnosis since the person afflicted typically describes the pain as intense upon standing and sharp. In the morning, the plantar fasciitis sufferer will have difficulty walking, however, the pain does lessen during the day. Yet, it’s possible for the pain to increase after you’ve had a long rest, an issue that’s common among people with desk jobs.
Fortunately, home treatment is available and often effective. Treatment options usually include insoles for plantar fasciitis or a plantar fasciitis brace. There are also many benefits associated with plantar fasciitis sock use.
Here, we’ll discuss the home treatment options available designed to provide immediate relief while also preventing flare-ups that can occur throughout the day.
What is the Plantar Fasciitis?
The plantar fascia consists of a long band of tissue found along the sole of the foot. This tissue provides support to the arch of the foot and absorbs the impact each time your heel connects with the ground. Unfortunately, the plantar fascia is not very flexible, which is why repetitive movements, such as running, can cause tears in the fascia.
Insoles for Plantar Fasciitis
Insoles for plantar fasciitis are designed to realign the feet, placing them in a more neutral position. This type of treatment can help minimize pain commonly associated with plantar fasciitis and offers more arch support while relieving tension in the feet. Aside from socks, these insoles should be used in addition to the type of footwear that promotes good posture.
Do I Need Insoles?
Plantar fasciitis involves the inflammation of the plantar fascia ligament and it’s the most common cause of heels spurs or generalized heel pain. This thick ligament runs from the heel to the ball of the foot and is designed to provide support to the arch while also acting as a natural shock absorber. Individuals who work in positions that require them to stand on their feet for long periods of time and people who suffer from obesity are more at risk for plantar fasciitis. People with fallen arches or individuals who engage in any type of activity that puts undue stress consistently on the feet are also at risk.
My Insoles Aren’t Providing Pain Relief
What most people don’t know is that all insoles will go through a breaking-in period, much like a new pair of shoes. Some models may not adjust to the contours of your feet as easily as others. Typically, insoles can feel awkward or uncomfortable for the first one to two weeks of wear. Fortunately, there is a wide variety of orthotic insoles to choose from. All of which are designed to provide support while increasing shock absorption and correctly positioning the foot.
Insole Coverage and Cost
Depending on the severity of your condition, you can purchase a commercial pair of foot orthotics or have a custom pair made. Custom made orthotics will run on the expensive side, however, some insurance companies will cover part or all the cost depending on your health plan and the medical necessity of these inserts.
Commercial pairs are significantly cheaper and don’t require a prescription to purchase. They can be found in pharmacies, online or through medical supply stores.
How to Choose the Right Insoles
A good pair of orthotics for the treatment of plantar fasciitis will allow you to wear your favorite shoes comfortably, remain on your feet for a longer period of time, and will help to minimize pain upon standing.
• Active inserts are designed to provide improved control for individuals who participate in sports or for runners.
• Slim fit orthotics can be a little pricey, but they’re designed for everyday use and can be worn in almost any type of shoe with heels that are up to three inches high.
• Gel heel inserts are a type of orthotic that’s designed for walking and everyday activity. This type of insert is more recommended for light activity.
• Shock absorber orthotics are designed for cross training and provide the most support. They also have a reputation for preventing the occurrence of plantar fasciitis.
• Inserts known as relief orthotics are designed for everyday use and can provide moderate support for the avid walker. They can be used in most types of shoes including dress shoes or work boots.
Choose Inserts Based on Activity Level
The type of insert you choose will ultimately depend on your activity level or the type of job you have. Manual labor jobs or positions that require you to spend a significant amount of time on your feet require more padding and support. Runners will need special orthotics that are more directed at shock absorption than foot alignment.
Aside from finding the right type of insoles that can work well based on your activity level, when combined with plantar fasciitis socks, you’ll find that your condition is more manageable, with a significant reduction in general discomfort and a decrease in pain upon standing.
Benefits of Plantar Fasciitis Socks
People suffering from severe heel pain caused by plantar fasciitis will benefit from wearing both insoles and plantar fasciitis socks since this type of two-tiered support can help by providing more support to the foot. These socks are designed to apply extra pressure along the ligament and can offer instant pain relief. They’re especially effective for people who spend a lot of time on their feet at work or runners.
How to Wear Plantar Fasciitis Socks
These socks should be worn with the proper orthotic support and arch support shoes. Often, people will opt for the compression socks overnight splints because they don’t interfere with a good night’s rest. The compression socks can provide a snug fit, which keeps the foot stable and the fascia ligament comfortably stretched. The result is a significant reduction in morning pain. They can be worn all day and night, allowing for around the clock treatment.
Shopping for Compression Socks for Plantar Fasciitis Treatment
When shopping around for the right pair of compression socks, make sure that they feature arch and heel compression support. Never wear socks that are too tight because it can restrict circulation and cause swelling.
Below, you’ll find a list of the best compression socks on the market designed to provide instant relief to plantar fasciitis sufferers.
Compression foot sleeves by FS6 feature six zones of compression along the ankle, running down to the ball of the foot. These socks are also designed to promote circulation, which can speed up the healing time. They can be worn alone or under socks and are easy to put on and remove. Some users had complaints that the socks were too tight and caused increased heel tenderness.
Feetures compression socks utilize unique compression zone technology that stabilizes the fascia ligament, promoting circulation and reducing discomfort caused by plantar fasciitis. Many people have reported that they’re comfortable enough to sleep in, which is a huge bonus for users with severe pain.
Compression socks by Sox Multisport are designed for more active wearers and offer more flexibility and room to move without the tight restricted feeling you can expect from other brands of compression hose. They’re also designed to improve blood flow and feature quick-dry material and provide mid-foot support. The sleek design allows the socks to be worn day and night, but they may not provide enough arch support for some wearers.
Strassburg compression socks feature more of a night splint design. These socks are designed to keep the foot in a stretched position during sleep, in order to relieve morning pain. The flexibility and soft material make these socks a good alternative for patients who found boot splints uncomfortable to sleep in. While they’re more comfortable than a boot and allow the wearer to still wiggle their toes, they can also pull on them, causing numbness. Some users also reported that these socks were much too warm and caused excessive sweating throughout the night.
Finding the Right Fit
The choices for socks designed to treat plantar fasciitis are somewhat limited, but the models available are all designed to prevent severe pain that occurs with the first steps of the day. They’re also covered by many insurance companies and can be found online or at pharmacies and medical supply stores. If you suffer from severe plantar fasciitis pain, then compression socks, combined with the right inserts can be an effective way to manage your pain.
However, if you find that you often struggle to fall asleep at night, then you may need more support while you sleep. While some doctors recommend wearing compression socks during the night, other specialists argue that a plantar fasciitis brace can be more effective.
Plantar Fasciitis Brace for a Better Night’s Rest
As you know by now, plantar fasciitis is a type of condition that is very common in runners, people who are obese, or individuals who fail to wear the proper type of running shoes. Using a plantar fasciitis brace during the night can help to minimize pain as you sleep and prevent morning discomfort.
Wearing a night splint to treat plantar fasciitis will keep the foot in a ninety-degree position, stretching the fascia and relieving pain that’s commonly associated with the first steps of the morning. The only drawback with wearing a brace is the fact that most types may have a negative impact on how well you sleep considering these braces are somewhat bulky and can cause excessive sweating.
Brace Style Options
There are a couple of popular types of splints recommended for plantar fasciitis: the boot and the dorsal.
- The dorsal brace features hard plastic support which runs along the shin down to the top of the foot, keeping the foot securely in a ninety-degree angle and leaving the arch of the foot and the heal open.
- The boot splint features a spine located on the back of the calf and leg, running just under the foot. This type is significantly larger than the dorsal model.
With the dorsal brace, the foot can slip out of the brace if you’re a restless sleeper, which can work against holding the proper stretch. It can also be very hot to wear and may cause excessive sweating. With the boot model, it may cause the toes to go numb and is often described by patients as uncomfortable and bulky. It can also be difficult to walk with.
Custom Braces for Plantar Fasciitis
If you have tried both types of braces without success, another option is having a custom brace made. A custom brace can be made to specifically fit the shape of your feet, providing you with the most comfort and allowing you to move more freely during rest. In order to have a custom model made, you’ll need to meet with a podiatrist. The specialist will take a mold of your foot and send it to a lab where it will be created in just two to three weeks. The splint itself can be created to control foot motion that is unique to the wearer and will fit snugly on the leg with little or no padding. Because this type of splint is custom made it will usually cost significantly more than a commercial model. Most insurance companies will pay for part or all of the cost of a custom model, with written proof of medical necessity by the ordering physician.
Fasciitis braces aren’t designed for walking and can cause a fall should you try to ambulate with it on.
Plantar fasciitis can be a very debilitating condition, without proper treatment. By wearing plantar fasciitis relief devices such as plantar fasciitis insoles, compression socks, and using a plantar fasciitis brace at night, you can easily manage your pain, and provide your foot with the right type of support it needs in order to heal properly and make those first morning steps feel easy and light.