Sore and painful heels can really stop you in your stride. Pain at the base of the heel which can extend in to the foot is commonly known as plantar fasciitis.
It’s a really common issue that affects large sections of the population. It’s painful and can limit activity.
This article is going to look at plantar fasciitis braces which can help to manage the symptoms of pain and improve function whilst dealing with plantar fasciitis.
Not only will the article review the best selection of plantar fasciitis braces available on amazon but we aim to educate you on plantar fasciitis.
Braces are used to help alleviate pain and stretch the tissues of the foot and ankle whilst you have pain. Braces are commonly used at night for sleeping to hold the foot in position and reduce symptoms when you are at your worst.
What is plantar fasciitis?
Is a condition which affects the tendon and fascia which sit on the bottom of the foot. It is commonly described as a sharp or stabbing type pain which is worse when taking your first few steps.
People who suffer with plantar fasciitis will describe pain on walking, first thing in a morning which can then ease after a few steps.
Also after sitting for extended periods of time and then going to walk again – pain can happen in the heel and through the sole of the foot.
When symptoms are at their worst – they can limit the time a person can spend on their feet or walk for as it becomes more painful.
Why does the heel and foot become so painful?
It is often due to a combination of factors but common reasons for plantar fasciitis developing can be:
- As a secondary injury – following primary injury to the foot or ankle that causes change to the way that we walk, placing an increased load on the plantar fascia which then cannot deal with the new load and becomes painful,.
- Change in footwear – a sudden change in footwear can cause pain to develop in the heel. This can be due to the footwear being different to previous and providing less support or being unforgiving on the feet, this can cause the plantar fascia to react and become uncomfortable.
- Change in activity level – a common example of plantar fasciitis onset is a change in activity level with standing or walking for extended periods of time. A good example can be someone who changes from an office job to a more active job such as warehousing or retail work where they may be on their feet a lot. The foot and heel are not used to the load placed upon them and this can cause the tissue to break down and become painful
- Trauma – stepping on a stone or hitting the heel can cause pain and then plantar fasciitis can develop off the back of trauma.
- Poor foot health – if you have particularly weak feet or have had problems in the past with your foot and ankle – this can also lead to plantar fasciitis as if the heel and ankle is not properly supported by good strong muscles and tendons, this can cause extra pressure to be placed upon the tissues which leads to overload on the plantar fascia and pain developing.
Let’s take a look at the anatomy of the foot and ankle to better understand what tissues and body parts are involved with plantar fasciitis.
The plantar fascia comprises of tendon type fibrous connective tissue which starts on the inside part of the heel known as the calcaneal tubercle, where it is thinner but then extends into a thicker central portion.
The thicker central portion of the plantar fascia then runs into five bands surrounding the flexor tendons as it passes all 5 metatarsal heads which are located on the start of the toes.
Pain in the plantar fascia can be experienced anywhere from the heel to the more central portion which runs to the toes/arch.
The plantar fascia blends with the achilles tendon at the heel and there is a large link between plantar pain and achilles pain.
Managing symptoms of plantar fasciitis can be relatively simple when you know what you are doing.
If you don’t know what you are doing, then get to know!
Visit a physiotherapist who can give you the best advice which is tailored to your situation, symptoms and lifestyle.
The basics of recovery from plantar fasciitis from a self-management point of view are:
- Wearing the right footwear that help to support your painful foot.
- Managing your load and activity effectively – it is important to keep walking and moving, even while you have pain, but don’t do too much and don’t do too little, both will hinder your progress.
- Pain relief – if required, use pain relief to help manage your symptoms
- Walk as normally as possible – the foot and ankle need to be loaded as equally as possible in order to get back to normal, if you continue to limp this can make symptoms worse.
If attending a physiotherapist these are the things that will help your recovery accelerate:
- Good quality, tailored rehab – due to plantar fasciitis being a tendon related problem, it requires loading and exercise in order to strengthen and heal. This will be different for each person dependent on their pain level and function level.
A typical way rehab will be structured will be simple exercises without too much weight to begin with before a progression to bodyweight exercise that help to progress weight and load.
- Shockwave therapy is the gold standard for improving tendon related issues. Shockwave helps to accelerate the healing process by stimulating an inflammatory response which increases blood flow in to tendons and helps it to heel quicker – alongside exercise this is a great way to get rid of your pain.
Why use a strap or brace?
A strap or brace for plantar fasciitis is typically used when having bad pain at night from this issue. A brace or strap can help to hold the foot and ankle in position whilst gently applying stretch to the plantar fascia and also the calf muscle.
This can help to reduce the pain you may be having and to improve the sleep you will get. Typically a strap or brace will be utilised when you are at your worst point with plantar fasciitis and it is a means of comfort and allowing you to get the sleep and rest you need.
There are a selection of braces that can be helpful, some are more comprehensive than others and features straps to fit and secure or more have an easier slip on design.
The strap or brace you choose will be totally dependent on what your sympto0ms are like. This is why we are now going to run you through the different selection of braces that are out there on the market for you to make an informed choice about what works best for you!
Top Plantar Fasciitis Braces available online
Vive Plantar Fasciitis Night Splint Plus
This brace helps in supporting a neutral foot position, which reduces pain and inflammation due to plantar fasciitis.
Gently stretching the foot, the splint is worn throughout the night to reduce painful first steps in the morning when getting out of bed.
The brace also comes with an addition of a spikey massage ball which can be great for releasing painful tissue on the bottom of the foot.
The brace comes with additional foam wedges which allow you to customize the amount of stretch placed on the foot and you can add/remove these as you see fit.
The brace is secured with three wide adjustable straps and is latex-free. The straps are made with a strong fastener material that will ensure the brace remains secure overnight.
The lining of the brace is extra soft and padded – to guarantee comfort and reduce irritation. If you aren’t happy with the brace it comes with a 60 day return guarantee.
PRO 11 WELLBEING Night Splint Foot Brace
Lightweight and easy to use night splint brace which has a comfortable, open heel design. Unlike other braces which support the heel, this one is designed differently to stretch the foot and ankle by not supporting the heel.
This could be particularly helpful when the heel area is very tender to touch and you require some relief. It is designed for you to get a better night’s sleep as it features more of a lightweight design and is not as bulky as some of the other splints on the market.
Despite the lightweight design it helps keep the foot in the correct position to ease plantar fasciitis type symptoms. The securing of the brace is easy and quick, using velcro straps that keeps the foot well supported.
Vive Arch Support Brace (Pair) – Plantar Fasciitis Gel Strap
This is an entirely different brace to most of the standard plantar fasciitis braces on the market. If you are after a minimal option for your foot pain – this could be the right option for you/
This brace is an arch support strap which works by wrapping around the midfoot and arch in order to reduce tension out of the mid portion of the plantar fascia and aiming to reduce pain.
The design of the strap provides upward compression and support which can be adjusted with its design of custom pouches. These pouches allow for the insertion of gel inserts to aid your comfort requirements.
The brace lifts and supports the arch while standing and helps to maintain proper foot alignment during movement. Designed for comfort the strap will not stop you from wearing your normal footwear.
HXG Plantar Fasciitis Brace, Foot Orthopaedic Brace for Sleep Support
This is another brace featured which does not have heel support but does have a very good adjustable system which allows you to control the amount of stretch placed upon the plantar fascia.
The heelless design allows for comfort and relief of pressure at the point of pain but the adjustable strap which attaches to the shin area and the toes allows you to control the dorsiflexion tension – this is the amount of stretch when you point your toes upwards.
It is recommended by the manufacturer that when first using this splint, it should be done for short periods of time to help you get used to the brace, and each time you wear it adjust it to the stretch that suits your symptoms.
This brace has a metal bar within it to add further support to your foot and arch during the night. This is another comprehensive brace with good additional features like the adjustable stretch and metal bar support.
That concludes our guide to the best plantar fasciitis braces available online. We hope that this guide has been helpful in providing you with an education on plantar fasciitis and the best ways to manage your symptoms.
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