Heel and foot pain can really stop you from doing the things you want to do!
It is a massively common issue and is typically known as plantar fasciitis, and this refers to pain in the heel and sole of the foot within the plantar fascia.
It can give out a really sharp pain which can cause changes in walking and reduce activity levels, in worst cases can also prevent sleep.
Once symptoms have started to reduce and are a bit more reduced, you may consider the use of a plantar fasciitis sock which can help to manage symptoms and reduce your pain, whilst also improving your function.
We have previously written about plantar fasciitis braces which are best used when pain is high and sleep is disturbed and you need more support. Plantar fasciitis socks are for when pain is less, sleep is better and you need to be more active.
This guide is going to look at some of the basics relating to plantar fasciitis including some basic rehab exercises but also a review of some of the best compression socks available for plantar fasciitis.
What is plantar fasciitis?
In summary – plantar fasciitis is like tendonitis of the heel and foot. Tendonitis is when the tendon tissue cannot tolerate a load placed upon it or it has an injury which then causes pain and inflammation and then this can take an extended period of time to heal.
Plantar fasciitis is a particularly difficult injury to heal just because of the location. Because we need to weight bear and walk and stand, it can be difficult to manage the weight that is placed through the heel at times.
Too much weight placed through a tendon will make it unhappy and painful.
Too little weight placed through a tendon will make it unhappy.
The right amount will fix it, but this is where you need guidance, education and help from a compression sock in order to just support the foot and provide the right environment for it to heal.
Tendons also don’t get a lot of blood supply – this makes it difficult to heal quickly like a muscle would. Treatment and rehab help to get blood to the plantar fascia.
Plantar fasciitis develops when there has been big changes in activity levels, injury to the foot and ankle and sometimes even a change in footwear.
Sudden changes are difficult for the tendons to keep up with and this is when they break down and become painful and less functional.
The key to overcoming plantar fasciitis is making sure you have all the right things ijn place to aid your recovery – go and see a physio for the best advice.
The severity of plantar fasciitis can be different from person to person from stopping them walking but also it can be quite minimal where you are only aware of it for a few steps before it goes.
As mentioned previously – plantar fasciitis involves a tendon type structure known as the plantar fascia.
This starts at the heel bone where it connects to the back and inside aspects of the calcaneus (heel) and runs to the bases of the 5 toes.
The plantar fascia tendon blends in to the achilles at the back of the heel and this can be a reason why the calf can become tight and involved with plantar fascia symptoms.
The plantar fascia helps us to flex the toes, contract the arch of the foot and assist in walking by aiding the heel and calf regions.
It is designed to generate force and flex our foot to help us walk, run, stand and weight bear. This is why it is essential for us to use exercise in order to repair and reduce our symptoms.
Why use a sock?
A compression sock is a great way to support an area which is painful and has a lot of tension going through iot. Just as you would with an injured ankle or knee, use a support to give it a bit of extra assistance and allow proper function.
Plantar fasciitis compression socks are great for when you need to get active again and need compression to take the strain off the affected tissue.
A painful or weakened plantar fascia tendon can actually become tight and be placed under more tension due to its weakened state. Compression with a sock helps to de-tension, reduce pain and keep you moving. The compressive nature also helps more blood to be delivered to the foot.
Top Plantar Fasciitis socks available online
Here are a selection of the best plantar fasciitis socks available online!
Physix Gear Sport – Pack of 2 Compression Socks
These socks come in a wide range of colours and are complete with a toeless design. They provide support through the foot, ankle and can be worn at night as a night splint type support if required.
The socks are made with spandex and nylon which makes them flexible, elastic and comfortable. Because they are designed with a thin material, normal socks can be worn over the top without issue.
Sleeve Stars – Adjustable Plantar Fasciitis strap
This design is once again toeless and comes with an adjustable strap which allows you to adjust the tightness of the support.
It is essentially a toeless sock design with a one size fits all makeup but the adjustable strap merges in to a wrap style design so you can adjust the level of compression and support.
This is a great feature for your foot and ankle, because when your pain and function progresses you can adjust the support to suit your needs. The design of the support is in a plain black and can be sued for other foot and ankle injuries.
Modetro Sports Plantar Fasciitis Foot Care Compression Socks Sleeve with Arch & Ankle Support
This sock is again a toeless sock design which you simply pull on. It comes in 3 different colours which are all plain nature. They are made to wear in addition to socks or can be worn at night on their own.
The modetro socks feature smart compression technology which provide graduated areas of compression to each area of the foot to ensure that all regions are properly supported.
The comfortable design of these socks adds sweat wicking technology which will keep the foot dry from sweat and prevent odour.
Doc Miller Ankle Compression For Men & Women – Support Sleeve For Plantar Fasciitis
These socks probably are the most fashionable and have the best design on the list! They come in a variety of eye catching colours to choose from so they can meet anyone’s fashion requirements.
These are a standard sock design which are again toeless and the sock extends up towards the higher part of the ankle which provides compression to the achilles.
The material used to make the socks provides compression and comfort which has a whole range of features such as improving circulation and aiding soft tissue recovery. The most important feature is providing support to tissues which are in need of additional help whilst they are recovering from an injury.
Loaded exercises are key to improving plantar fasciitis. What do we mean by loaded exercises – they are simply exercises that place force and weight through the tendon and muscular tissues.
As mentioned previously – finding the right amount of load is key to improving the heel pain.
The following exercises are some of the basics you can start with plantar fasciitis and they can help to control pain and improve function in the foot.
Following guidance from a healthcare professional is the best way to get your plantar fasciitis better but for the time being, starting these exercises is safe and a good beginning.
- Toe Crunches – these are like sit ups, but for your feet! In a seated or lying positions, repeatedly scrunch your toes and curl them and hold for 5-10 seconds.
Repeat this until the foot gets tired or a bit of a cramping feeling in the sole of the foot.
- Arch Pickups / Crunches – this is another great exercise for strong feet that will support your arch and improve pain levels.
Leaving the outside and back of the foot on the floor, contract and squeeze your arch so that it slightly picks up from the floor – hold for 5 seconds and try and increase this over time
Repeat reps until repetition.
- Heel raises with toe extension – for this exercise place a small rolled up towel or a thin book underneath your big toe. This helps to increase the activation of the plantar fascia.
Once you have done this, using either a bench or wall for support, perform a simple and slow heel raise.
The slower and longer these can be performed for the better as it places more tension through the tissue, which helps it to become stronger.
There are exercises such as stretches, ice bottle rolling and also using spiky balls to compress and rub the bottom of the foot. These exercises are great for managing pain relief, but they aren’t the best for actually improving the foot pain. They have an effect to modulate pain, which in turn can make exercises easier.
Always remember that strengthening and loading exercises are king and have the best effect.
As a side note it is important to make reference to footwear. This can be a key factor in the development and management of footwear. There is no wrong or right with footwear but usually it is the time we spend in shoes or a sudden change of footwear which can cause problems.
Spending long periods of time in very unforgiving shoes such as safety boots or shoes and doing lots of walking cannot allow the foot to function as it could do leading to plantar fasciitis.,
Ensure you have a good selection of footwear which gives your foot room to move, flex properly and provides adequate support, this ensures that all of your foot and ankle muscles get to exercise properly.
It is also essential to spend time out of shoes and allow your feet to move freely and function, as well as regular barefoot walking to strengthen the foot and ankle.
That concludes our guide to the best plantar fasciitis socks on the market. We hope that this guide has given you information about how you can beat plantar fasciitis and why the use of a sock can help to improve your symptoms.
If this article has been helpful then please share it with someone you know. Make sure you check out some of the socks that have been reviewed if you have any foot or ankle symptoms or need them for your exercise.