Top 10 Best Plantar Fasciitis Night Splints & Braces Reviewed
Looking for a Plantar Fasciitis Night Split or a Brace that reduces pain but doesn’t ruin your wallet? Find the top 10 picks all compared in depth in this big guide!
Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common injuries that runners find themselves up against. Therefore, there have been many studies carried out to find an appropriate solution for the problem. Besides treatments such as exercises designed to stretch the plantar fascia ligament, physical therapy, ice massaging of the inflamed area as well as anti-inflammatory medication, wearing a night splint is one of the most commonly followed methods.
Night splints are a device for pain relief from this issue. A night splint is a brace that not only attaches to the foot, but also the lower leg and the ankle and is worn at night when you go bed. Its purpose of such a device is to stretch the plantar fascia ligament while you sleep.
Of course, there is no assurance that a night splint will be the end-all treatment for your morning woes, but lots of other people with plantar fasciitis have testified to its benefits in reducing – or completely resolving – the worst step of the day! Although it is found out that it is very cumbersome and inconvenient, it worked effectively.
There are a number of people just like you who have found that by wearing a foot boot all night, they can get up in the mornings and increasingly notice less pain over the following weeks.
10 Best Plantar Fasciitis Night Splints
Active Ankle Dorsal Night Splint is made of hard plastic type material. It is very forceful so it can hold your foot in the correct position. There are no rough edges and the well- molded plastic. The plastic part that goes around your foot is trully open on the bottom, it wraps around your foot on side with one side overlapping the other on the bottom of your foot so you can adjust it to fit correctly on your foot.
There is a fabric liner inside which has a bit of padding in it therefore you do have a decent amount of comfort between you and the plastic. There is a small slit that goes down/up in the cushion right at the place where the foot and leg meet. I’m not sure whether it is supposed to be there or not, there are not any finished seams on it. There is also a fabric liner on the inside of the part which goes around your foot. It is well crafted and comfortable. I have had no problems with anything rubbing me anywhere and the fabric areas cover all the hard plastic parts so your skin does not contact with it anywhere.
There are 3 Velcro straps which wrap around, two on the leg and another on the foot. There is also a separate Velcro piece which you can attach to the bottom of the foot after you have it on. This is a non-skid type pad which is made of rubber with little bumps on it. The straps are very soft and comfortable. They do not irritate or rub in any way.
It will take you some tries to get your right fit and to make sure it is comfortable when you sleep. Don’t get discouraged. Make sure that you get the foot part set tight enough so your foot doesn’t relax forward too much. If you make it too tight your foot will feel like it is going to sleep
2. Nice Stretch 90
There are three Velcro straps that can be adjusted to your comfort AND there are locking straps on the top and middle straps to keep the Velcro in place. However, the ankle strap is poorly placed. It really cuts at the ankle. I ordered a different one that has a strap above and below the ankle hopefully making it more comfortable. Those are also adjustable. I only occasionally use the ice pack that comes with it, if I’ve had a painful day. The ice pack is not so cold that it’s uncomfortable, but it still stays cold long enough to feel relief. The only thing I will say is that it is a little bulky and it is sometimes a challenge to get your feet positioned comfortably.
The splint is light enough that I can do this sleeping on either side. Walking about when wearing the splint is not especially easy – I take it off every time I need to get out of bed. But I find it comfortable and I am able to walk, if only a short distance.
I also took the advice I read from others about sizing. I wear a shoe size 10 1/2. According to the sizing information, that means I should have a large. But, I got the medium, and it is perfect. It has a removable section which you can freeze if you want, or you can just take that part out. It also comes with an extra piece of Velcro in case you need it and I do because my calf is wider than most. I use it on the top section to give me a little more wiggle room.
This model is available in all sizes, for both men and women, plus it is also a cost effective alternative compared to most high end night splints.
3. Futuro Sleep Support
Dorsal night splint designed to be worn on top of the foot at night. Maintain therapeutic 85 or 90 degree angle of foot – One Size Fits Most.
Comfortable straps for maintaining position of brace on foot – permits user to walk while worn
Breathable soft foam on inside enables comfortable support all night long.
Flexible hinge and patented soft edge provide comfort for a contoured fit around calf and foot. Adjustable straps enable fit flexibility
This one happened to be the cheapest on Amazon so you should purchase it. I was very skeptical, that’s why I went for the least expensive! I wore it last night for the first time. It was very, very comfortable to sleep with it on. When I woke up in the morning, I removed it and started to walk. It was the best feeling ever! I had forgotten what it felt like to not have that pain in my heel! Another great part for you is while you are at work at my desk job; your heel would not hurt when you got up to walk somewhere after sitting for over an hour. Normally I would be limping the first few steps. You won’t be disappointed with this purchase. It simply keeps your foot in the proper position while you sleep so the ligament can heal. It’s not uncomfortable at all and never interfered with my getting a good night’s sleep. If you’ve been diagnosed with plantar fasciitis, take my advice. Do not hesitate. Do not hobble around in agony for weeks like I did. Order this immediately.
Some reviews have mentioned that it slips off the ankle, I noticed this on occasion but I remedied it by lowering it on my ankle a bit and it fit and stayed just fine.
6. Bird & Cronin
- Lightweight, breathable design
- Does not contain natural rubber latex, for those who may be allergic
- Open front design allow the splint to be worn on a wider variety of different types and sizes of feet
- Some users had issues with the strapping placement
9. Posterior Sure Stretch
- Adjustable flexion allow you to control the gentle stretch of dorsal flexion for plantar fascia as well as the Achilles
- Washable and breathable interior
- Slip resistant tread
- Reasonably low priced
- Doesn’t work too well for those who roll around a lot in their sleep
Alpha Medical PF Splint
Alleviates that morning pain
Comes with optional wedge for toe support
Comfortable padding with velcro straps
Multiple size options
Fits on both feet
Foot may go numb if not strapped correctly
May be uncomfortable to get used to
Design concerns that the middle strap may not lock firmly into place
Active Ankle DNS
Works as specified
Slightly more favorable reviews vs. the Futuro foot splint
Some adjustment needed to find the optimal fit
Foot can go to sleep if too tight
May slip at night
May not be for small feet
- Provides a soft and comfortable latex-free foam padding.
- It is available in small, medium, large, and extra large.
- Has two removable stretch wedges of different sizes to help ease the pain.
- Comes with a foot massage ball.
- It can be a bit challenging to get out of it and then put it back on.
- It might take some time before you get fully used to it.
- The use of better clasps for practicality and convenience is a recommendation from previous users of the splint.
Posterior – Medium
The brace is located on the outside of the foot allowing for the straps to be kept relatively loose
Able to sleep comfortably at night while wearing the splint.
Consumer didn’t notice the brace was on while sleeping
Strong possibility the condition will be completely alleviated soon
- Very uncomfortable and cumbersome .
- Colors of the night splint are lacking.
- Straps are poorly designed.
- You have to hold the fastener into the buckle while you crank it down. If you don’t do this the fastener will pop out.
Less intrusive than a brace or larger sock for plantar fasciitis
Works in stretching fascia ligament
Small and easy to use
Material heat technology causes sweating
Pulls back on toes causing discomfort
The Criteria Used When Searching For The Best Braces for Plantar faciitis
The right position
The job of night splints is to, in basic terms, maintain the length and tension of the plantar facsia while resting overnight. While sleeping the body relaxes, allowing shortening as well as restoration to more of a nonfunctional state. This is the reason why for those who suffer from this condition, experience the most pain in their first steps after waking up.
The best option needs to keep the foot in the correct position, as to maintain the appropriate tension on the plantar fascia, not allowing it to shorten and return to a form which must be stretched back to have less painful use.
A properly functioning product should keep the foot positioned in a way which applies the right amount of tension while at the same time maintaining a bearable level of comfort during use. Remember, you’ll have to be able to get your sleep while wearing the splint.
The position in which the product keeps the foot placed overnight must be one that provides the necessary therapy which will result in less painful first morning steps.
You’ve got to be able to get through an entire night’s sleep with the splint on. That is impossible if the thing is uncomfortable and unbearable to wear all the way through the night.
Though the splint needs to maintain a proper position, there needs to be an element of comfort which allows the wearer to get some sleep with it on. We look for products which have elements such as soft lining, enough cushioning or padding between any hard plastic portions, as well as a universal level of adjustability, as to work properly for different kinds of feet and legs.
The strapping system should have some protection between any hook & loop closure and the legs, preventing irritating points of contact to the legs and feet. We also don’t want to recommend products that have pinch points around the places where the splint adjusts.
Another big thing that we look at is avoiding products that put the foot in direct contact with plastics forms or hard and potentially sharp or pointy sections of the splint.
Many plantar faciitis braces and splints come in different sizes, and some are even produced as one size fits all or most. The splints that are the really the best will be able to give the appropriate fit, as to allow for the correct therapy to be received.
The straps must be placed in a way that allows proper adjustment and fitting. They cannot be located in places which do not firmly hold the leg and foot in place for the right amount of tension to be applied.
If it is a universal or one size fits most type of product, the adjustability needs to be truly universal in function. It must have the ability to adjust properly to fit multiple foot and leg types.
It does absolutely no good to wear a night splint that is not able to provide tension to the correct location of the foot. In fact, wearing something that doesn’t fit properly, can create more problems than helping with the intended issue. It is extremely important that the product fit precisely how it is meant to, thus allowing the appropriate therapy to be given.
Like almost anything else that goes on your feet, proper airflow is an important factor. Again, you have to be able to get a good night’s rest while wearing this contraption, so it really won’t provide a great situation if your feet sweat profusely while you have it on.
The ideal night splint will have plenty of open spots where air can flow through. Some may have mesh or other types of breathable materials in their construction. Although many of these devices are made with stuff like neoprene and durable synthetics, they must also be accompanied with a design which allows enough airflow to maintain a decent amount of breathability throughout the night.
We looked for products that do not have a boot like design which completely surrounds the foot and lower leg, stopping air from circulating properly. We also steered away from those made with materials such as lower quality nylon that has almost no breathable properties what so ever.
Other Important Factors To Consider When Shopping For A Proper Night Splint
What are the benefits?
- Positions the foot in a 90-degree dorsiflexion stretching the fascia and in some cases, lightens that striking “first step.”
- Sustains stretching of plantar fascia and the calf while you sleep that is aimed to minimize stress on the inflamed area on the foot. Some researchers have claimed that night splints have helped reduce first pain after getting out of the bed in the morning. On the other hand, there’s a likelihood that your fascia tissues and calf muscles will stretch out, to the point of having the pain go away forever, even when you stop using the splints.
- There’s also a tendency of experiencing the symptoms of Plantar Fascia fluctuate every now and then. For example, you may decide to wear the socks for a few weeks overnight and realize that you no longer experience the pain anymore. But again, the pain might return, and at this time, it is better to use the device again so as to stop the pain completely.
Different types of products
There are two main types of splints for dealing with plantar fasciitis – the dorsal and the boot. The basic difference is that they are constructed on opposite sides of the foot.
The Dorsal splint has a hard plastic support that rides along the shin and top of the foot to hold the foot firmly in a 90-degree angle, while leaving the arch and heel free to breathe. A dorsal foot splint lightly pulls the toes upward to stretch the Achilles tendon and the plantar fascia ligament. The stretching serves to relieve pain and speed recovery, and the dorsal foot splint is used to cure Achilles tendinitis, plantar fasciitis, and other heel problems. The splint sits on the shin in order that the back of the ankle and the heel are typically uncovered. A dorsal foot splint is generally seem to be more comfortable than other night splints, which leads to longer periods of wear at night and theoretical speed recovery.
You may also like this post: 10 Best running shoes for plantar fasciitis
A dorsal foot splint does not allow the splint to be adjusted for distinct angles of stretching. On the other hand, an adjustable boot style night splint allows the user to adjust the amount of stretch used on the Achilles tendon. A patient may first wear the boot splint set at the lowest possible angle and then gradually increase the angle. This may help with pain management and speed recovery. The spine of the brace is on the back of the calf and leg and runs under the foot. It is often a larger brace than the dorsal style.
Common Concerns with the DORSAL Brace
- Design flaw causes foot slippage, therefore not holding the stretch
- Increase pressure on the toes causes toes to tingle and/or fall asleep
- Larger straps cause sweating
Common Concerns with the BOOT Brace
- Large and uncomfortable
- Toes go numb
- Can’t walk in them when you have to get up
- There does not seem to be a recognition on which type of brace is better, so you’ll have to determine what is more likely to be of benefit to you
Group Studies and Statistics
Most statistical supports for the treatment of plantar fasciitis showed that the use of a combined set of conservative treatments provides the best outcome in treating heel pain.
In a study to determine the efficacy of a tension night splint, many patients applied to a Night Splint treatment protocol were cured or found to have great improvement from pain, plantar fascia tenderness or ankle range of motion in an average of 12.5 weeks. According to the conclusion of this study, it was specified that a tension night splint, combined with ibuprofen, stretching and heel cushions all proved effective in treating plantar fasciitis.
Read more: Running with plantar fasciitis
In another study, it was proved that, the use of both arch supports and a night splint could be a more effective treatment than the use of either individually like a sole treatment option.
Most studies performed over many years have found similar, favorable reviews of the night splint as a treatment option when used in conjunction with other orthotic support.
Nowadays, there are available much different kind of brands that you can believe to choose for yourself a night splint to help solve your problem.
In order to help you make as informed of a decision as possible, we have gathered together some frequently asked questions that will hopefully answer some that you may have with regards to purchasing and using this type of product.
Q: Are night splints painful to wear?
A: Other than the fact of wearing a splint on your foot while going to bed, it shouldn’t add more pain to the current condition that you are trying to correct. It may take some time getting used to have the thing on your foot while you try to sleep, but if it is adding more pain then it is not fitting or working properly.
Q: if I have to get up during the night to go to the bathroom or something, do I have to take it of every time, then put it back on when I return to bed?
A: Many of the newer products are made to allow a small amount of walking around the house if needed. Many even have a surface or very light treading on the bottom for positive grip. For short trips to the restroom, you probably wont have to go through the whole removal and re-donning process each time.
Q: are they easy enough to put on, that I can do it myself?
A: Although some products may appear complex in design, they are all meant to be self applied, meaning the wearer should be able to easily put them on themselves.
Q: How much of a difference do these splints actually make?
A: Their role is to keep the plantar fascia stretched to a point where it does not shorten and adapt back to a tightened state. If the fit of the splints are proper, and the tension is correctly applied, the difference should be noticed in the first steps taken in the morning. If worn properly, it will not need to be shortened back to a state where the first steps are excruciatingly painful.
Q: I have noticed that there are actually quite a few options available out there. Isn’t it easier to simply go for the most well known and expensive brand or model?
A: While there are certainly brands out there which are consistently trustworthy, It may not always be wise to use brand names or price as the major determining factor in you decision making process. Just because something costs a lot, doesn’t automatically make it the best. This type of product needs to work well for your particular feet.
There are many factors that go into taking proper care of your feet. When you add injuries such as shin splints or knee pain or other issues into the mix, this only demands greater to be paid to choosing the appropriate solutions and remedies.
It is important to remember that products such as night splints only work if used correctly. Careful attention must be paid to the crucial factors like proper fit and a correctly functioning design. It is also equally important to know how to use the products as they are intended to gain the very best result.
Here are some sources we used while conducting our research
While trying to provide the the best in most informative content possible, we utilize many different sources which contain useful knowledge. Here are some of those helpful sources for you to take look at:
- Secrets To Patient Adherence With Night Splints, Podiatry information website, Oct 26, 2009 ,
- Plantar Fasciitis - Home Treatment, Online Clinical Information, ,
- Plantar Fasciitis Night Splint Controversy, Informational website, Jul 28, 2015 ,
- How Does A Plantar Fasciitis Night Splint Work, Foot care website, ,
- Oh-m’God-It’s-a miracle: Night Splints, Foot health website, ,
- Plantar Fasciitis Night Splint, Online Clinical Information, ,