The rehabilitation process can sometimes seem painful, overwhelming and daunting if you overstretch, overstress, strain, tear or rupture an anatomical structure in your body, especially those experiencing plantar fasciitis. There are factors which can feed into the negative conundrum of injuring yourself which includes time off work for both rest and appointments and time away from competitive sport or training. However, there are now products, such as braces, which helps alleviate the pain of this injury.
What are braces?
Braces, or orthopedic braces, are braces are designed to treat, correct and prevent an injury of the feet and legs by enhancing stability especially to the joints. The most popular types of orthopedic braces for plantar fasciitis involve the use of a combination of synthetic and elastic materials as well as Velcro straps
If you have severe heel pain, wearing a brace for a short time can be a good idea. The braces will offer some degree of “instant paint relief” without having to use drugs or ice. The braces provide a compressive force which will push waste products out of the tissues that are causing your heel pain to not heal.
Benefits of wearing a plantar fasciitis brace
Before you get excited to buy a brace though, please keep in mind that a brace is NOT the answer for plantar fasciitis. While a brace doesn’t treat the root cause of plantar fasciitis, it otherwise forces the bones into a more stationary position. This leads the joints to be more stable and take the strain off the plantar fascia. While braces are great if you are suffering a severe case of plantar fasciitis, they should not be depended on to address your pain completely.
Braces relieve pain by reducing the amount of stress on injured structures, limits the movement available at a joint can allow healing to occur at a faster rate. Braces are also cost-effective and good availability. Plus, it provides us with reasonable stability during both rehabilitation and returns to sport/work which makes both these processes more pain-free and faster.
When to wear a brace?
There are people who experience extreme pain with their first few steps of the day and they tried plantar fasciitis splint at night and while at rest during the day. Many patients adhere to the stretching routine that their podiatrists recommend, wearing a brace cuts out the need for nightly stretches.
Podiatry Today’s experts recommend that the patient wear the brace during the day with a walking boot for those who struggle to sleep while wearing a positioning brace. With this, they become acclimated to wearing the brace while still receiving benefits of stretching the Plantar fascia in the proper position.
Types of Plantar Fasciitis Braces
There are two chief types of plantar fasciitis braces, posterior and dorsal.
A posterior brace is a traditional remedy for nighttime relief of heel pain. This type of brace is a boot shape which stretches the plantar fascia by holding the foot at the proper angle for ligament extension.
A dorsal brace straps on to the foot as opposed to sliding on like a shoe or boot. The term dorsal refers to the application of the device to the front of the foot. Many patients commented that this type of brace is more comfortable than a posterior brace and it’s also easier to slip out of while sleeping.
Here is a guide to some of the braces available for plantar fasciitis on the market to help you get started in your search.
This posterior brace is universal, as it can fit both left and right legs and is designed to alleviate the pain and discomfort from plantar fasciitis as well as are related pains such as achilles tendonitis. It uses a consistent but gentle stretch to the plantar fascia by keeping the foot in a neutral position. It features padded straps with center-release buckles to ensure that the feet cannot be moved. The straps are adjustable to provide 90 to 10 degree dorsal flexion. The release buckles are easy to use. While the low-profile shell is incredibly lightweight and lined with a foam laminate to provide the ultimate comfort.
Adjustable hook and loop closures for optimum fit.
Hard-shell construction is unforgiving and may prove difficult to adjust to for people who are sensitive sleepers.
This brace has a padded and contoured shell which makes it comfortable to sleep in. It has a removable liner which is washable and adjustable to suit your comfort level. It is also notable pain relief coupled with a soft fit which makes the ProWedge brace a good choice for those new to plantar fasciitis treatment.
Safe for minimal walking at night during rest periods, lightweight and easy to adjust.
Construction adds bulk to the foot and may be uncomfortable for people who are not familiar with sleeping with a brace on.
This brace has padded straps and boot surface plus included wedges and massage ball which helps this brace deliver multiple angles of treatment. This brace has two optional wedges which slide under the pad of the splint, giving extra stretch for tight ligaments.
Wedges help in achieving proper fit and level of stretch.
Finding the sweet spot for strap adjustment can cause numbness in the toes.
This brace has a hook and loop adjustable splint with an included wedge and fits either on the left or right foot. This brace has a lightweight form and isn’t as bulky as other brace options. The manufacturer suggests not walking outdoors or on wet surfaces, this brace is suitable for walking short distances indoors.
Lightweight construction, breathable shell.
Toe numbness can occur when straps are too tight.
Vive Plantar Fasciitis Night Brace is a night splint brace which helps in minimizing pain, inflammation and discomfort from plantar fasciitis. This brace is made of soft, fabric-covered foam wedge for increased comfort.
The wide adjustable straps give soft support, while the cushioned surface doesn’t have any hard or rough edges that make the user feel otherwise uncomfortable.
Rough seams on the back of the straps may irritate users who wear the brace without a sock on
This brace is designed for plantar fasciitis patients since it provides fixed angle support with a rigid, low profile design in order to hold the flexion and permit the plantar fascia to heal. The non-skid treads feature on the bottom permits limited walking, while the removable ice pack and toe lift offer additional treatment.
Good comfort level, reduce inflammation, falls within a reasonable price range
This brace tends to be among the best products with regards to treating plantar fasciitis. It has a very light and adjustable feature, which makes it an excellent choice for those who need some extra help in reducing pain caused by plantar fasciitis.
Lightweight and breathable design has perfect padding for additional support.
Issues with the strapping placement.
This splint has a lightweight profile which helps your leg and foot breathe through the night. The straps of this splint are padded and the interior is made up of soft Lycra padding which can be removed and washed. This splint will keep the fascia ligament stretched and relaxed to help alleviate morning pain.
Material is breathable (which includes foam wedges).
Soft and washable padding.
Buckles are stubborn and hard to open
This boot-type split is designed to help relieve pain from Plantar Fasciitis. It features a lightweight design with padded buckles to ensure that the foot will be completely immobilized while you sleep.
Aids in relieving foot and heel pain.
Some people don’t find this splint to fit well.
This product is highly-rated by Amazon users. It has a lightweight and less bulky feature, which was constructed and designed to give a comfortable hold to the foot, which helps alleviate the morning pain and discomfort associated with plantar fasciitis.
Effective, less bulky, reasonable price.
It runs a bit wide
While you sort out the root cause of your plantar fasciitis, a brace should be worn. Many people are using braces for plantar fasciitis as an alternative to athletic taping. Always keep in mind though, that while these braces DO NOT fix the root cause of plantar fasciitis, they otherwise provide relief from pain and discomfort due to it.