If you suffer from plantar fasciitis you will be well aware of just how uncomfortable the pain can be at times. In addition, the pain can vary for different people depending on the activity they are doing or even the time of day.
One of the more common times for pain associated with plantar fasciitis to arise is first thing in the morning as soon as you get out of bed.
If you suffer from plantar fasciitis and can identify with this, you may want to consider wearing a plantar fasciitis night splint to relieve the pain you experience first thing in the morning.
In this post, we’ll look briefly at what plantar fasciitis is, and how a night splint could help you alleviate morning plantar fasciitis pain.
In this article, we’re also going to review the following best night splints on the market:
- Cramer Dorsal Night Splint
- Vive Night Splint
- Mars Posterior Night Splint
- Flexibrace Soft Night Splint
- Futuro Night Sleep Support
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is when the connective tissue (fascia) on the bottom of the foot (plantar) becomes tight and inflamed. This can lead to the fascia tearing, becoming weak or swelling up. The combination of these issues can lead to a painful experience for people who suffer from plantar fasciitis.
What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?
There isn’t one particular cause of plantar fasciitis but typically it will arise from activities which cause chronic tightness in the fascia. People who stand a lot may be susceptible to developing plantar fasciitis, also high impact activities such as running can cause plantar fasciitis.
Plantar fasciitis tends to be most common among middle-aged individuals. Younger people who are very active such as athletes can also develop this problem.
How Can a Plantar Fasciitis Night Splint Help?
There are various ways that people will look to ease the pain associated with plantar fasciitis, such as cooling down the area with ice, doing stretches, physical therapy, medication or even resting. However, another way is by wearing a plantar fasciitis night splint.
Simply put, a plantar fasciitis night splint is a brace which you wear overnight whilst you sleep which should help reduce the pain associated with morning plantar fasciitis.
The night splint wraps around your foot, ankle and calf supporting these areas in order to keep the foot flexed at a ninety degree angle throughout the night.
By holding your foot in a dorsal flexed position, the night splint ensures that the plantar muscles are kept in a stretched position and not allowed to shorten. Muscles tend to become shortened during the night, and by wearing a night.
What To Look For When Choosing the Best Night Splint
There are a couple of important criteria you want to keep an eye out for when buying a night splint to help with your plantar fasciitis.
This isn’t really that much of a surprise but the night splint must be effective otherwise wearing one during the night is a complete waste of time.
So what determines the effectiveness? The key purpose of any night splint is to make sure it holds your foot in the optimal dorsal flexed position. If a plantar fasciitis night splint fails to do this, then the plantar muscle will shorten during the night leading to the undesirable pain in the morning.
An effective plantar fasciitis night splint should be able to hold your foot firmly in place without loosening during the night.
The problem with many plantar fasciitis night splints is that they are not comfortable. Because a night splint must be strong enough to hold your foot in place, many of them are bulky and heavy to wear.
If you’re wearing a brace during the day this isn’t so bad, but when you are trying to sleep comfort is much more of a priority. A good night splint shouldn’t be too heavy and bulky.
In addition, it is important that the night splint isn’t too closed off that your foot becomes too hot whilst wearing it. A good splint should be highly breathable with open spots to allow adequate air flow.
You must ensure that you buy the right size of night splint for your foot otherwise the splint may fail to hold your foot properly. Some plantar fasciitis night splints are a one size fits all, whilst others require that you measure your foot and buy the right size. Usually the made to measure night splints are more effective, however getting the correct size can be a cumbersome task sometimes.
Type of Night Splint
Plantar fasciitis night splints typically fall into two types:
Dorsal Night Splints
This type of night splint will support the foot on the top part of the shin and foot leaving the arch and heel exposed. In other words, the plastic or supportive material will rest upon the top part of the shin and foot.
The dorsal type of night splint will often be easier to walk in and move around during the night if needed.
The boot type of night splint will be supported on the back side of the foot, leg and calf. This kind is usually bigger and bulkier than the dorsal type making walking during the night more difficult.
Whilst it is heavier than the dorsal type, it can be a lot more effective.
The Best Plantar Fasciitis Night Splints
If you do suffer from plantar fasciitis pain in the morning and no amount of stretching has helped ease the discomfort then it’s well worth trying to wear one during the night.
Night splints are not expensive and the low cost may prove to be a value purchase if it alleviates your pain.
Here is a list of the best plantar fasciitis night splints that meet the criteria mentioned above.
1. Cramer Dorsal Night Splint
- Easy to put on
- Slightly less bulky and lighter than other splints
- Reasonably priced
- Can walk more easily with it than most other braces
- May require the straps to be very tight to hold the foot in the correct position reducing the overall comfort of the brace.
The Cramer Dorsal Night Splint is a popular plantar fasciitis brace which sits on the front part of the shin and the top of the foot, leaving the arch and calf area open. This allows for more comfort in bed, and also the ability to move about the home whilst wearing it unlike the boot type of night splints.
If you want comfort, then this type of brace will be well suited for you rather than the boot type. You may also want to consider the Futuro night splint (reviewed below) as another possible option in addition to the Cramer model.
The Cramer does have its drawbacks. Whilst it is more comfortable to wear in bed than some of the bulkier boots, the straps do have to be very tight for the brace to hold your foot at a 90-degree angle.
Some have reported that this makes the brace very uncomfortable to wear. It seems that if your plantar fasciitis is severe you may want a boot type of night splint to ensure the correct positioning of your foot.
However, if you can give up some of the dorsal flexion for a bit more comfort, then the Cramer Dorsal Night Splint is a viable choice.
2. Plantar Fasciitis Night Splint by Vive
- Includes removable foam wedges to get different amounts of stretch
- Very soft padding
- Strong fasteners
- Comfortable to sleep in
- Includes a foot massage ball
- 60-day unconditional guarantee
- Good value for money
- Quite heavy and bulky
- Sizing instructions could be better
The Vive Night Splint is one of the more comfortable plantar fasciitis relief braces that you’ll come across in the boot style. It’s surprisingly comfortable to sleep in given that the padding is very soft, and at the same time is pretty breathable. It’s also effective in holding the affected foot at an angle to stretch the bottom of the foot.
However, like many of the other braces, it is very big and bulky. Whilst some people may not like this trait, it is one of the better splints available and is also good value for money.
3. Plantar Fasciitis Posterior Night Splint by Mars
- Effective in holding the foot in place
- Sturdy and strong
- Slightly uncomfortable
- Big and bulky
- People have reported issues with the design of the fasteners
The Posterior Night Splint is one of the most effective braces for the relief of plantar fasciitis due to its ability to hold the foot in the required 90-degree angle.
In addition to its effectiveness, it’s also very affordable being one of the cheapest night splints on the market.
That being said, it is one of the larger and bulkier night splints around meaning that it may take time to get used to sleeping in.
4. Plantar Fasciitis Soft Night Splint by Flexibrace
- Very comfortable
- Soft padding and comfortable fabric
- Attractive design
- Not recommended for walking around the home like some of the braces with an open heel
- A bit big and bulky
This soft night splint by Flexibrace is perfect for those who want something stylish whilst remaining comfortable. The main reason you’d go for the Flexibrace night splint is if you want a fabric that feels super soft against your skin.
The Flexibrace adopts the boot style so it still remains rather bulky and heavy despite the extremely soft cushioning. This still works in favour of it being an effective brace because it is sturdy enough to hold your foot at the ideal angle all night.
Overall this is a good night splint with great feeling cushioning, however, the fanciful design may not appeal to everyone.
5. Futuro Night Plantar Fasciitis Sleep Support
- Smaller and less bulky than most night splints
- Lightweight materials for more comfort
- Open arch and heel design means it’s easier to walk if you have to get up
- Easy to put on
- Not as effective as holding your foot in place as some others.
- Materials and build not the best quality
The Futuro sleep splint offers the less common dorsal style brace as opposed to the boot type of brace. As we discussed above there are several advantages of this style, most notably it is much less bulky than the boot type. This is one advantage of the Futuro over many of the other night splints on this list.
The Futuro night splint is also made from lighter material making it much more comfortable than ones constructed of heavier materials.
In addition, the heel and arch is open meaning there is a lot of space to give your foot room to breathe.
The extra lightness and comfortability of the Futuro has its drawbacks however. With lighter materials and more open areas, means that there is more potential for this brace to not give you the rigid support to hold your foot in the right position. Some users have reported that the brace sometimes may slip down during the night.
With the Futuro, you get more comfort, however, the trade-off is less support than some of the other splints.
Making Your Final Choice
It’s important to note that getting the right night splint for you may take some time. As discussed there are many factors that affect peoples preference of night splint.
You must get the sizing right. Be sure to read each individual manufacturers instruction on how to measure your foot before buying because they all differ. Many people have made mistakes in measuring their foot incorrectly and getting a plantar fasciitis night splint that doesn’t fit.
The other important point is to understand where you belong on the comfort-effectiveness continuum. If your plantar fasciitis pain is particularly intense in the morning then you may need to sacrifice more comfort in order to get an effective splint. On the other hand, if your pain is only mild, you may be able to trade a larger bulkier boot for something more comfortable.