Plantar Fasciitis Night Splints
Plantar fasciitis can be a really painful condition. It's typically considered an overuse injury, and is generally a result of repetitive stress and inflammation to the plantar fascia, which is found on the bottom of the foot. The fascia is passive tissue that serves to provide tension and support the arch of the foot. It's extremely strong and thick, which is why it can stand up to constantly being under one's own body weight, but in the same sense, once it becomes damaged it can be quite troublesome to fix.
Most people report that the pain from plantar fasciitis peaks in the morning as they get up from bed. It is usually worse directly under the heel and tends to radiate outwards and forwards along the fascia, but this can be slightly different for different cases. The pain can subside gradually by itself over the course of the day as you start to loosen up, but if left untreated, the cycle will be certain to repeat itself, and most likely, become even more painful with time.
In one of our recent articles, we highlighted some of our favorite plantar fasciitis wraps and socks, which are great options for helping to deal with plantar fasciitis while you go about your daily activities. In this article, we are going to switch gears just a little bit, and review our top picks for the best plantar fasciitis night splints, which are meant to be worn while you're in bed.
Plantar Fasciitis Night Splints Reviews
MARS Wellness is a huge brand that designs and creates many sports medicine products. They are known for their expertise in the area of sports medicine, as well as providing products that give you what you need. What we mean is that they typically don't have all these fancy bells and whistles, and instead, create items that are meant to be practical. In our opinion, this is definitely a good thing, as the focus should be placed on healing your plantar fasciitis, as opposed to aesthetics of the brace or splint.
In the case of their night splint, you get a well-designed brace-type splint that has all the features you would want, and it actually looks fairly sleek, at least by splint standards. It comes with three padded straps that help to ensure solid immobilization, as well as dual tension straps. The purpose of the tension straps is to provide you with the capability to adjust the degree of flexion, which can in turn allow you to optimize the amount of stretch for ideal pain relief.
The entire system is surprisingly lightweight, but this is becoming fairly standard these days, so the weight is actually comparable to some other top-end night splints. It's breathable enough with its open design, so you are kept relatively cool and dry, and fortunately, the padding comes with a washable Lycra covering that also helps to keep the skin from overheating.
Overall, this plantar fasciitis night brace provides excellent value as it delivers high quality at a mid-range price point. It's nothing overly fancy, but it gives you everything you need to help treat your plantar fasciitis while you sleep.
This plantar fasciitis splint incorporates a patented clamshell design which helps to provide additional stabilization for the foot, as it holds it in a neutral position (preventing contracture like most splints), helps support the arch, and reduces the overall dimension of the splint so that it's slightly lower profile.
Some people find this splint to be overall less bulky and easier to move in; however, the relatively closed design means this brace won't be as breathable. In any case, it is still very lightweight and some find the low profile design helps them while sleeping, as it's less noticeable and less restricting in terms of moving your leg around. Some customers did expect better quality, but given the cost, you shouldn't really expect an advanced medical device. For the price, we think the quality is more than reasonable, it's just not anything fancy.
Overall, this is an excellent plantar fasciitis night splint that offers advantages for those who want something more comfortable for sleep, albeit at the cost of a more closed design. They market it as breathable so that you won't overheat, but compared with more open designs, it's probably just a little more warm. The only other issue that some customers have had is with the sizing, so just make sure you check out a sizing chart first before ordering. Otherwise, at the end of the day, this is a comfortable splint that gets the job done!
While not on the same level as MARS Wellness, StabilityAce has a lot of other sports braces and are generally well liked by many customers. This plantar fasciitis splint is quite similar to the MARS Wellness posterior night splint, but for an additional couple bucks you get two wedges of different sizes for additional stretch, as well as a foot massage roller, which is basically just a spiky ball made of soft plastic.
The strapping of this system is quite good, as the padded buckles will help keep your foot and ankle stationary while sleeping. The splint can be worn on any leg, and the wedges are removable so you can change your degree of stretch whenever you see fit. The massage roller isn't anything fancy and you can find them for cheap at your local fitness store, but it is a nice touch to receive in the same package as something else for plantar fasciitis.
The main complaint is that some people find their heel slips out with movement or just shifting a lot through the night. One would think that tightening the straps would help, but overtightening the straps can lead to discomfort and even pain. At the end of the day, the heel slippage issue isn't anything more than a minor annoyance for those who notice it (it probably depends on the shape of your foot, too), as they do state that the brace provides good results regardless.
Overall, this is another good night splint for plantar fasciitis, and is more similar to the MARS Wellness splint than the Cramer splint. The additional istems you receive with the brace are a bonus and actually quite functional, so they shouldn't be overlooked, but again, the main thing is that you're getting a good splint. In this case, we think the quality is definitely there, and is among one of the top considerations for a night time plantar fasciitis remedy.
The most obvious difference between this night splint and the others that we reviewed above is that the Vive splint is made entirely of soft padding. This automatically makes it an appealing option for those looking to maximize their comfort, but it comes at the cost of durability, especially if you plan on doing even a little bit of walking in it. The bottom is also a softer material, so it can get dirty walking around the house, but assuming you just need it for bed or on the couch, it's actually surprisingly sturdy.
The soft padding is a great option for those who want something lightweight and comfortable while sleeping. Given the padding is a more malleable, it can take a few nights to find the most optimal fit, mainly in terms of how tight you are doing up the straps. Too tight and it can cut off the circulation, even if it feels good at first (the soft padding can be tricky for this!), but too loose and it will move around if you shift around throughout the night.
It comes with one removable foam wedge, which is ok, but we wouldn't have minded seeing multiple sizes, especially considering the whole thing is made of soft padding. You can easily make your own wedge or add to the angle of the existing one, but that can be a little bit of a hassle.
Overall, this is a great night splint for those who want something soft and comfortable, but will still provide the support and stretch needed to treat plantar fasciitis. The main drawback is that the soft padding enhances the restriction for walking around (especially outside); however, the main point of this is to be worn in bed or on the couch.
All of these braces are very comparable in price, and the exact cost often depends on sales, but at the time of writing this article, this United Surgical night splint was the cheapest that we found for a sufficient level of quality (maybe shipping is different?). It's design is pretty standard - comparable to the MARS Wellness and StabilityAce splints we reviewed above.
This night splint is adjustable from 10-90 degrees of dorsiflexion, so you can really optimize the stretch on the fascia and Achilles tendon. The shell is technically one piece, but the rigid plastic is lightweight and provides a bit more protection that something that only has soft padding, such as the Vive splint reviewed just above this one.
While plantar fasciitis night splints generally aren't designed to be worn for walking, the United Surgical splint does come with an anti-skid tread for times when you do need to be able to walk, albeit in a limited fashion. The plastic and overall construction isn't any different otherwise, so being placed under your own body weight while you walk can still damage the brace.
Overall, this is a really good night splint for plantar fasciitis. The main drawback is that it can get a little hot after wearing it for a while, but otherwise, it functions just as one would expect and can provide relief from foot pain fairly quickly. All of these options are good bang-for-your-buck, so just try and focus on the subtle differences to choose what's optimal for your needs, but at the end of the day, all are good choices.
Plantar fasciitis is a really painful condition that can be just as tricky to solve. Chances are your best approach will include numerous factors. Whether it's wearing a plantar fasciitis wrap during the day and a night splint while sleeping, applying ice to the bottom of the foot, using a foot massage roller, or visiting your physiotherapist for manual treatment, a combination is usually the best approach. If you want to learn more about the extent of your exact condition, we highly suggest visiting your doctor or physiotherapist because even one appointment can point you in the right direction, getting you started on the best path to treatment. Good luck!