Best Plantar Fasciitis Night Splints

With the latest data from the Orthopedic Research and Reviews stating that up to 16% of the US population is affected by plantar fasciitis, it is easy to understand why a lot of people are looking for information on the best and most effective plantar fasciitis night splints. It is one of the first suggestions from a physician when he or she confirms that you have plantar fasciitis, or PF, and it is also one of the most convenient ways to avoid the painful symptoms of this condition.

As the name suggests, this plantar fasciitis remedy is usually used at night and acts like a brace that will hold your foot with the toes pointed up at all times. It goes without saying that a night splint looks dorky and like something that Forrest Gump would wear. But there is a growing consensus among the medical community that this method is indeed effective and plantar fasciitis sufferers would agree: the fashion faux pas from a night splint is well worth it.

The Science: Why It Works

In a study conducted by the University of California Davis School of Medicine’s Department of Family Practice, 16 of 16 feet that used a tension night splint, combined with the use of heel pads, following a stretching program and taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, were cured after an average treatment time of 12.5 weeks.

As you might already know by now, stretching and strengthening exercises are the top recommendations for relieving the pain and inflammation associated with plantar fasciitis. That said, the main reason why night splints work is because of this mechanism:

The splint stretches your calf and the arch of your foot by positioning it in a 90-degree angle.

When in this angle, your plantar fascia (the connective tissue that causes heel pain and PF) is stretched enough during the night to relieve you from any pain the next morning and repair this degenerative condition in the long-term. Wearing a splint is also designed to ensure that the inflamed area on your foot experiences as little stress as possible.

Why a Night Splint?

No matter how long you’ve been suffering or battling with your PF, you would agree that waking up in the morning is one of the worst and literally most painful moments for you. As mentioned above, there are two main benefits from choosing this treatment:

Short-term

Waking up in the morning or from a long rest would be painless (or less painful)

Long-term

Continued use helps reduce or totally alleviate the effects of PF

However, it should be noted that the effectiveness of night splints would be dependent on your total compliance with your doctor’s instructions, your sleep regimen, and the quality of the splint itself.

The Two Types of Night Splints You Should Be Aware Of

Each PF case is different, so it only makes sense that there are many different types of night splints to help you out. It goes without saying that you should consult your doctor before you buy anything, but here is an overview of the different types of night splints that you should consider:

Dorsal Night Splint

  • Designed to go on the front, dorsal side of the foot
  • Straps stretch the toes upward to provide dorsal flexion
  • Stretches the plantar fascia and the Achilles tendon
  • More preferred due to its comfortability

Boot Night Splint

  • Designed to look like a boot and covers the back of the leg, calf, and the foot
  • Considered as the classic or traditional night splint for PF
  • Generally a larger version of the dorsal night splint
  • Usually has a plastic outer layer with a softer inner layer

With many companies offering this product, you could imagine that there are many other sub-types of PF night splints that are on the market today (like a custom-molded splint). These two general types should serve as a guide to you on what you think you would prefer and could most commit to using.

Different Things to Expect With a Night Splint

While we stress that each person’s experience with a PF night splint varies, here is a general idea on what to expect with a night splint before, during, and after you use it.

Before and While Wearing It

  • Feet numbing from the pressure from the straps
  • Your foot or feet would slip from the splint
  • Moderate-to-heavy sweating of the legs and feet
  • Mild difficulty when getting up in the middle of the night
  • Difficulty getting used to the splint
  • Uncomfortable to sleep with it on

After Wearing It

  • Mild difficulty when getting up from the bed
  • Gradual easing of pain from the PF
  • First step from waking up is less painful
  • A few seconds needed to “wake up” your toe

Who PF Night Splints Aren’t For

Of course, even if many people can attest to the effectiveness of PF night splints, this is definitely not everyone’s cup of tea. If you’re still on the fence about this particular home treatment and that you should stop looking for the best plantar fasciitis night splints in the market, here are some signs that you should skip night splints:

  • You’ve always been a light sleeper
  • You move a lot when you sleep
  • You have less passive dorsiflexion of the ankle joint
  • Your PF case is one with a lower medial longitudinal arch

Buying Your PF Night Splint

As most plantar fasciitis sufferers would see the noticeable effects from using night splints at around three months, it is important that you find a high-quality product that will stand the test of time and provide you with the best results.

Now, the great thing about commercial or ready-to-wear PF night splints is that they come in different sizes and colors, and the prices aren’t that bad. On Amazon, the top selling night splints are priced in the range of $20 to $40 apiece.

Some of the plantar fasciitis night splint brands to take note of are:

  • Ossur
  • Cramer
  • Flexibrace
  • AlphaBrace
  • Futuro
  • Orthotronix
  • Bird and Cronin
  • Alpha Medical
  • Active Ankle
  • Swede-O Deluxe
  • Thermoskin Relief

In terms of where to buy your night splint, it would greatly depend on your own shopping habits. It is advisable to visit an orthopedic store, but it is also perfectly fine to go to the famous and reputable e-commerce sites such as Amazon and eBay.

Top 5 Best Plantar Fasciitis Night Splints

To help you narrow down (or begin) your search for the best PF night splints that are out on the market today, here’s a list of five brands that are getting more favorable reviews online:

1. AlphaBrace Plantar Fasciitis Night Splint


Pros: Lightweight, soft foam interiors makes it breathable and it comes in various sizes.
Cons: Hard to use at first and very bulky.

2. Ossur Slip-Resistant Tread Plantar Fasciitis Night Splint

Pros: Its design especially focuses on the arch and heel areas of the foot; it’s easy to adjust, very secure, and comes in various sizes and colors.
Cons: Bulky, moderately uncomfortable due to its size and plastic exterior, hard to move around in.

3. Cramer Active Ankle Dns Dorsal Night Splint

Cramer Active Ankle Dns Dorsal Night Splint Small
Pros: Smaller than most, sturdy with its plastic covering, can easily be adjusted, very comfortable, and comes with a plastic velcro that will allow you to walk around even with it on.
Cons: Available in one size only.

4. Flexibrace Plantar Fasciitis Night Splint

FLEXIBRACE Plantar Fasciitis Night Splint
Pros: Lightweight, fairly comfortable, velcro straps allow up to a 10-degree dorsiflexion stretch at the ankle (adjustable); Lycra covering is cool to the skin and easy to wash, and comes with a free wedge to increase the angle and effectiveness when stretching.

Cons: Velcro straps are susceptible to wear and tear, bulky, can be hard to secure the clasps, and sizing chart isn’t 100% reliable for some.

5. Swede-O Deluxe Padded Plantar Fasciitis Night Splint

Swede-O Deluxe Padded Plantar Fasciitis Night Splint,
Pros: Soft padded cover makes it very comfortable, keeps foot at a 90-degree angle, and comes in various sizes.
Cons: Seller’s sizing chart is unreliable—many customers recommend a smaller size and the velcro tabs are wide and can be difficult to fasten. [/one_full][/columns]Note: Since a PF night splint is, at its very core, designed to alleviate morning heel pain, we decided not to include that in the list of pros for each product and the common (and expected) complaint of toes going numb after using it was also not included in the cons section.

Should I Buy This Night Splint?

As a responsible consumer, you should ask yourself a lot of questions before you buy something as crucial as a plantar fasciitis night splint. It can make or break the management of your PF. To help you with that, here are the top questions to ask yourself before you purchase any night splint:

  • Is this something my doctor recommended?
  • How many sizes are available?
  • Does the company offer a warranty?
  • Is the dorsiflexion angle adjustable with this product?

Don’t forget to add your own personal questions to this list to make it more comprehensive and improve the chances of you picking the best brand for your needs.

The Perfect Combination

One very important thing to note about plantar fasciitis night splints is that a lot of recent studies suggest that it would work best and much quicker if used with a complimentary treatment.

  • Wear the right shoes
  • Avoid standing for long periods
  • Lose or maintain your optimal weight
  • Avoid exercise on hard surfaces
  • Do not walk barefooted on hard surfaces
  • Avoid high-impact sports
  • Apply ice on your foot for at least 20 minutes, once a day

Though fairly common, there is no reason why you should let yourself suffer from the painful and uncomfortable effects of PF. Finding the best remedy that suits your case and your lifestyle is a top priority. A lot of people are in agreement that a plantar fasciitis night splint is one of the most effective ones to consider, but don’t let that discourage you from trying out the other remedies for plantar fasciitis.

Most importantly, make sure that you get the approval of your physician before trying anything to cure your plantar fasciitis – making your condition worse with non-recommended practices is the last thing you need.

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