Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common conditions involving the foot, leading to moderate-to-severe heel pain and influencing the level of activity of the person in question. Among the recommended methods of intervention, there are: manual therapy, orthotics and night splints. However, patients are advised to wear special shoes and socks as well.
Purchasing plantar fasciitis socks is just as difficult as finding the right shoes for your condition. In this article, we will present everything that you need to know regarding such purchases.
What is the purpose of plantar fasciitis socks?
Plantar fasciitis socks are designed to provide targeted compression, reducing both the inflammation and pain experienced by the sufferer. As they work on the problem area(s), they are able to provide immediate relief from the symptomatology, as well as the prevent the appearance of pain throughout the day.
These compression socks can help people who have to spend a lot of time standing, reducing the intensity of the experienced heel pain. There are special socks made for those who are physically active; these are made from quick-drying and odor resistant fabrics. It is important to understand and remember that fasciitis socks can be worn both day and night. Some are made to provide additional cushioning to the foot, for an added level of comfort and even more pain relief.
The main idea is that plantar fasciitis socks, in a similar manner to compression sleeves, will have an active effect on the fascia ligament (extra pressure). However, it is recommended that they are worn with special shoes and orthotic inserts, especially if one has to maintain the same position for a prolonged period of time (sitting or standing).
Benefits of plantar fasciitis socks
From what you have read so far, you have probably understood that one of the biggest benefits that such socks have to offer is pain relief. However, you should not expect the pain relief to be as palpable, as it is with shoes or orthotic inserts.
Plantar fasciitis socks are meant to provide a snug fit, keeping the foot in a stable position and preventing the plantar fascia from remaining in a shortened position. Because of all these, the person wearing plantar fasciitis socks will experience a reduction in the morning pain (first steps in particular).
As already mentioned, these socks are easy and quite convenient to use, being available for both daytime and nighttime wearing. By choosing a good pair of shoes, you might even be able to reduce the need for orthotic splints. These socks can be worn under your regular socks, allowing you to experience an increased level of comfort. However, in order to take advantage of all these benefits, it might be for the best to choose products that belong to quality brands, being able to offer the heel and arch support you actually need.
Desirable features in plantar fasciitis socks
The right pair of plantar fasciitis socks should provide you with the necessary support for the arch curvature, thus allowing the plantar fascia to remain stretched. It is always a good idea to seek out socks with compression zones, especially in the ankle area and also at the ball of the foot. These are areas often affected by plantar fasciitis and a snug fit can help improve the overall symptomatology. Moreover, these socks should be able to stimulate the blood circulation in the area, thus promoting a more efficient and faster healing process.
Plantar fasciitis socks are destined for both night and day usage, fitting under regular socks and being able to reduce the demand for night splints. In order to ensure all of these things, you need to purchase socks that can compress and keep the plantar fascia in a stable position. You can even think about these socks as sleeping aids; as they will reduce the intensity and frequency of the pain, you will wake up more rested in the morning. Moreover, the morning pain is going to be kept down to a minimum.
Active people can benefit from plantar fasciitis socks as well. The socks that are reserved for an active lifestyle, as already mentioned, are made from fabrics that dry out quickly, with a lot of support in the midsole area. They can also stimulate the blood circulation in problem areas and impress with a sleek design.
How can you tell when a pair of plantar fasciitis socks is not good for you?
Well, the first thing you have to be on the lookout for is the amount of arch support they offer. If you feel it is not enough, this means that pair of socks will not be able to alleviate the pain caused by plantar fasciitis. On the other hand, you should avoid socks that are too tight, as they can actually contribute to the heel pain, rather than reduce it. Extreme tightness can cut off your blood circulation and cause additional problems, such as numbness. At the opposite side, avoid socks that offer too light compression, as these are not going to help with the symptoms either. Watch out for the fabric from which these socks are made, as they can get too warm and even cause irritations.
Knee-high socks, an excellent choice for plantar fasciitis symptoms
Recognizing the need for specialized socks, manufacturers have released on the market a knee-high sock, which resembles, in many ways, a night splint. The main purpose of this sock is to maintain the proper dorsiflexion of the ankle during sleep, thus alleviating the morning pain. Being made from more comfortable fabrics and allowing the foot to remain in a stable, yet flexible position, these socks are often chosen in favor of night splints.
These socks are appreciated by those who suffer from plantar fasciitis, as they permit the toes to move freely and maintain the plantar fascia in a stretched position. They are easy to use anywhere and anytime, even on travels. The interesting feature of these socks is the strap; this begins at the level of the toes and goes as far as the kneecap. By tightening this strap in a gentle manner, you will maintain the ankle in a dorsiflexed position (similar benefits to the ones offered by the night splints). However, it is recommended to avoid tightening the strap excessively; the excess tension will do more harm than good to your plantar fascia.
Why is maintaining the ankle in a dorsiflexed position so important? According to an article published online, on the US National Library of Medicine website, one of the major risk factors involved in the appearance of plantar fasciitis is decreased or limited ankle dorsiflexion. As for the other risk factors, these include flat feet, high BMI (obesity) and weight-bearing activities.
Plantar fasciitis remains one of the most common conditions that can lead to disability, the degeneration of the plantar fascia affecting the surrounding structures and leading to heel pain. The symptoms become more visible when the person takes the first steps of the day but also with maintaining sitting or standing positions for prolonged periods of time. Recognizing the decreased dorsiflexion in a person who suffers from such problems is essential, as the early diagnosis will reduce the negative impact on the general health and guarantee a favorable prognosis.
In an article published on LER Magazine’s website, the reduced ankle dorsiflexion in patients who suffer from plantar fasciitis is presented as part of a vicious circle. As mentioned in the other article, plantar fasciitis patients will present reduced motion in the ankle and also a decreased extension at the level of the big toe. These will cause the calf muscles to shorten, thus limiting the ankle dorsiflexion even more.
As the ankle joint reduces its range of motion, compensatory movements are going to appear, such as over-pronation. In time, this will lead to even more severe fascial inflammation, thus completing the vicious cycle. Plantar fasciitis socks, among other products, can contribute to maintaining the ankle in a dorsiflexed position and decrease the pressure on the inflamed fascia (improved symptomatology).
Padded socks, for an added level of comfort
Padded socks are ingenious, being able to reduce both the pain and pressure experienced by patients with plantar fasciitis. They can protect the heel, eliminating the pain that comes with maintaining a position for a prolonged period of time. At the same time, they present an increased level of comfort, being suitable for orthotic inserts (further arch support).
One of the main reasons for which people visit the doctor is the intense heel pain. According to an article published online, in the Journal of Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy, 2 million people per year are diagnosed with this condition. Heel pain is one of the reasons that brings them to the doctor, as well as the changes in the overall functioning.
Plantar fasciitis accounts for 15% of all adult foot complaints, so it is important to find therapies and conservative solutions to improve the overall symptomatology. Ankle dorsiflexion remains one of the most important risk factors to consider and plantar fasciitis socks can help maintain the ankle in a correct position, reducing both the experienced pain and inflammation.
Amy is a foot massage therapist that has worked with doctors specializing in podiatry while helping numerous clients through various foot conditions. She has reviewed 100s of related foot health products for plantar fasciitis, toenail fungus and more.