People who suffer from Plantar-Fasciitis – whether they are athletes, active people or are struggling with obesity – have the hardest time is in the morning. You wake up and step out of bed, having forgotten your condition and the pain hits you with a crunch.
You curse the fact that you’ve neglected your feet – something most of us tend to do until injury strikes unexpectedly. And sometimes, PF comes with no discernible cause . The one thing you want most is relief from the pain during the weeks that PF takes to heal, so that you can at least go about your day without feeling handicapped.
That’s where socks for plantar fasciitis can come in to your aid. Of course, your physician will have recommended a certain type of walking shoe to ease the pain when you walk and keep you mobile. But specially designed socks for the purpose are an added advantage in your arsenal of the very few weapons against this ailment.
Why Do You Need Socks For PF?
According to the John Hopkins Center for Orthopedic Surgery , proper rest and right shoes with cushioned soles can ease your pain through the healing weeks. Plantar-fasciitis socks, of which there are many kinds, can also make your feet feel better.
They work in the same way night splints do, by maintaining a constant stretch across the soles of the feet while you sleep, so that the thick fascia muscle under your foot becomes less rigid and painful, and mornings are easier with more manageable pain.
These socks are typically designed to offer compression across the foot, arch and ankle or they come with padding at the points of impact. They are usually made of cotton and nylon, with varying degrees of compression depending on the type and model. Compression has been used by athletes to prevent injuries, and people have often wondered whether the socks can work just as well for calf cramps, shin splints or PF. The answer is “yes”, with some conditions.
What are the advantages of socks for PF?
Compression is known to help with inflammation and the swelling it causes. It also provides some additional support in the injured area. Traditional homemade splints, trainers tape, elastic bandages etc. have all been used to do this, but the socks are a cleaner, more comfortable option. In order to understand how they work, it helps to understand how the body’s circulatory system works.
Compression sleeves and socks help by offering graduated compression – the socks are tighter at the ankle and foot and looser up the calf. This type of socks therefore fights the effect of gravity and helps with the correct flow of oxygenated blood to and deoxygenated blood away from the muscles. They also help with offering support against the little muscle vibrations that can lead to muscle fatigue.
While night splints are an option for when you’re sleeping, these socks can be a more comfortable substitute to be worn throughout the day. You can wear them under your regular socks, along with your prescribed shoes. In addition, they give you just the right amount of compression – too much can stop blood flow.
However, they are not enough to treat PF on their own, without other stretching, massaging, rest and proper footwear as recommended by your physician.
Top Plantar Fasciitis Socks Models
PF socks come in many forms. They may come in the form of a sleeve around the ankle and heel area, a simple arch support, ankle length compression or padded socks or calf-to-knee length stockings. OrthoSleeve, Thorlo, Strassburg, SugarFree Sox are some of the more popular brands that offer PF socks. Let’s have a look at some of the best ones in the market.
The Strassburg Sock
This is not really a regular wear sock, since it really works like a splint to be worn at night. But the Strassburg is an excellent and far more comfortable alternative to heavy and hard braces, which is why it made this list. It gives you more movement in the ankle joint than regular braces do. The company claims that it strengthens the arch of the foot over time, which is not confirmed. However, the response of users of the Strassburg sock has been overwhelmingly positive.
It’s important to wear them the right way –they come with adjustable calf straps and toe straps to adjust the tension on your foot. You can easily walk to the bathroom in the middle of the night without having to remove your splints if you have the right angle between the toes and calves. It’s been much praised by chronic sufferers of PF, and it’s inexpensive at less than $50 on Amazon.
OrthoSleeve FS6 Plantar Fasciitis Sleeve
For regular wear under your socks while you’re mobile (and comfort through the night) the FS6 by OrthoSleeve is a highly rated pair starting at under $20. It’s made of a combination of spandex and micronylon, and is available in a few colors. Most people who have mild to moderate PF and other foot injuries have found relief with regular use of the sleeves. Note that some people have had trouble finding the right size. It’s useful to know that the ankle sleeves are sized by the circumference of your foot at the arc. It’s important to get the right size to avoid disappointment.
Thorlo Padded Socks
Many doctors recommend proper arch, heel and ball support when you have chronic PF. Thorlo offers padded socks with padding at the heel to ease the pain that walking or standing can cause to sufferers. You can use this pair of socks with arch inserts in your shoe. Users have found the socks breathable and comfortable, and easy to walk in. Thorlo is known for ergonomic athletic socks, and this one is no disappointment.
SugarFree Sox Compression Stockings
These attractive calf length stockings are great for women who want to remain mobile while they treat their PF. It comes for less than $20, offers graduated compression and keeps the toe separate from the compression so it’s easier to move in them. The stockings may come up to mid-calf level for some women, but they have been acknowledged as being easy to wear and offering good compression.
Vitalsox Tennis Classic Drystat Compression Crew Socks
This pair by Vitalsox is designed for active people, with compression and a special fiber Silver Drystat’ that makes the socks breathable and free of microbes.
This means the socks will remain dry for longer, prevent blisters, and offer good support. It may not offer enough compression for people with chronic or severe PF, however.
There are many other PF socks with arch support, athletic support socks and sleeves that you can buy off Amazon. The ones listed above are the best of their kind, based on reviewer ratings and customer experiences.
Make an informed decision when treating your own PF and you’ll have to make fewer trial and errors.