Plantar Fasciitis Brace

Does a Plantar Fasciitis Brace Help?

Due to the wide variety of home treatment options available, many patients will attend the podiatry clinic seeking confirmation as to whether or not a home treatment such as a plantar fasciitis brace will help?

A plantar fasciitis brace is normally used while sleeping at night in an attempt to keep the foot in a dorsi flexed position. The theory behind this treatment is not scientifically or clinically proven, however on occasions patients will report a small improvement in the symptoms that they feel when placing their foot on the ground first thing in the morning. Unfortunately, some patients are unable to sleep with a brace as they find it too uncomfortable and they are forced to remove it in the middle of the night. The plantar fasciitis brace does not support the foot throughout the day and therefore can be very limiting in its effectiveness. Commonly, due to the small improvement in symptoms that the patient experiences first thing in the morning, they feel encouraged to continue the use of the plantar fasciitis brace. Throughout the day, without the plantar fascia being supported when weight-bearing, the irritation on the heel persists and the condition remains unresolved.

Plantar fasciitis is one of those chronic foot conditions that causes a sharp stabbing pain under the base of the heel and through the medial arch of the foot. The sole of the foot can burn and feel extremely hot and tender when weight-bearing. The pain with plantar fasciitis can also be present when non-weight-bearing. The pain first thing in the morning or after being seated is extremely common. Many patients do not realise that the condition can be fairly complex and sometimes involves micro tears or superficial bursitis. A plantar fasciitis brace therefore is highly unlikely to be effective when the condition is complicated with such possibilities. Hence, self treatments usually fail before the patient decides to explore professional help.

Strassburg Sock – A Form of Plantar Fasciitis Brace

There are several types of plantar fasciitis brace available online and a common one is the traditional Strassburg sock. This particular style of brace will dorsi flex the ankle but also pull back on the toes. Pulling back on the toes leads to a stretching sensation through the sole of the foot. Traditional medicine would encourage this stretching in the sole of the foot, however more modern science understands that this increased pulling can cause irritation as the fascia tugs on the heel. The pulling sensation through the sole of the foot is usually the thing that leads to the patient removing the plantar fasciitis brace in the middle of the night due to pain and discomfort.

One again, the morning pain may ease slightly but the condition can persist due to the lack of supportive intervention throughout the day.

Strassburg Sock - plantar fasciitis brace

Above – Strassburg sock

Shoes Become the Plantar Fasciitis Brace

The stiffer the shank inside the shoe, the more it mimics a Plantar Fasciitis brace. The important point here is the supportive intervention. Far too often the patient uses shoes that are too soft and way too flexible. Yes, while these shoes feel good in the short term, and while the cushioning takes the edge off the pain, the discomfort will continue long-term as the foot is not supported through its entirety. As opposed to when using a plantar fasciitis brace, the foot will still splay and there is potential for rolling which irritates the Plantar Fascia attachment at the heel and through the arch of the foot.

In summary, the use of a plantar fasciitis brace is fine if you want to reduce the morning pain and if you can tolerate it throughout the night. However, research has not proven these braces to be a reliable form of treatment.
If you are struggling with plantar fasciitis and you are considering using a plantar fasciitis brace you may wish to consult with a podiatrist first. Sydney Heel Pain Clinics can be reached on 93883322 /help@sydneyheelpain.com.au.

Podiatrist – Rami Ghorra

Sydney Heel Pain Clinics