The type of night splint depends on your the condition you're treating and your comfort level. The larger, more rigid night splint may hold the ankle is a better position during the night, but some find them more difficult to sleep in. The soft night splints tend to be more comfortable, but some individuals find them restricting and/or tight around the calves.
Strassburg Sock: The Strassburg Sock has been studied and shown to be effective for the treatment of plantar fasciitis. The Strassburg Sock can also be used for Achilles Tendonitis and general calf stretching. The Strassburg Sock is very easy to use and specifically stretches the plantar fascia during the night. The sock is washable and tends to be very comfortable for most individuals. Although the sock does not provide much compression and fits like a knee high sock, it can be constricting for those with very large calves or those who are uncomfortable with even mild compression around their legs. Individuals who are prone to ingrown toenails at their great toe may exacerbate this condition wearing the Strassburg Sock.
Thermoskin Plantar FXT: The Thermoskin night splint wraps around the ankle and foot and pulls the toes to stretch the plantar fascia at night. Since it does not extend to the knee, it does not provide an adequate stretch of the calves and is recommended only for treatment of plantar fasciitis. The Thermoskin FXT works well in individuals who have large calves and have difficulty fitting a rigid night splint or a Strassburg Sock around their calves. The Thermoskin also works well for those who find knee high socks constricting or think they would have difficulty sleeping in a sock or device which extends around their leg. Although the Thermoskin FXT does stretch the plantar fascia during the night to accelerate healing, it does not have the dual effect of stretching both the calf and the plantar fascia, which means it is not as effective as the Strassburg Sock or a more rigid night splint.
Langer Comfort Night Splint: The Comfort Night Splint is a rigid night splint recommended for the treatment of plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis and general calf stretching. Rigid night splints tend to be recommended by doctors and studies have shown them to be an effective treatment for plantar fasciitis. Unfortunately, many individuals find them bulky and uncomfortable and have difficulty sleeping because of the splint. Another problem is the heel elevating in the splint during the night, decreasing the effective of the stretch on the calf and fascia. The Langer Comfort Night Splint has considerable padding throughout the splint to enhance comfort. Placing a small pillow under the knee may help decrease discomfort when sleeping.
For a detailed discussion on how night splints work and the differences between the night splints, see our blog post on Night Splints for Heel Pain.
last updated 7/21/10
Disclamer: The advice on this website is not intended to substitute for a visit to your health care provider. We will not be held liable for any diagnosis made or treatment recommended. Consult your doctor is you feel you have a medical problem.