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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

16 Models Considered
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120 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Shopping guide for best plantar fasciitis night splints

Last Updated April 2019

A pebble-like feeling in your heel and an excruciatingly painful first morning step can both be signs of a common foot ailment: plantar fasciitis. The plantar fascia is a ligament that extends from the heel to the toes. When it gets inflamed because of micro tears in the tissue, it can cause pain and limit mobility and activity.

Plantar fasciitis night splints are used to treat this condition by keeping the foot, ankle, and calf muscles flexed to prevent the shortening of the plantar fascia during the night. If the ligament can stay stretched, it helps prevent further tears or strain and aids in the healing process.

If you're ready for some morning pain relief, take a look at our shopping guide. We've sifted through the research to bring you information about the types, sizes, and comfort features you’ll want. Make sure to browse through our top five picks for the splints that meet our standards for effectiveness and comfort.

Women, runners, people who are overweight or sedentary, and those who spend a lot of time on their feet are at greater risk of developing plantar fasciitis. Other factors can include wearing inflexible or worn-out shoes, incorrect running form, inflexibility of the calf and ankle muscles, and a sudden increase in running speed or distance.

Key considerations

Type

There are two basic types of plantar fasciitis night splints. One isn't necessarily more effective than the other, but there are certain circumstances under which one design may be more comfortable for you. While neither style is perfect, both have been shown to help reduce plantar fasciitis pain and are included in overall treatment plans.

  • Dorsal: A dorsal splint features a splint piece made of either hard plastic or a firm material like aluminum covered in neoprene that fits over the shin and across the top of the foot. The splint attaches by a strap at the ankle and another at the ball of the foot, which keeps the foot flexed between 90° and 135° while leaving the heel and arch exposed. A variation on this design has a sock with a tie at the toe that attaches to the ankle, flexing the toes upward.
    Dorsal splints are less bulky and easier to walk in than boot designs. However, because of their design they can sometimes slip, which defeats the purpose of the splint. Some models also put too much pressure on the toes, leading to tingling and/or poor circulation.

  • Boot: Boot splints have a hard plastic piece or spine that fits on the back of the leg and under the foot to hold your foot at a 90° angle. The splint is attached with a set of two or three straps to hold the foot in place. While these splints offer more padding than dorsal splints, they can be big and bulky. The pressure necessary to hold the foot at a 90° angle can cause numbness in the toes. Some boot splints have a nonslip material on part of the sole to provide traction if you have to get up in the night.
     

Size

Some night splints come in several unisex sizes, while others are one size fits all. In general, the better the fit, the more effective the splint. Slipping, discomfort, tingling, and numbness may result from a splint that that is too large or small. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions for measuring and sizing information. Your foot should fit in the splint without slipping at the heel or toe, though some room for movement should be expected.

Larger straps trap heat against the splint and often lead to sweating. Narrow straps with adequate padding allow the foot to breathe.

Staff
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Plantar fasciitis night splint features

Adjustable tension: Adjustable night splints enable you to increase or decrease tension according to your flexibility and comfort level. With time, the brace can also help stretch a tight Achilles tendon at the same time as the plantar fascia, which can further alleviate pain.

Padding: Padding has to strike a fine balance between comfort and breathability. Some designs have a padded strap and others use a pad as a strap. Pads used as straps can be more comfortable, but they don’t fit as snugly and may be warmer to wear. All straps, even small, thin ones, should be adequately padded to prevent chafing and discomfort.

Breathability: Sweaty feet do not make for comfortable sleep. For that reason, splint designs that leave as much of the foot open to the air as possible tend to be the most breathable even though they're not as snug. If you choose a boot splint, which usually covers more of the foot, look for one with cutouts that increase ventilation.

Strap design and location: The strap design and location is more important on a dorsal splint than on a boot splint. The toe strap of a dorsal splint needs to reach far enough over the ball of the foot to prevent slippage. Strap placement also depends on correct sizing. If you have the right size, you're less likely to have a strap in the wrong place. Read through the size chart and measurement instructions carefully to make sure you get the right size.

Mobility: If you use the bathroom frequently during the night, you'll need a splint that can handle the weight and stress of walking. Dorsal splints are easier to walk in because they leave the heel and arch exposed. Boot splits are more problematic, but they typically have a small amount of nonslip material on the sole to prevent falls.

Comfort: A combination of design, size, and tension adjustment will be your ticket to finding the right splint. Comfort is largely based on your personal preference, but you're more likely to wear a splint that feels light and secure. Keep in mind that it takes a few days to become accustomed to some night splints before they feel comfortable.

DID YOU KNOW?

Night splints can – and in many cases should – be used in conjunction with arch supports intended to treat plantar fasciitis, too.

DID YOU KNOW?

In the early stages of plantar fasciitis, you don't necessarily feel pain. Instead, your heel will feel as though there's a rock or thickness underneath it even though there isn't. Without treatment, that feeling soon leads to pain that increases with time.

Plantar fasciitis night splint prices

Inexpensive: Small dorsal splints and a few boot splints come in at under $20. The dorsal splints in this price range may have a plastic brace in front or rely on an aluminum strip encased in neoprene to act as a brace over the front of the foot and ankle. The boot splints at this price range may not have as much padding on the strap as more expensive models.

Mid-range: Both boot and dorsal splints in the $20 and $50 range have improved padding on the splint and straps. At this price, more models have adjustable tension and may come as part of a package that includes a wedge for tension adjustments and/or foot massage ball.

Expensive: At the high end of the price range, between $50 and $100, are both boot and dorsal splints with good overall padding, size options, and tension adjustment. Some use straps for tension adjustment while others include a foam wedge that fits under the toe padding for that purpose.

Tips

  • Make sure the splint fits correctly. The fit of the splint can influence its effectiveness. For example, some splints, even in the smallest size, don’t work for people with a foot that’s smaller than a women’s size six or seven. Others are specifically designed for smaller, narrower feet.

  • Try a sock-style dorsal splint. These are less bulky than either a regular dorsal or boot splint. They do pull up on the toes, which some people find uncomfortable, but if you’re looking for a splint that’s less intrusive, one of these models might be right for you.

  • Be patient. It can take several weeks or months for the full benefit of a night splint to take effect. But with consistency, it can help increase the range of motion while reducing tenderness and pain by stretching the plantar fascia.

Other products we considered

All of our picks happen to be boot splints. However, boot splints don’t work for everyone, and there were a few dorsal splints in the running. The Cramer Dorsal Night Splint has a unique design wherein the plastic piece extends from the top of the foot to around and under the ball of the foot. Three straps provide good tension control, yet the heel and arch remain exposed for easier – though awkward – nighttime walking. Another dorsal model we like is the Everyday Medical Plantar Fasciitis Night Splint. This splint has an adjustable aluminum bar across the front of the ankle and foot that can hold anywhere from a 90° to 135° angle. The design makes it one of the smallest and least bulky splints on the market.

Night splints are only one aspect of treating plantar fasciitis. A regimen of appropriate stretches and exercises to strengthen the foot should also be used in conjunction with the splint for a more effective treatment.

FAQ

Q. Do night splints make it difficult to sleep? Are they painful?

A. Once you get used to the splint, it generally won't disrupt your sleep. However, some designs are bulky and heavy (they’ve been compared to a snow boot), not to mention the fact that it’s a large piece of plastic in your bed that could bump your partner or other foot. You may experience numbness or tingling in the first few days. While that's not unexpected at first, it should disappear within a few days. Long-term tingling and numbness could mean you need a different splint.

Q. Does a night splint need to be removed before I can walk around?

A. Most dorsal splints leave enough heel exposed to allow you to walk to the bathroom and back to your bed without too much trouble. Boot splints can be more difficult. However, most have at least some tread on the bottom so you won't slip as you make your way to the bathroom. If you're wearing boot splints on both feet, take them off before walking.

Q. Once my plantar fasciitis feels better, do I need to continue wearing the splint?

A. Night splints help stretch the plantar fascia. As the pain disappears and the ligament stretches, you don't need to wear the splint unless the pain returns, which may happen.

The team that worked on this review
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Katie
    Katie
    Editorial Director
  • Kyle
    Kyle
    Writer
  • Stacey
    Stacey
    Writer

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