Plantar Fasciitis is an orthopedic condition that is commonly characterized by recurring heel pain. While it still doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all solution, many people are starting to see the benefits of using compression socks to manage the pain.
But do plantar fasciitis compression socks really work? Are they really worth a try?
Understanding Plantar Fasciitis
More than just a simple strain in the feet, Plantar Fasciitis can be more accurately described as a persistent ache on the bottom of the foot due to the inflammation of the plantar fascia– the tissue that serves as the foot’s shock absorber which extends from the heels, all the way to the toes.
Age, feet architecture and weight can all play a role in the development of Plantar Fasciitis. However, feet activity is also a significant causal contributor as the condition is also common among runners and people with occupations that involves standing or walking for long hours.
Pregnant women, particularly those who have undergone rapid weight gain, are also found to be commonly at risk of Plantar Fasciitis. This is usually due to the sudden stress inflicted by added weight on the feet which can lead to injuries in the plantar fascia.
Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis
The pain in Plantar Fasciitis usually occurs after long hours of activity or inactivity. It usually happens after waking up in the morning or after exercise. It is often characterized by sharp pains on the heels or on the middle of the foot.
Depending on the severity of the condition, pain may be experienced by one foot or both feet. It can also start as a small inconvenience in the beginning, but if continuously ignored, the injury in the plantar fascia can become severe and might even require surgery.
Common ways to manage Plantar Fasciitis
Medical diagnosis for Plantar Fasciitis often involves going through your medical history, and in some cases, may require a few tests and x-ray. Depending on the extent of the pain, common non-surgical methods advised for people with the condition are icing, compressing and stretching the area. In some cases, taking anti-inflammatories like Advil may also be needed to ease the pain.
These non-surgical methods may be done for several months. It may also include using equipment and apparel that can help in securing the arch of the foot and provide support in the area. Most common equipment used for Plantar Fasciitis are insoles, night splints and/or using specific running shoes that can help treat the condition. Nowadays, compression socks are also becoming popular footwear for pain management.
Do compression socks really help in managing Plantar Fasciitis?
Yes and no. Compression socks provide the support for the arches of the feet to help increase blood circulation and stretch the plantar fascia. However, it does not provide the same extent of benefits that a pair of shoes for plantar fasciitis can provide.
Compression socks are often compared to compression sleeves although both have considerably similar effects to the feet. They are designed to give the area a gentle but firm hug, creating a supportive layer to the muscles.
Advantages and disadvantages of compression socks
Just like other methods for managing and treating Plantar Fasciitis, using compression socks also has its fair share of reported advantages and disadvantages. Here are a few points you need to consider before buying your own pair:
- Feet support- As mentioned earlier, compression socks provide support on different parts of the feet such as those just above and below the heels. It gives minor reinforcement to the arch of the foot to promote healing.
- Increased blood flow- The firm compression that the socks give promotes proper blood flow to the feet to help in minimizing pain and also promote healing.
- Wearability- Unlike other methods such as icing and wearing shoes for plantar fasciitis, wearing compression socks are way less hassle and can be just as effective, especially when used with the right insoles. You can also use them for actual exercises, such as running or even brisk walking.
- Fitting- One of the most controversial aspect of using compression socks, choosing the right size for your socks are important to get just enough compression and comfort. It’s also recommended to be meticulous when choosing which brand to buy your socks from. Make sure to read reviews and specifications before making your purchase.
Should you wear compression socks?
Depending on the severity of the injury of your fascia, using compression socks may be helpful especially if you’re looking for a wearable apparel to help ease minor symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis. You can even use it along with other pain management methods, such as after icing or use it with your shoes!
It can also be a convenient clothing to wear especially if you’re an athlete, or simply lead an active lifestyle where you’re prone to experiencing random sharp pains on your feet throughout your day. This can help minimize the impact of the pain, and allow you to function better.
Having a pair of plantar fasciitis compression socks could be the convenient solution to all your heel pain complaints. It may not be a one-size-fits-all solution to the problem, but it’s one that more and more people are swearing by and should therefore be considered when scouring for answers to get pain relief from plantar fasciitis.
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