Plantar fasciitis is an inflammatory disease which affects the plantar fascia of the foot. This part of the foot is a thick pad of tissue which sits underneath the heel bone, extending towards the toes. This condition can cause extreme heel pain, particularly upon rising after rest or sleep. Common causes of plantar fasciitis include work which involves long periods of standing or weight-bearing, excess body weight, and fallen arches. People with this foot pain sometimes benefit from the use of a plantar fasciitis sock, a device which helps stretch the Achilles tendon and ease stress on the plantar fascia.
The plantar fascia provides the foot with padding which cushions the heel bone. This part of the foot is under considerable physical stress during walking and running, as it is the heel and the Achilles tendon which bear the weight when a foot pushes off from the ground. Because the Achilles tendon shares this function with the plantar fascia, stretching the tendon can help reduce the heel pain associated with the condition.
Many types of plantar fasciitis treatment involve the use of orthotic devices that reduce the pressure on the plantar fascia, allowing the foot to heal. These devices include special insoles and shoes which support the arch of the foot. At night, orthotic splints and similar devices are used to keep the foot flexed while asleep.
One effective way to help stretch the tendon and relieve pain is with the use of a plantar fasciitis sock. The sock fits over the foot and extends to the calf, and helps support the arch of the foot. At the toe of the sock is a long, stretchy strap, which can be attached to a ring fitted at the calf end of the sock. By threading the strap through the ring and tying it firmly, the foot is held securely at a ninety degree angle to the calf. In this way, the plantar fasciitis sock also helps to stretch the calf muscle and Achilles tendon.
The main benefit of the plantar fasciitis sock is that if the sock is worn overnight, the foot is held in a flexed position. This helps to reduce the foot pain that is felt upon waking. In addition, when the sock is used regularly over several months, it improves the flexibility of the calf muscle, reducing the severity of the condition overall.
Orthotic devices such as the plantar fasciitis sock are not suitable for use by anything with this heel condition. People with diabetes or another disease which affects the circulatory system, women who are pregnant, and people with certain other foot problems, may risk health complications if they use the sock. These groups of people should consult with a doctor before using an orthotic sock for plantar fasciitis.