Strassburg Sock Review: It Helped My Plantar Fasciitis, With One Caveat
This is a review of the Strassburg Sock. I've used it now for a week and a half, and I am ready to offer up my first impressions.
- The good news: The sock, which professes to be a patented therapeutic device designed to help heal plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis, and other related foot conditions, has made a big difference in my life. I've been experiencing a recurrence of plantar fasciitis after having controlled it successfully for many years. It was getting worse every day, making being on my feet intensely painful. Since wearing the sock, I'm seeing major improvements. I love it and am so grateful I went ahead and tried it.
- The bad news: I had to modify the sock to get it to work for me.
Update: January 5, 2017. It has now been several years since I originally wrote this review. The Strassburg Sock turned out to be the big game changer for me and has helped me heal up and stay that way (knock on wood). If the plantar fasciitis every returns, I'd use this sock again—this time as an early treatment rather than as a last resort.
Strassburg Sock Problematic for Petite, Plus-Size Woman
I am petite (about 5'1") and have a plus-sized calf. I bought the rather than some other night splint or brace made for plantar fasciitis because this one seemed the most accommodating for a large calf size, and reviews indicated it was comfortable. JT Enterprises Strassburg Sock
I learned that the sock was not really designed for a person my size. The plus-size calf wasn't a problem - the larger sock was plenty large enough to fit around my leg.
No, the problem was my being petite. I'm 5'1". The Strassburg Sock isn't really designed for short people, as far as I can tell.
From reading the instructions, it was obvious the manufacturer tried to take height into account, hoping one size would work for everyone. The instructions directed me to fold the sock's rim over to rest on mid-calf if the sock came up too high on the leg. I did this, and it helped. But I could not get good tension on the front strap that pulls the toes up, because the angle at which my toes were pulled didn't effectively lift the front of the foot. Something about the ergonomics just wasn't right.
The Formula: One Strassburg Sock Plus One Semi-Rigid Footbed
That's when the inspiration came. My husband, a carpenter, said, "Why don't you put a board in there?"
I scoffed, thinking how much the pressure of the board would hurt my injured heel (which would sometimes hurt when touched only lightly). But then I thought about some spare I had lying around. (Any of you who have read my other plantar fasciitis articles will know that I love these semi-rigid footbeds and use them in my athletic shoes to provide better arch support for plantar fasciitis. The spare insert I used is the slim leather-coated model made by Sole designed for dress shoes, but any type would probably have worked.) Sole Custom Footbeds
I shoved one footbed into the sock so it was positioned just as it would be in a shoe, then fastened the straps as instructed. It felt comfortable and, as hoped, provided more leverage to lift the front of the foot up.
Now, worn this way the sock doesn't yank the forefoot way up - in fact, my foot is not even completely perpendicular to the leg (which it is in a standing position). The angle is far less dramatic. But, amazingly, it's braced enough to be effective for me.
Signs That the Strassburg Sock Would Help Me
I had a clue that some form of night brace or splint would help me even before I got the sock. Knowing that the point of the splint is to keep the foot's plantar fascia from healing up in a contracted state, I tried, through sheer will and diligence, to keep my foot in a neutral position - that is, with neither the toes pointed. Just this small effort helped me somewhat.
It wasn't enough, though. I couldn't control how far I lifted the toes. I had trouble remembering to hold my foot in position. And of course I could not brace anything when I was asleep. But it was a heads-up that my problem was a classic "reinjury" problem of plantar fasciitis - just as it starts to heel, you step on it in its foreshortened state and injure it all over again.
If I have any advice to anyone else considering wearing a brace, it's to do this before you invest:
Try to consciously hold your foot in a neutral position while at rest and see if your first steps upon rising are any easier. If so, that may be a sign that the sock can help you. (Of course, I'm not a health professional, so don't take this as medical advice, yada yada yada.)
Dramatic Difference and Steady Improvement
The sock felt fine with my insert mod. I did worry that I couldn't wear it for a full night - I'd go for a couple of hours, then kick it off because I fastened the calf band too tightly or latched the toe strap with too much tension.
So I was afraid the device would be less effective because I wasn't wearing it all night but only sporadically. That doesn't seem to be the case at all - it's made a huge difference to my heel pain, and now I'm optimistic I'm going to recover, after months of the plantar fasciitis getting so bad I could only hobble.
I can walk now without it's hurting excruciatingly, and each day I'm healing up more. And that's even when I'm on my feet a lot. Before, any time spent on my feet was hurting my feet agonizingly and making the plantar fasciitis worse.
So what had I done previously? I'd tried all the usual tried-and-true treatments - icing, stretching, strengthening exercises, tape - I even tried some New Balance shoes, since they seem to be so popular with plantar fasciitis sufferers. My husband was able to find an evilly tight spot on my calf I've had for years and release it - ouch! Even after all that, I was showing negligible improvement.
After just a couple of days using the sock, I started thinking it was working. I am now certain of it. Now I can do what I need to do in the way of chores and stand casually on my feet talking to somebody without edging desperately for a chair.
How am I using it? As I said, I wear the brace sporadically. But I use it strategically, too. I put it on whenever I'm sprawled in bed during the day and when I'm sleeping - on and off. Once I have the two sets of velcro straps positioned at their optimal length, if I'm careful I can keep them attached when I take the sock off and then just slip the sock back on without having to re-fasten the straps.
The key thing is to make sure I'm wearing the Strassburg Sock for at least 15 minutes just before I'll need to rise.
Review: Thumbs Definitely Up
So for me, the Strassburg Sock is working to help my plantar fasciitis. It's helping me when I didn't have much hope otherwise. When I think now about how reluctant I was to try it, I wince.
I was also pleased to find that although it looks in the pictures like a thin sock, the fabric doesn't feel thin or easily torn. The fabric does pill, so if you're concerned about aesthetics...there you go. It's also well sewn and sturdy. It is washable, though I haven't washed it yet.
I do hope the manufacturer begins to make these a therapeutic sock model for short people like me, and not just in the small size, but in the large size, as well. So many people seem to think that petite means built like a child! I really appreciated the larger sock and just wish it had been designed for someone my height. But then again, maybe I'd never have made the modification, and maybe it wouldn't have been as effective without the hard insole, anyway?
As final note, I cannot say how well this sock might work for people with Achilles tendinitis or other foot conditions. I can speak only in terms of my own experience with plantar fasciitis.