Monday, June 18, 2012

The Wailin' Bitch Trials - The Strassburg Sock

Today, I begin a series of posts on the various treatment options I have tried to cure my plantar fasciitis.  This injury has been so annoyingly persistent, that I have "lovingly" called it "The Bitch."  (starting back with my first post entlted "The Plantar Fascia: That Fickle Bitch," and continued a couples weeks ago with "The Bitch is Back").  So, in keeping with that theme, I bring you the "Wailin' Bitch Trials" (get it?  It almost sounds like "Salem Witch Trials"... and PF is painful, so you wail in pain... shut up, I thought it was clever).

For any treatment where I tried a specific product, I will write up a review of the product.  The first product I ever tried to treat PF was the "Strassburg Sock," which is this weird looking contraption:
It feels just as weird, too
I mentioned Strassburg back in "That Fickle Bitch."  The purpose of the Sock is to keep your foot flexed while you sleep at night because both the plantar fascia and the calf (which pulls on the plantar fascia indirectly when it is tight) tighten up when you sleep.  I think it is also supposed to increase blood flow to the plantar fascia while you sleep to help heal it.

For me, the Strassburg sock sort of worked.  If I was able to keep it on all night, then my PF did not hurt as much in the morning.  IF I was able to keep it on all night.  The problem for me is that the Strassburg sock was pretty uncomfortable and there were very few nights when I was able to keep it on all night.  Here's why (these are mostly personal reasons that may not apply to everyone):
  1. It was hard to get the part that pulled on your toes to pull evenly, and it usually felt like it was pulling my big toe more than any other.  If this was intentional, then it did a good job... but for me it just felt really weird.
  2. The seam at the very tip of the sock would rub against the tips of my toes, and eventually I would get a weird feeling of a thin blister forming on the tips of all of my toes.
  3. As you know from high school physics, every action has an equal and opposite reaction.  Well, the force that is pulling up on your toes is also pulling down on the top of the sock.  To keep the sock from falling down in the night, you have to cinch the top of the sock very tight around the top of your calf.  For me, it always felt like the sock was either sliding off or cutting off circulation to my foot.
  4. The little "D ring" where the strap connects to the top of the sock would continually spin around so that the "D" was pointing sideways rather than down.  This screwed up the length of the strap and the whole operation of the sock.
In general, I think the Strassburg sock is an interest idea for someone who wants an alternative to a night splint (which I will write about in a later post).  But, a night splint seems to work better for me.  The only real advantage the Strassburg has over a night splint (in my opinion) is portability.  The Strassburg folds up like a normal sock, while a night split is basically a giant, inflexible boot.

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