What Are Plantar Fasciitis Night Splints?
Plantar fasciitis night splints are worn by the patient at night in bed during sleep.
The plantar fascia night splint is a semi rigid, padded and comfortable boot. People often compare the night splints to comfortable snowboarding boots.
Typically for day use a lighter, more portable plantar fasciitis sock is used to help the plantar fascia during periods of rest.
Why Do Plantar Fasciitis Night Braces Work?
Plantar fasciitis night splints help reduce the most severe pain experienced in the morning with the patient’s first steps of the day.
Night splints work by keeping the foot in a comfortable position of dorsiflexion (toes pointing up rather than relaxed and pointing flat forward) during the night and therefore preventing the contraction or shortening of the plantar fascia and calf muscles.
The leg and foot is maintained in a position of very gentle stretch.
The sharp pain often felt first thing in the morning is a result of the first footsteps causing the plantar fascia to overstretch due to the force of body weight, thereby tearing the microscopic fibers that have begun to heal in a shortened position during the night.
By wearing a night splint, this morning overstretching and damage can be avoided.
How Effective Are Plantar Fasciitis Night Splints?
Studies have also shown that wearing a night splint can help speed the healing process as the ligament is kept aligned with the foot arch.
Since sleep and getting sufficient rest are important parts of the healing process, using a plantar fasciitis night splint can reduce the level of discomfort experienced during sleep and help you get a better quality of sleep.
In addition, by maintaining proper alignment of calf muscle, Achilles tendon and plantar fascia during sleep, the foot is allowed to heal in a more natural, neutral, position.
Studies have shown that approximately 80% of patients report improvements in their plantar fasciitis after wearing a night splint for a period of time. In particular, wearing night splints may be especially useful in patients who have been suffering from plantar fasciitis for more than one year.
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