Using a plantar fasciitis night splint can be one of the most effective ways to treat the injury and requires little work from you. Put simply, you wear the splint overnight. When wearing the splint, the fascia tissue is prevented from becoming tighter during the night, therefore avoiding those terrible morning sore feet that Plantar Fasciitis is associated with. The night splint can also be used to treat problems with your achilles tendon and also for calf muscle injuries.
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
This common problem affects the sole of the foot, where there is a band of tissue that stretches from the heel to the toes. This can become inflamed and sore to walk on, giving the sufferer stabbing pains. The pain is most commonly felt at the heel end, where the tissue joins to the bone.
The main symptom of Plantar Fasciitis, is that you will have sore feet when you get out of bed in the mornings. Each step will be painful, but will ease off over the next 5 to 10 minutes. However, if you rest, the pain can return as the fascia tissue contracts and tightens again.
Read more about plantar fasciitis, the symptoms, causes and treatments here.
So how can the splint help my plantar fasciitis?
When wearing the splint, the foot is held in a certain position, called “dorsiflexion“. This means that the fascia is stretched, not allowing it to contract and become tighter overnight. The great thing about a night splint, is that the remedy is quite gentle and the fascia will be returned to it’s proper length over a period of time. Once stretched out, the plantar fascia will become less tense and therefore will cause less pain.
How long do I have to wear the splint for?
As you might expect, this depends on how bad your injury or pain is and how long you have been suffering for. Some people have reported that the splint has helped them within a few nights, with markedly less pain over the following weeks. However, some other people may require that they wear the splint for longer periods of time before they see any benefits. This can be annoying as they can be quite bulky, but if you persevere, it will be worth it.
It will be best to start wearing the night splint for a short period of time, perhaps only 1 hour, then extending it gradually each night and week. Most splints are also adjustable, so you can alter the tension to suit. It may be that you need to start with it looser and make it tighter over time. The ideal target will be to wear it overnight or for around 4 to 5 hours. This is the perfect time period for the plantar fascia tissue to extend and begin to heal.
“This thing is uncomfortable at first but if you use it even for a few hours a night, it makes a huge difference,” Dr. Aslmand tells patients. He finds that after wearing the splint for the first night and waking up with less pain, patients are more eager to use the splints going forward.
Does the night splint work for other injuries?
You can use the night splint to help with other foot injuries and conditions too, such as tendonitis. Where the achilles tendon has become painful or damaged, the splint will also help in the same way as it helps plantar fasciitis, by stretching over night. However, tendonitis or problems with the achilles tendon can be very problematic, so please speak with your doctor or specialist before you use the splint for that purpose.
Where to buy.
There are many different version, sizes and types from all different manufacturers over at Amazon.com. I recommend the splints from Bird And Cronin as I have spoken to many patients that have used them. They come in different sizes and are fully adjustable to suit your particular needs.