Definition: Night splints are used as a treatment for the heel pain of plantar fasciatis. The splints move the foot and big toe back enough to gently stretch the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon. They are referred to as “night” splints because they are not made to walk in; they are to be worn while at rest and while asleep. The theory is that the heel pain will be reduced if the plantar fascia is stretched sufficiently.
Patients report that splinting is helpful. However, they also usually report that it is not enough. A foot at rest that has stretched feels good. The forces of body weight with each step is a different dynamic.
Benefits: Night splinting can be helpful but costs are an issue. An arch support with metatarsal support and a rounded heel cup also relieves pulling on the heel, so whether both are needed is questionable. Arch supports address the cause of the heel pain of plantar fasciatis – over stressing the arch. The night splint provides stretching of the affected areas but does not support the arch while walking, allowing the condition to recur.
Text: Copyright 2007-2013 Carole Romig Image: orthotape.com
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