Plantar fasciitis night splints

Plantar fasciitis, a common foot condition characterized by heel pain, affects approximately one in ten people at some point in their lives. The pain is often most severe after periods of rest, such as upon waking up in the morning or after prolonged sitting.

Your doctor may provide comprehensive care for plantar fasciitis, including customized stretches and night splints. Night splints are medical devices worn on the feet while sleeping, and they can offer relief from plantar fasciitis pain.

Understanding why rest worsens plantar fasciitis pain

The plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot, connecting the heel to the toes. It provides support and absorbs shock during activities like standing, walking, and running.

Repetitive movements, overuse, and stress can lead to irritation and inflammation of the plantar fascia, resulting in plantar fasciitis. The pain is often more intense after periods of inactivity because rest causes the inflamed tissues to shorten. When you resume walking, the tissues stretch again, leading to increased pain.

How night splints alleviate plantar fasciitis pain

Rest is an essential component of the recovery plan for plantar fasciitis. However, it may seem counterintuitive since rest can exacerbate the pain. The key lies in balancing rest with gentle stretches, and Dr. Glover often prescribes customized stretches to relieve tension in the foot, heel, and ankle. Night splints complement these treatments by providing pain relief.

Night splints resemble boots or socks and are worn on the foot before going to sleep. The device elevates the toes and keeps the foot gently stretched throughout the night. Wearing a night splint should not be painful but rather provide a gentle stretch along the sole of the foot. Adjustable splints are available to ensure the best fit for individual needs.

The stretch offered by night splints helps maintain the length of the plantar fascia even during periods of inactivity. It also promotes blood flow, reducing inflammation and pain. Upon waking up, the splint is removed, and you can proceed with your day. By preventing the tightening of the plantar fascia during rest, you should experience less pain when taking the first steps in the morning.

Night splints and other plantar fasciitis treatments

Night splints are noninvasive and drug-free, making them highly effective conservative treatments for plantar fasciitis. Depending on the condition, your doctor may prescribe night splints alongside other treatments to facilitate the healing of the plantar fascia. These additional treatments may include daily stretches, custom orthotics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or corticosteroid injections.