It happens to the best of us. Whatever the reason may be, there comes a time in the lives of many that we experience pain in our feet. Often, this is caused by swelling in the Plantar fascia, the tissue that connects the heel to the toes of a person’s foot. Plantar fasciitis is an unfortunate, though common, form of heel pain that can occur for numerous reasons.
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What is Plantar Fasciitis?
An accurate indicator of plantar fasciitis is a persistent sensation of pain and swelling in the heel, especially when movement takes place. This is common when excessive strain is put on the plantar fascia. It is a common condition in middle-aged folks but is also common in younger people who are active.
This can occur in athletes, construction workers, or anyone who is on their feet for extended periods of time. Regardless of the reasons for why plantar fasciitis is present, it is very difficult to ignore once it is first acknowledged. Symptoms do not simply go away overnight, especially if the condition is the result of an active lifestyle.
Spotting Plantar Fasciitis
One of the most telltale components of plantar fasciitis is that pain is often present when activity is not. This means that swelling or tingling is more likely to happen during lengthy periods of inactivity. One of the times when this is most common is during bedtime.
The Purpose of Night Splints
When people are diagnosed with plantar fasciitis, their podiatrist may recommend that they wear a night splint specifically designed to treat their condition. While this may seem like a burdensome piece of equipment to have to wear in bed, the purpose behind it is to adjust the wearer’s fascia back to a comfortable position.
Maintaining Strain in the Fascia
When someone with plantar fasciitis wakes up in the morning, they will feel even more tension and pain in their heel when they get out of bed. This sudden pain is caused by an extended period of rest in the fascia followed by immediate strain. While this is uncommon in people who don’t have plantar fasciitis, the presence of pain on the bottom of feet each morning can be an indicator of it.
Preventing Future Pain
Without the splint, the stretched-out fascia becomes tightened and prone to painful sensations throughout the night. A night splint keeps the fascia stretched out to an optimum length while it provides relief to the user’s ankle. The splint maintains the fascia’s length by providing constant and adaptable strain to the wearer as to relieve them of excruciating pain in their ankles and lower legs.
Is it Worth it?
While many people have had complaints about wearing a night splint, the benefits outweigh the awkward experience. Though it is similar to encasing your entire leg while in bed, night splints have been known to provide long-term relief that sleeping alone can’t provide.
Needless to say, these devices exist for a reason. If those suffering from heel pain on a regular basis stick to the plan issued by their podiatrist, using night splints for plantar fasciitis may offer the relief that you have needed for a while.
Types of Night Splints
The best night splints for plantar fasciitis will provide the wearer with as much comfort as possible while keeping the fascia adequately stretched out throughout the night. Since wearing a night splint to bed is a cumbersome task in and of itself, comfort is key in designing the optimal night splint.
For early stage plantar fasciitis, a dorsal night splint may be more practical than a boot. The differences between these two styles lie in the design of the splint as well as the muscular support that is provided. This style provides support to the foot and runs along the top surface of the foot. A strap pulls the wearer’s toes upright so that the fascia can stay stretched out throughout the night.
A boot splint, on the other hand, is the type of splint that is most notorious for providing wearers with the “awkward” feeling that many people report. This feeling is to be expected since the design is much heavier and bulkier, often providing support to the wearer’s entire leg under the calf.
Which Splint is the Best Style?
If keeping your entire leg protected throughout the night is crucial for the comfort of your affected leg, you may benefit from a boot splint. If your condition is mild and you prefer a less bulky object around your leg while you sleep, you may prefer a dorsal design. The best night splints for plantar fasciitis will vary depending on the severity of the condition as well as personal preferences in terms of comfort.
Night Splint Reviews
Procare Plantar Fasciitis Night Splint
This boot-style night splint is ideal for treating plantar fasciitis as well as Achilles tendons. The dorsiflexion straps can be adjusted according to the wearer’s leg length. This plantar fasciitis night splint is interchangeable between the left and right legs and also comes with built-in ankle straps.
Procare Prowedge Plantar Fasciitis Night Splint
The nice thing about this night splint is the cushioned padding around the frame. While the Prowedge is in the design of a boot, the wearer can enjoy the added comfort while they sleep. A toe wedge is also included for added extension to the plantar fascia.
Aircast Dorsal Night Splint
This splint provides comfort and flexibility to the wearer with a hinge design and padding on the inner part of the splint. This padding is also removable and is washing-machine safe. A toe strap is also included for those who want to keep them secured while they sleep. The Aircast dorsal splint is one of the higher-end night splints that provides both comfort and flexibility.
Cramer Dorsal Night Splint
While this is one of the less expensive night splints for plantar fasciitis on the list, it consists of a durable design with adequate heel and foot support. The stretch-resistant straps around the exterior of the splint ensure that the wearer’s fascia is stretched to the same length while keeping it aligned with the heel snugly throughout the night.
Swede-O Deluxe Night Splint
The Swede-O Deluxe is a simple and comfortable design that reinforces the wearer’s leg using straps. The padded material of the boot also makes the experience more bearable by maintaining a 90-degree stretch to the fascia without sacrificing comfort.