Plantar fasciitis is a painful heel condition in which the Plantar Fascia of the foot are affected. The Plantar fascia are the tendons which support the lower arch of the foot. Damage to these tendons causes inflammation and pain. This pain can be felt when a person is walking.
There have been many therapies that have been developed to help people with Plantar fasciitis. One of them is the use of ‘night splints’.
Night Splints for Plantar Fasciitis
Night splints are devices that have been invented to reduce the pain felt by people who suffer from Plantar faciitis. It involves a splint that works to support the heel. In a way it is a kind of a brace that you can wear when you go to sleep at night. The brace helps to splint the area and prevent movement. This is how it earned its name.
How do Night Splints Work?
One of the most important functions of the night splints is that they stretch the plantar fascia. Since these splints are worn at night, they work at stretching the plantar fascia when you are fast asleep. While we don’t have any research that proves that night splints help, a number of people claim that they experience less pain in the morning, if they wear the splints at night.
The plantar fascia is stretched by keeping the foot in a dorsiflexed manner. This prevents the fascia from contracting at night. The contraction of the fascia is said to be the primary cause of the pain that people feel in the morning. The theory states that prevention of this contraction can prevent the occurrence of pain.
Wearing Night Splints
Any restraining device gets uncomfortable when worn for a long duration. The same is true about night splints. That is why people are advised to start slowly.
Night splints are bulky and can get annoying. To reduce the annoyance, one is advised to start wearing the brace for a short duration at first. Start with an hour and gradually increase the amount of time you wear it.
Another thing that you should keep in mind is the fact that most of the night splints are adjustable. This means that you can adjust the tension in the splint to suit your comfort. Remember that you will have to keep readjusting the splint as you get comfortable with the previous adjustment.
The targeted amount of time that you should set is anywhere between 5 hours to the whole night.
Effect of Night Splints on Sleep
Not everyone adjust well to the use of night splints. Some people manage to wear these splints for as long as two weeks. Others are more comfortable and can continue for a longer duration. Some people wear the brace for a certain amount of time before they go to sleep and then remove it.
This is because the night splints are bulky and uncomfortable. This causes the wearer to have a change in his/her sleeping habits. The lack of sleep can cause disruptions in the person’s daily life. This is something that no one wants!
While it has been found that night splints do work for some people, it is not always a sure proof solution. A process of trial and error will tell you if they work for you.