What Is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is a painful condition where there are pain in your big toe (plantaris) and the other toes (metatarsals). There may be swelling around the affected area. If it gets worse, then you will get foot drop or even deformity. It affects approximately one out of every four people at some point during their life time. However, most cases go away without any treatment.
The symptoms of plantar fasciitis include:
Pain when bending over or standing up. Pain with walking. Foot drop (or deformity).
Tenderness in the bottom of the feet (tarsal exostosis). Soreness and stiffness in the back of your knees and calves. Weakness in your lower legs. You may have difficulty climbing stairs or doing anything involving forward lean such as sitting down or reaching for something on a table.
How To Wear A Plantar Fasciitis Night Splint For Your Feet?
You need to use a special type of night splint. These types of splints are made from different materials and they come in various sizes. Some types of night splints are elastic, others are hard plastic and still others are rubber like material. They all work differently so you need to choose the right one for your needs.
When you first get your night splint, it may be helpful to wear the splint when you go to bed at night. You can leave it on and keep it on during the daytime if you like. During this time you are basically getting used to wearing the splint.
When you are ready to wear your night splint while walking, you want to start off with a very short period of time. For example, you may start off with just 5-10 minutes of wear time. You can increase this time in the future but right now you want your body to adjust.
It is recommended that for the first few times that you wear your splint that you keep your foot up (or even lie down) after taking the splint off. This allows your feet to slowly get back to its usual shape and also reduces any pain or soreness in the affected area.
When you are ready to wear your splint for a full day or more, then you want to make sure that you have a good shoe insert for the bottom of your foot. You want this type of sole because it helps to absorb shock and also is good for your feet.
You will also need to make sure you wear comfortable shoes while you are wearing the night splint. It should be noted as well that most insurance companies will cover the cost of a specialized night splint.
Cons of Night Splint for Plantar Fasciitis
You need to make sure that you start off slow when first wearing the splint. This is especially true if you haven’t worn anything on your feet in awhile. You don’t want to push your foot too hard since this can lead to a lot more issues in the long run.
It should also be noted that you need to keep up with your nightly stretching routine while you are using a night splint. You don’t want the splint to take the place of proper exercise and stretching routines.
How About Some Other Ways To Treat Plantar Fasciitis?
There are other ways that you can get some relief from your plantar fasciitis pain such as using:
Night Splints: these are devices that fit underneath your foot and help keep your foot in a slight angled position. This keeps the plantar fascia stretched out so that it is less likely to contract and become inflamed. You should NOT use these if you have diabetes or any nerve damage.
Insoles: these can provide you with support, cushioning and arch support. These are relatively cheap as far as cure’s go and they are easy to find in a drug store or online.
Night Splints Vs. Insoles
Insoles are a popular choice for those of us that do a lot of walking on hard surfaces. They fit into most types of footwear and can help to absorb some of the shock from your feet when you take each step.
They also can help to support your feet and keep them in good alignment. By keeping your feet in good alignment, it helps to take pressure off of the plantar fascia.
Insoles are relatively cheap and they are easy to find. You can pick some up at your local drug store or even order them online.
Night Splints are a little different than insoles. They work by keeping your foot in a stretched out position at night while you sleep. This reduces the chances that the plantar fascia will become tight and inflamed during the night.
Night Splints also help to keep your foot in good alignment and take pressure off of your plantar fascia all together.
These can be a little bit more expensive than insoles, but they are not too bad.
They can be a good investment if you are having a lot of pain with your plantar fasciitis and nothing else is working.
These Are Good To Try If Nothing Else Is Helping
If you have tried everything on the market and nothing seems to help, then it is definitely worth trying out night splints to see if they make a difference for you.
Sometimes we have to try a few different things before we find what works best for our body.
However, you should always consult your doctor before adding anything new into your daily routine.
Your doctor should be able to tell you if night splints are right for you or not. They may also be able to refer you to a professional that can prescribe something else for you.
Many people do not realize this, but most cases of plantar fasciitis are very easily treated through a mix of rest, ice, elevation and over the counter pain relievers.
This is especially true in the early stages when you first start experiencing the symptoms. If you can get past the initial soreness in your foot, then you will be able to get back to walking normally within a few days without any permanent damage.
The best way to treat the pain and soreness is to soak your foot in a warm bath several times a day. You can also use over the counter pain relievers to help reduce the pain and inflammation while your foot heals.
You should also make sure that you are resting your feet and give them a break whenever possible. Continuing to walk on your feet will only make things worse and cause the condition to last longer than it has to.
One of the most important steps in treating your plantar fasciitis is icing it. This helps to take down the swelling and takes away some of the pain.
It is very important to ice your foot several times a day for at least 20 minutes at a time. You can also use over the counter anti-inflammatory medications such as Ibuprofen to help reduce the pain and inflammation while your foot heals.
It is also important to remember to keep your feet elevated as much as possible when you are not icing or medicating them. Keeping your feet elevated helps the blood flow drain from your feet and helps to take down some of the swelling.
If you can get past the initial pain and soreness, then in a few days you will notice that your foot feels much better and the pain goes away completely.
You may still experience some mild soreness after exercising or walking a lot, but as long as you take the proper steps to rest your foot and keep it elevated then the pain should subside fairly quickly.
You can then start to slowly return to your daily routine and get back to exercising and working without any problems.
Although this is the best treatment for Plantar Fasciitis, many people do not realize they have it until they have suffered from chronic pain for weeks or months. By that time, the inflammation and damage have become a lot more severe and treatment is a lot more difficult.
This is why it is so important to treat the problem immediately when you first experience the symptoms of plantar fasciitis. Ignoring the pain and continuing to walk on your feet will only lead to more severe pain and possible permanent damage down the road. It is always best to get a proper diagnosis from your doctor and then follow their recommendations for treatment.
Another thing that you can do to help prevent Plantar Fasciitis from getting out of hand is to make sure that you have the proper type of footwear. Many people are under the impression that as long as their shoes have a heel that is high enough to support their ankles, then they do not necessarily need anything other than that.
This is a bad assumption.
While high heels may indeed provide enough support to keep your ankle from moving around excessively, they do absolutely nothing to help absorb the shock of stepping on hard surfaces. The constant pounding on hard surfaces is what will eventually cause your plantar fascia to tear and inflammation to occur.
You need to make sure that you wear shoes that have plenty of arch support as well as a solid sole that has good shock absorption when you step. This will help to prevent most of the stress from being transferred to your feet.
In addition to wearing the right kind of shoes, you also need to make sure that you are taking proper care of your feet by washing them on a regular basis and keeping them dry. Your feet can suffer from many of the same problems that your hands do such as fungal infections and rashes.
If you do develop a rash or some other type of infection on your feet, you need to make sure that you are treating them properly. Ignoring foot problems can lead to an unnecessary extended infection.
Taking care of your feet may seem like a nuisance at first, but if you suffer from plantar fasciitis then it will become second nature to you.
Sources & references used in this article:
Foot orthoses for the treatment of plantar fasciitis by E Roos, M Engström… – Foot & ankle international, 2006 – journals.sagepub.com
Treatment of plantar fasciitis by CC Young, DS Rutherford, MW Niedfeldt – American family physician, 2001 – aafp.org
Effective treatment of chronic plantar fasciitis with dorsiflexion night splints: a crossover prospective randomized outcome study by M Powell, WR Post, J Keener… – Foot & Ankle …, 1998 – journals.sagepub.com
Plantar fasciitis: evidence-based review of diagnosis and therapy by C Cole, CK Seto, JD Gazewood – American family physician, 2005 – aafp.org
Mechanical treatment of plantar fasciitis: a prospective study by JE Martin, JC Hosch, WP Goforth… – Journal of the …, 2001 – meridian.allenpress.com
Conservative therapy for plantar fasciitis: a narrative review of randomized controlled trials by K Stuber, K Kristmanson – The Journal of the Canadian …, 2006 – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
Diagnosis and treatment of plantar fasciitis by JD Goff, R Crawford – American family physician, 2011 – aafp.org
Plantar fasciitis by MA Tahririan, M Motififard, MN Tahmasebi… – Journal of research in …, 2012 – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov