The plantar fascia is the thick band of connective tissue that supports the arch of the foot. If it is subjected to excessive wear and tear due to repetitive strain, the plantar fascia can become inflamed, leading to plantar fasciitis. To relieve the severe and chronic heel pain, a patient may wear a plantar fasciitis boot designed to stretch the tendons and ligaments on the foot to prevent future discomfort.
The pain from this condition is often described as a shooting or burning pain in the inside area of the heel. It is most severe in the morning when you take your first few steps. This happens because the plantar fascia is in a relaxed position (toes pointed downward) during sleep and has contracted during the night. Dorsiflexion or pointing the toes upward stretches the fascia and produces the morning pain associated with plantar fasciitis.
To treat this painful condition, patients may wear a plantar fasciitis night splint while sleeping or during periods of extended inactivity. This helps to maintain the ideal orientation of the foot and lower leg while keeping the Achilles tendon stretched. A plantar fasciitis boot also prevents additional micro-tearing of the tissues in the arch caused by walking activities.
A night splint is typically thin and lightweight to provide a comfortable sleep. It is not designed for walking or weight-bearing activities. On the other hand, a walking boot attachment which includes a sturdy sole may be used to temporarily convert the night splint to a walking boot.
Two types of foot night splints are available for home treatment. The boot night splint is the most popular. It is made of a rigid plastic outer layer. The inner layer is soft and provides an adjustable angle of flexion. It is designed for the back of the leg and has been found to be highly effective in relieving heel pain.
The second type of splint is the dorsal night splint. It goes on the front of the foot. Straps are used to pull the toes upward. This provides dorsal flexion and stretches the plantar fascia ligament and Achilles tendon. This type of foot night splint is very comfortable to wear.
A night-and-day plantar fasciitis boot can also be purchased to aid the patient in walking around during the day. It comes with a night cover to use on the boot when sleeping at night.
Therapy techniques that involve the use of orthotic devices and maintaining the foot in a dorsiflexed position while sleeping at night are often prescribed in the treatment of plantar fasciitis. Using the most comfortable night splints and plantar fasciitis boot promotes patient compliance and results in faster healing.
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