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What is a Plantar Fasciitis Night Splint?

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  • Written By: Dawna Theo
  • Edited By: J.T. Gale
  • Last Modified Date: 08 January 2020
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Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the plantar fascia or the tendon that runs along the bottom of the foot. It usually is a very painful condition that can cause foot problems, which may manifest in a very sore heel and arch. Treatment for plantar fasciitis may include stretches, shoe orthotics, ice massage, anti-inflammatory medications, and wearing a plantar fasciitis night splint.

A plantar fasciitis may occur due to an overuse injury where the patient develops tears in the plantar fascia tendon along the bottom of the foot. The plantar fascia typically absorbs a lot of weight and pressure, especially during physical exercise. If a person engages in excessive running, jumping, or other intense physical activity it may lead to inflammation of the plantar fascia. Another less-common cause of plantar fasciitis could be the inflammation of arthritis.

Heel pain is the most common symptom of plantar fasciitis, but the pain also may be experienced in or near the arch of the foot. The heel and foot pain involved in plantar fasciitis may be debilitating, which can prevent a patient from standing or walking for long periods of time. Plantar fasciitis sufferers may describe the foot pain as sharp, burning, aching, or stabbing pains at the heel or arch of the foot.

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A person who suffers from plantar fasciitis may experience more intense pain in the morning when they first get out of bed. During the night, the muscles in the feet and fascia ligaments may have tightened up. In this case, a doctor may prescribe a plantar fasciitis night splint to keep the foot in a position that may keep the plantar fascia tendon from becoming tight.

There are several different types of night splints. A plantar fasciitis night splint is an orthotic foot brace that usually is worn while sleeping. There are boot splints that fit over the entire foot that keep the foot in a flexed position with the ankle at an adjustable angle. A boot night splint may be made with a rigid material that goes underneath the foot, around the heel, and up and around the calf to keep the foot flexed.

A plantar fasciitis night splint gently stretches the calf, Achilles tendon, and plantar fascia overnight. In the morning, the pain may be less because the foot has been kept in a flexed position during the night. When a plantar fasciitis night splint is not worn, the sheets and blankets can push down on the foot causing the plantar fascia to shorten and tighten.

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