How Long to Wear a Night Splint for Plantar Fasciitis?
Managing Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis or daily pain in heels, is the worst in the morning, and makes walking difficult. It may not be a life-threatening condition but causes immense discomfort. You can keep moving, but not without pain. Middle-aged men and obese individuals, are at higher risk of developing this disorder.
It is an inflammation caused in a ligament that joins yours heal with toes. Inflammation results in bit shrinking of the ligament, mainly when you rest for a long time. It explains the pain in the morning. Unfortunately, there is no way to cure this condition in a day or two. In most cases, it will need extended care for months, sometimes even for years.
Here we provide some advice on taking care of your painful heels at home:
- Rest a lot- it is necessarily a condition caused by overstressing your feet. Thus it is more common among those who walk long distances, stand for a prolonged time, or are overweight. Giving your feet ample rest may help. Plantar fasciitis pain is only present when you are on your heels. If you often go for long walks, it may be time to take a break.
- Ice- is a simple way to reduce inflammation. It immediately provides relief from pain too. Apply ice packs for 10-20 minutes. You can also submerge your heel for about 15 minutes a day in an ice cold water, however, be careful not to submerge whole feet, keep toes away from cold water or ice packs.
- Use plantar fasciitis night splints regularly, wearing a night splint is the most important thing you can do for your feet. It is among the few very well tested and proven methods.
- Painkillers- are the backbone of the treatment. Your doctor would recommend them. The so-called NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen may help reduce pain and inflammation. Ibuprofen is over the counter drug. Your doctor may recommend some of the more powerful medications from this class of drugs. Some NSAIDs are longer acting. Thus one tablet a day is enough.
- Stretch your feet- one of the most important methods used by physiotherapists. Stretch calves and Achilles tendon for few minutes, repeat several times a day. You can do regular stretches or use a plantar fasciitis foot stretcher.It will also help stretch the plantar fascia and thus reduce the pain.
- Athletic tape may help in some instances, as it helps limit the movement of the foot in a particular direction.
- Shoe inserts- may be provided by a specialist. Custom made insoles will always work much better than over-the-counter options.
- Heel cups- as the name says, they protect your heels, provide extra cushion, help remove stress from heels. They will not work like custom-made shoe inserts but may help in some cases.
- Controlled ankle motion (CAM) walker are used in extreme cases when everything else has failed. A doctor would prescribe them.
- Lose body weight- will naturally lower the stress on the plantar fascia, thus help you move comfortably.
- Low impact exercises like swimming may help relieve pain, strengthen muscles.
How Long to Wear Night Splints?
American physical therapy association says that there is substantial evidence in support of night splints usage. It means that night splints should be worn regularly for 1-3 months, depending on the severity of symptoms. Some cases may require a longer time. It is also important to understand that many individuals may not feel any relief during the first month. Night splints work, but they act slowly. Thus simply keep using them. More than 70% of people would feel better at the end of two months.
Experience shows that they are not very comfortable to wear. Many people find it difficult to fall asleep in them. Getting used to them may need some effort. Nonetheless, most can get used to them with regular use and would stop feeling them completely. So it important is to take the initiative,and make a strong effort.
Are Night Splints Only for a Night?
Not really. There is a misunderstanding that plantar fasciitis night splints can only be used at night. However, they would also help during the day, when a person cannot move for a prolonged period. Like when on a long flight, or working for hours together on a computer.
In conclusion, it can be said that night splints will work for most people living with plantar fasciitis, but they may not help everyone. They are a bit uncomfortable to wear in the beginning, but it is just a matter of getting used to them. Most will benefit after one month of use, though the majority may need them to wear for much longer. It is not a bad idea to wear them even during the day if you cannot move for a few hours.
Night splints are rarely used alone; they are part of the multi-modal treatment approach. So combine them with other pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatment options. To start feeling good, they can be safely used with anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids, manual therapy, stretching, custom created insoles and so on.