Anybody who has had a heel spur or plantar fasciitis is very familiar with the sometimes disabling pain on the bottom of the foot when they get up in the morning, or after sitting for a prolonged period of time. There is a wide range of treatment options available for the patient, some of which are more painful than the condition itself (cortisone injections). One of the treatment options available to patients with excellent results is the plantar fascia night splint.
Heel Spur Syndrome or plantar fasciitis is a common and painful foot condition that usually involves a band of tissue that runs from the inside portion of the heel to the ball of the foot and into the toes. This band of tissue is known as Plantar Fascia. Plantar Fasciitis refers to the inflammation of this band, causing pain, swelling, redness and difficulty walking. Many people use all three terms synonymously, but in actuality are distinct conditions.
Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain. The plantar fascia serves to support the arch of the foot, and serve as a spring board or shock absorber as you place your foot on the ground. Causes of plantar fasciitis range from a sudden impact, repetitive trauma, improper shoe gear and overuse. Obesity, flat feet and bio-mechanical problems and certain vocations tend to aggravate this sometimes disabling condition. Women tend to have the condition more frequently than men due to the shoe gear women wear.
In most cases the pain originates at the insertion of the plantar fascia along the bottom of the heel bone or calcaneus. Many people complain of pain in the A.M. while getting out of bed, or after prolonged sitting. This is due to the contracture of the plantar fascia at rest. In most cases the condition improves with prolonged ambulation, as the plantar fascia “stretches out”. The condition is also aggravated by walking barefoot on hard floors or going up steps.
Many doctors will x-ray a patient’s foot to rule out other conditions such as a fracture or cyst in the heel. Deep palpation or pressure on the inside of the heel usually reproduces the sharp shooting pain patients feel when they stand. Some patients will demonstrate a heel spur, or bony prominence that projects out of the heel, in the direction of the pull of the plantar fascia.
It is thought that prolonged microtrauma and inflammation at the insertion of the plantar fascia into the heel causes these spurs to form and grow. Most people assume that the pain is coming from the spur at the bottom of the heel, but that is not entirely correct. The pain comes from the pulling and tearing of the plantar fascia as it inserts into the heel.
There are many conservative treatment options for this condition, including rest, stretching, massage, change in shoe gear, ice therapy, arch support, night splints, walking boots and anti-inflammatory medication. It may take several months for the condition to improve with conservative care. Surgery is rarely needed in the treatment of plantar fasciitis.
Many people have found relief with night splints. These are devices worn in bed that keep the Achilles Tendon and Plantar Fascia stretched out. By maintaining a slight stretch to these tissues while you sleep, the splint prevents the contractures that usually occur when non-weightbearing.
When patients get up in the morning, there is less pain because the tissue has not contracted. The problem with most traditional night splints is that they run down the back of the lower leg and under the foot. As most people sleep on there back, the device can be very uncomfortable to wear due to the rigidity and bulkiness of the splint.
The dorsal night splint was developed to eliminate the disadvantages of the traditional splint. The dorsal night splint is just as effective at maintaining the stretch, without the bulkiness and discomfort of the traditional device.
The Alimed D2 Night Splint™ is designed to maximize patient compliance with its hinged dorsal shell and dynamic stretch cord. Most night splints fail because they force the foot into a 90º position and expect the patient to tolerate this aggressive stretch for the entire night.
The new D2 Night Splint™ overcomes this major source of patient noncompliance by allowing the patient to start with a more gradual stretch and progress as her condition improves.
This progressive stretch night splint also enables adjustment of the position if discomfort increases. In addition, because the splint is anterior (in front of the ankle & leg), there is more comfort when a patient is sleeping on his/her back.
The patient controls the degree of stretch, a stretch she can tolerate all night
for maximum effectiveness.
Features and Benefits of The Alimed D2 Night Splint™
* Dynamic stretch cord provides a low load stretch force that gently pulls
the foot into dorsiflexion.
* Articulating foot piece and soft bottom enhance safety and comfort
during nighttime and ambulation.
* ROM indicator allows for easy monitoring of progress for documentation.
* Padded terry cloth liner wicks away moisture, helping keep skin dry and
* Plush neoprene straps contour to fit the foot and calf for all-night
* Adjust Dynamic Stretch cord in seconds for a dorsiflexion stretch force
that can be sustained all night.
* Numbered cord hooks allow patient to easily gauge progress.
* Up to 15° dorsiflexion.
For more information on this night splint including sizing information CLICK HERE.
Talk to your doctor about the New Alimed Dorsal Night Splint™. It is one of the most popular and successful night splints on the market today. For more information on our entire line of night splints go to www.braceshop.com or call us at (866) 325-8045.
It is always recommended to consult with your treating doctor to determine the correct brace for your orthopedic co