01 Feb Night Splint for Foot Care
All About Night Splints
When you see a podiatrist for a serious foot problem, your doctor might include night splints as part of your treatment. You may have wondered what these are and how they can help. Night splinting is used for a few podiatric conditions, especially bunions and plantar fasciitis. Using night splints in conjunction with other treatments can help you avoid surgery.
What are Night Splints?
Most common podiatric problems like a fungal nail, calluses or ingrown nail won’t need splinting. Those common conditions usually respond quickly to basic foot care routines. Other conditions, however, need more focused intervention.
Night splints are an invaluable part of the treatment for plantar fasciitis, bunions, and other conditions. They hold your feet and legs in a certain position. They are prescribed for use at night because that’s when your muscles tend to cause problems that you’ll have to deal with the next day.
Plantar Fasciitis and Night Splints
As an example, if you have plantar fasciitis, your plantar fascia often starts out at the normal size in the morning and then stretches out over the day. Then, while you sleep at night, it reverts to its short, shrunken size. That explains why you don’t feel pain in the plantar fascia until you’ve been up and taken a few steps. It also explains why the cycle goes on and the pain never seems to go away. The shortened ligament eventually stretches out again, causing a rush of sharp, new pain.
Using a splint keeps the plantar fascia slightly stretched all the time. This gentle overnight stretching works like your stretching exercises to keep the ligament strong and flexible. Regular use of night splints heals your plantar fascia slowly but surely.
Bunions and Night Splints
Many people with bunions find that splints help ease their pain. The splints hold the toes in their proper alignment. They also cushion the bunions. Sometimes called a bunion brace, this type of splint works best if it also includes a toe spreader to keep the big toe in place.
Bunion splints or bunion braces can help you get relief without having to undergo surgery. There are many over-the-counter bunion braces, but your best solution is to use one prescribed by your podiatrist. It will fit better and be customized to your specific needs.
Benefits of Night Splints
- They help you sleep comfortably.
- They ease your foot and heel pain.
- Night splints keep the muscles and tendons properly aligned.
- They prompt healing of ligaments.
- Night splints, combined with other treatments, can help you avoid surgery.
Tips for Using Night Splints
- Understand that wearing them will take some getting used to for the first week or two.
- If you’re having trouble wearing the splint at night, start by wearing it when you’re sitting at home reading, watching television or otherwise relaxing.
- If you get up in the night, remove the splint before you put any weight on your foot.
- As your ligaments get stronger, you may be able to start wearing the splint in the daytime with a walking boot.
- Continue with the other parts of your treatment and rehabilitation program. Night splints are a big help, but they cannot work on their own.
Use Your Night Splints as Prescribed
If your podiatrist has prescribed night splints, it’s important to use them regularly as prescribed. In return, you’ll enjoy relief from pain and slow, steady healing of your ligaments.
Unwrap Your Feet for Winter
Winter weather can often mean that your feet get wrapped up and hidden away for weeks on end. By the time you take a look under your socks and boots, you might find feet that have an ingrown nail, fungal nail, and other problems. Call Shuman Podiatry & Sports Medicine and ask about our treatments for all your foot ailments. Get started on the right foot care now and get ready for all the seasons to come.