Night Splints

Night Splints for Plantar Fasciitis, Achilles Tendonitis, Foot Drop, & Other Conditions

Using night splints can be a cost effective and efficient way to treat many different foot conditions. Night splints hold the foot in the “dorsiflexion” position, meaning the fascia is stretched out to help it from tensing up while you sleep. These splints relieve your foot from that aching and spiking pain you first receive when you wake up. It allows your foot to undergo as little stress possible and reduce inflammation.

Unsure what condition you have? Here are a few symptoms of the different causes of foot pain:

  • Plantar Fasciitis: Stabbing pain in the bottom of your foot near the heel, usually occurring after you wake up.
  • Achilles Tendonitis: Starts out as a mild ache in the back of the leg or heel post physical activity such as running or playing sports. Pain may worsen when you continue such activity.
  • Foot Drop: Difficulty lifting the top of your foot, causing it to drag on the floor when you walk. It usually occurs in only one foot.
  • Bunion Pain: Large bump on the outside of the toe, swelling, redness, and thickening of the large toe.

Plantar (Boot) vs. Dorsal Style Night Splints for Heel Pain

There are two main types of night splints, dorsal and plantar splints. Both styles help treat plantar fasciitis, achilles tendonitis, foot drop, and heel pain. Ultimately, it’s up to you in choosing which style you prefer for your specific condition. 

Plantar (boot) splint style features:

  • Traditional night splint for plantar fasciitis
  • Boot like brace that rests on the back of the leg, calf, and foot
  • Larger compared to the dorsal style
  • Plastic outer layer with a soft inside layer
  • May cause difficulty walking if you frequently get up at night

Dorsal splint style features:

  • Hard plastic support that goes along the shin and top of the foot
  • Considered more comfortable to sleep in because of soft material
  • Straps stretch toes upward to provide dorsiflexion
  • Easy night-time movement, best for stomach and side sleepers
  • Used for less severe injuries because the design tends to cause some slippage

Looking for a brace to wear during the day? BraceAbility has plantar fasciitis day splints and achilles tendonitis support braces available to help speed up your recovery!

5 Ways to Help Get the Most Out of Your Night Splint

While most would prefer not to sleep with anything attached to their foot, these night splints can be extremely helpful for your foot pain. It’s up to you to make the best of your condition!

  • Get the right size: Make sure you get the most adequate size for your foot. If the boot/dorsal night splint is too large, it will improperly support your foot. It also will help reduce the amount of rubbing if you get the right size.
  • Be educated on how to properly use the splint: Utilize the directions that come along with your specific splint, make sure you are adjusting it correctly.
  • Wear it consistently: Even if it isn’t the most comfortable to sleep in, it’s important to wear it regularly in order for your foot to heal.
  • Wear it before you sleep: When you first purchase your night splint, it’s always a good idea to try wearing it for awhile before you sleep in it. Try wearing while you’re watching TV or reading a book to help your foot get used to it.
  • It doesn’t work overnight: It can take a few nights for you to start seeing a difference from your night splint. If you have a severe case, it could take a longer amount of time.

Complementary Ideas to Wearing Your Night Splint That Help Speed Up Recovery

Most of us are on our feet for multiple hours of the day. Having a condition that makes walking difficult can put a strain on simple activities such as exercising, working, or doing everyday things around the house. Although wearing a night splint is a great start towards a quick recovery, there are additional ways to pair with the splint to make you more comfortable.

Here are some complementary ideas for your recovery time:

  • Rest your feet: It can be hard to take time and slow down, but it’s important to stop or reduce any activities that add to your heel pain.
  • Use ice: Ice can help reduce inflammation and is advised to do it for at least twenty minutes a day.
  • Stretch, stretch, stretch: Helps strengthen and increase flexibility in the achilles tendon and plantar fascia.
  • Wear the right shoes: Wear comfortable and supportive shoes during your recovery time such as tennis shoes. You can also pair your shoes with compression socks for extra relief.

How Can Different Types of Ankle Splints Help Treat Plantar Fasciitis and Achilles Tendonitis?

Plantar fasciitis is a condition that involves the inflammation of the plantar fascia (the flat band of tissue or ligament that connects the heel bone to the toes). This condition is caused when the ligament that supports the arch of the foot is strained. For treatment, a plantar fasciitis ankle splint or a night ankle splint is used. The brace or splint will help hold the foot with the toes pointed up and with the foot and ankle at a ninety-degree angle. And because a common symptom of plantar fasciitis is the tightening up of the plantar fascia at night, the brace or splint is worn overnight to allow gentle stretching of the plantar fascia and to prevent it from tightening up.

Achilles tendonitis, on the other hand, is a condition that involves pain in the Achilles tendon, considered to be the biggest tendon in the human body, which connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. Although the Achilles tendon can withstand extreme stress, it is also prone to tendonitis, which is often caused by overuse and degeneration. Wearing a tendonitis ankle brace is an effective way to treat Achilles tendonitis. An Achilles tendonitis ankle brace specifically helps reduce the irritation and strain brought about by this condition.