What is the role of night splints in the treatment of plantar fasciitis?

Updated: Jan 22, 2019
  • Author: Craig C Young, MD; Chief Editor: Craig C Young, MD  more...
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Answer

Most people naturally sleep with their feet in a plantar-flexed position, which causes the plantar fascia to be shortened. Night splints maintain a neutral 90° foot-leg angle and provide constant passive stretching of the Achilles tendon and plantar fascia. [89] Their effectiveness is believed to derive from the rest and healing provided by the constant stretching. In addition, the passive stretching helps prevent microtrauma at the plantar fascia–bone interface with the first steps out of bed in the morning.

A night splint can be molded from either plaster or fiberglass casting material, or a prefabricated and commercially produced plastic brace can be used (see the image below).

Night splint, designed to prevent shortening of Ac Night splint, designed to prevent shortening of Achilles tendon and plantar fascia at night.

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